Bears use added offensive size to their advantage in preseason victory vs. Redskins
BY SEAN JENSEN Sun-Times Media August 18, 2012 11:40PM
Chicago Bears Vs Washington Redskins Pre-Season Football. 1St-Half Action. Chicago Bears No.29 Michael Bush scores his second Touchdown. August 18, 2012. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: September 20, 2012 10:34AM
CHICAGO — With 11:59 left in the first quarter of the second preseason game Saturday, the Bears finally unveiled their new offense, which featured a noticeable departure from recent editions.
Brandon Marshall (6-4, 230 pounds) hauled in Jay Cutler’s first pass of the preseason for 41 yards, rookie Alshon Jeffery (6-3, 216 pounds) had three catches for 62 yards in the first half and running back Michael Bush (6-1, 245 pounds) barreled his way to two touchdowns inside the 10-yard line.
‘‘It’s fun to get back out there. Last game, it was tough to have to only watch,’’ Cutler said, referring to sitting out the preseason opener Aug. 9, a day after fiancee Kristin Cavallari gave birth to their first child. ‘‘We had a good week of practice. I thought there was a lot more intensity and a bigger sense of urgency from the guys. We threw the first one to B (Marshall), and we started rolling a little bit.’’
In their 33-31 victory against the Washington Redskins, the Bears capitalized on their newfound size advantage on offense, opening a 17-0 lead before pulling key starters as the game inched toward halftime.
Cutler finished 7-for-13 for 122 yards (a rating of 86.1) and ran twice for nine yards, including once for a first down. Bush had 21 rushing yards and Matt Forte 16 as the Bears averaged a respectable four yards per carry. Marshall had two catches for 61 yards, and Devin Hester and Earl Bennett combined for three catches for 41 yards.
‘‘We have a lot of guys who can play football,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘You bring in the second-team running back, and he’s making guys miss in the hole and scoring touchdowns. We have rookie wide receivers out here playing and we have our regular guys, so we have some guys who can play.
‘‘The offensive line knows it starts with them. If they play well, we’ll take care of the rest.’’
J’Marcus Webb started at left tackle and played well, but 2008 first-round pick Chris Williams also rotated in, along with Chilo Rachal, who replaced starting left guard Chris Spencer.
Cutler wasn’t sacked, but backup quarterback Jason Campbell was sacked three times in three series in the second quarter.
‘‘We have some good players on the offensive side,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. ‘‘If we give Jay time to throw the ball, he’s got a lot of guys to throw it to.’’
By the end of the first half, the Bears led 20-10 and had racked up 262 net yards — nearly double the output they had in their preseason opener, a 31-3 loss to the Denver Broncos.
The Bears’ offense was rolling on the second series, too, but Jeffery scrapped with cornerback DeAngelo Hall and was flagged for ripping off Hall’s helmet after an eight-yard run by Forte.
So instead of a second-and-two from their 46-yard line, the Bears had a first-and-17 from their 31-yard line. They punted four plays later.
The defense, though, got a big play from lineman Israel Idonije, who sacked Redskins rookie Robert Griffin III and forced a fumble. The loose ball was recovered by defensive end Julius Peppers, and Bush scored on an eight-yard run two plays later.
‘‘Since we have all of that on
offense, we have to get them the ball back,’’ Smith said. ‘‘We got good pressure on the quarterback. That takeaway, of course, was big.’’