Sunday, August 30, 2009
Bears taking it to the Broncos
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
A few thoughts on Chicago's preseason game at Denver, which the Bears led 17-3 when selected starters finished their night:
- There's no question that quarterback Jay Cutler began a bit shaky, but we saw some vintage Cutler during the Bears' 98-yard drive that ended the half. The placement of his 6-yard touchdown pass to tailback Matt Forte, low and away from the defender, was perfect. Whatever emotion Cutler felt upon his return to Denver eventually was channeled well. Overall, he completed 15 of 21 passes for 144 yards.
- Coach Lovie Smith told NBC that he was glad Cutler and the Bears would get a chance to operate in a hostile environment to help prepare them for the season opener at Lambeau Field. But for me, it was more important to see how the Bears offense would operate against a 3-4 defense. Once Cutler got himself calibrated for the regular blitzing, the Bears showed they could move the ball against that scheme.
- As he so often did earlier in his career, Devin Hester jump-started the Bears' success with a 54-yard punt return. The play -- longer than any return Hester mustered during the 2008 regular season -- set up the Bears' first touchdown. Hester displayed his classic turn-up move and ran right through the Broncos' coverage. No matter how good Cutler is this season, the Bears will need some special teams juice from Hester to get where they want to go.
- File away the tight spiral Forte threw in the first quarter -- as well as the smart decision he made to throw it away.
- Defensive end Mark Anderson notched his first sack of the preseason. But if you didn't see the play, and only noticed the statistic in the box score, you wouldn't realize the play was made because linebacker Lance Briggs blitzed and put pressure on Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton. As NBC's Cris Collinsworth noted, the Bears blitzed pretty regularly for a preseason game.
- Defensive tackle Tommie Harris did flash a bit after some initial passiveness. And it's only fair to point out he got double-teamed regularly. But fair or not, Harris finished the first half with no tackles, sacks or forced turnovers.