- Jeff Dickerson, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI – The Chicago Bears followed up an encouraging defensive performance in Indianapolis with a complete clunker at Paul Brown Stadium.
One week after pestering Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck, the Bears came out flat in preseason game number three, surrendering 21 points and 210 yards before halftime.
So what happened?
How did a defense that looked crisp seven days ago fall apart the next week?
“I don’t think we improved,” Bears head coach John Fox said. “I just don’t think we played as tight and sharp as we did a week ago. Most of that was on third down.”
Cincinnati converted a whopping 71 percent (5-of-7) on third down in the first-half.
A pair of those third-down conversions occurred on Cincinnati’s 16-play, 77-yard drive to begin the game. Unable to get off the field, the Bears defense stayed out there for 9:11 until Dalton scored on a 1-yard quarterback sneak.
It went even further downhill after that.
“I felt like we hurt ourselves today,” defensive tackle Will Sutton said. “A lot of plays had miscommunication and not being in the right spot at the right time. We know what we have to do, it’s just guys weren’t executing. We hurt ourselves.”
The Bears have limited time to make corrections.
With the starters unlikely to play much, or at all, in next week’s preseason finale versus the Cleveland Browns, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has exactly two weeks to prepare to unit to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.
Are they ready?
“I feel so far we had a good camp,” inside linebacker Christian Jones said. “We feel pretty good about it. It’s just that this game wasn’t our best. We have another week at camp and at practice to go back and get better.
“We didn’t play our best game tonight, but it happens. We just have to go back and look at the things we did wrong and correct them."