Updates during the Bears-Bills preseason game. Read from the bottom of this post to the top for the proper progression.
While the final score wasn’t what I’m sure Lovie Smith had hoped it would be, there were some good things to be happy about, but the product on the field was not up to par. The offense, which had been hyped the past few weeks of training camp, didn’t move the ball particularly well, but Cutler did make some nice throws. The one interception was a forced throw and that’s going to be expected of him this year. The running game was subpar, but Matt Forte did not see the field. The starting defense played pretty well considering they were without Tommie Harris and Charles Tillman. But the tackling was bad not only for the backups, but for the starting defense as well. It seems Caleb Hanie took a step closer to securing the backup quarterback job as Brett Basanez’s three interceptions were costly. Players that I was happy to see do well include rookie safety Al Afalava, cornerback Trumaine McBride, and of course, Craig Steltz had an interception and a forced fumble. It is a preseason game, after all, and this is a work-in-progress. Let’s see what kind of progress they make for next week’s game against the Giants.
Basanez’s third pick ends game:
Brett Basanez has had a rough night as he threw his third interception which effectively ends the game.
Bears get ball back, but have little time:
The Bills just punted to the Bears, who now have an opportunity to run the 2-minute drill to try to tie the game, but time is working against them. They have just 14 seconds and a lot of yards to go.
Roach fine, feeling sick:
Nick Roach, who went to the locker room not too long ago, is reportedly fine. He was just a little under the weather.
Tackling ultimately leads to demise:
The Bills are in the process of running out the clock to secure the win and it’s because of the poor tackling that the offense will not get the ball back with a chance to operate the 2-minute drill.
Roach taken to locker room:
Linebacker Nick Roach was examined by team doctors and taken into the locker room. He was walking under his own power, though.
Bears draw closer with TD:
Basanez rebounded from his two earlier interceptions with a nice drive and a touchdown pass in the back of the end zone to Juaquin Iglesias, who began the drive with that great kickoff return.
Afalava banged up, but okay:
Al Afalava, who has had a great game and is making a case to be the starting safety opposite Kevin Payne, was banged up and had ice around his knee, but he was walking around on the sideline.
Peterson looks the same as always:
Adrian Peterson, getting a chance to play, is running as hard as he usually does and pushed down his own blocker who happened to get in his way.
Just down the punt!:
One of my biggest pet peeves is when players on the punt coverage team try to let the football roll as close to the goal line as possible before downing it. There’s too good a chance that the ball could take a bad bounce and go into the end zone. The Bears did this when instead of downing the ball at the 5-yard line, they tried letting it roll closer to the goal line and it almost went into the end zone. The difference between the 1-yard line and the 5-yard line is not as big as the 5-yard line and the 20-yard line, which is where the ball would have been placed had it rolled into the end zone.
Basanez almost picked again:
Brett Basanez almost threw his third interception after having his pass tipped at the line.
Iglesias has big kickoff return:
Following a big kickoff return from fellow rookie receiver Johnny Knox earlier in the game, Juaquin Iglesias returned a kickoff for 46 yards.
Bills tack on another touchdown:
Basanez’s second interception hurt the team again as the Bills pounded in another touchdown run.
Basanez picked off again:
On his second drive, Brett Basanez threw another interception that was returned to the 5-yard line.
Bills capitalize on turnover:
The Bills capitalized on Basanez’s turnover when Hamdan connected with Shawn Nelson over Marcus Hamilton for a 3-yard touchdown.
Bad start for Basanez:
Not a good start for Brett Basanez, whose first pass of the game was intercepted and returned to the 13-yard line. The pass was intended for Johnny Knox.
Third Quarter analysis:
It’s clear the Bears have a lot of work ahead of them, specifically the backups as they’re getting pushed around and handled at will by the Bills. We’ll see how the fourth quarter goes, but Lovie Smith will have a lot to discuss with his team after this one.
Hanie ties game with TD pass:
Caleb Hanie tied the game at 13 with a 14-yard touchdown pass to RB Will Ta’ufo’ou.
Steltz comes up big again:
Craig Steltz, who earlier forced a fumble recovered by the Bears, picked off third-string QB Gibran Hamdan and returned it 41 yards.
Defense not looking good:
The Bears’ depth on defense is certainly being called into question as they are getting pushed backward on yet another successful Bills drive.
Second-string offense stalls:
The Bears’ second stringers on offense couldn’t take advantage of Johnny Knox’s good kickoff return and went 3-and-out.
Knox has big kickoff return:
Speedy rookie receiver Johnny Knox had a big kickoff return on the ensuing kickoff and picked up 39 yards for the offense to start with good field position.
Bills take lead on touchdown:
After forcing their way downfield on a Bears defense on its heels, the Bills took the lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Dominic Rhodes.
Moore loses coverage:
Rookie cornerback D.J. Moore lost his man in coverage — or was too far behind him, is probably the more accurate statement — and gave a up a big first down.
Fitzpatrick picking apart Bears’ D:
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is having his way moving the Bills offense down the field. He made a nice read and found a receiver in the soft spot of the Bears’ zone coverage.
You can’t expect instant success in a team’s first preseason game, unless they’re playing against a team that is terrible, and the Bills will be a decent team this year, plus they’ve already had one game of action. Besides Cutler’s forced interception, I thought he did well. He tried forcing a couple others to his receivers, but Hester is still learning the position and will make Cutler look bad at times. The defense did well and got good pressure on the quarterback a few times. They need to shore up their tackling, though. We don’t want to go down that path again. The second-string defense needs more work as they gave up a couple big drives, including the one right before halftime when they were systematically dismantled. The player that stood out most to me was rookie safety Al Afalava. He looks like he could be a good young player.
Bullocks almost guilty of new rule:
Safety Josh Bullocks was almost guilty of the new rule that says a defensive player can not lunge at a quarterback’s legs from the ground. He came on a blitz and was blocked to the ground. Apparently, he was close enough to the quarterback’s legs that he just reached out and tried to make the sack.
Hanie stripped, loses ball:
Cody Balogh was beat around the edge and Caleb Hanie was stripped of the ball.
Beekman getting work at center:
Josh Beekman moved from guard to center and Dan Buenning and Tyler Reed are now the guards.
Steltz forces fumble:
The Bears’ defense was getting gashed for a big drive, but Craig Steltz came up big by knocking the ball loose from a receiver’s hands and Woodny Turenne recovered.
Short-haired Dvoracek gets roughing the passer penalty:
Dusty Dvoracek, who cut his hair and doesn’t have the flowing locks anymore, got called for roughing the passer after he drilled the Bills’ quarterback too late. He appeared to take two full steps, and you’re only allowed one.
Deep linebacking corps showing up:
I like the Bears’ depth at linebacker. It’s really showing up against the second-string Bills offense.
Second-string offense earns field goal:
The second-string offense led by Caleb Hanie put together a nice drive and got into position for a Robbie Gould 50-yard field goal, his first career field goal over 50 yards.
Hanie shows good mobility:
Hanie appears to be picking up where he left off last preseason. I like his mobility in and out of the pocket and that’s going to give him a chance to be a good backup quarterback in this league, possibly more one day.
Hanie hits Davis:
Caleb Hanie hit Kellen Davis on a nice roll-out pass.
Wolfe shows his mettle:
Garrett Wolfe took a screen pass and ran over a linebacker for a modest gain.
Melton returns kickoff:
Rookie defensive lineman Henry Melton had been lobbying the coaching staff to return kickoffs because he once played halfback earlier in his football career and he returned the kickoff for 20 yards. My hunch is that we won’t see much if any of him in the regular season, though.
Lindell ties game:
The Bills tied the game at 3 on a Rian Lindell field goal. The defense looked like they played bend-but-don’t-break defense all the way down the field. We should see most, if not all of the second string next series.
Brown with coverage sack:
Alex Brown picked up a coverage sack in the red zone.
Afalava looks like a player:
I like what I’ve seen from Afalava this game, so now I can understand why the coaches have liked him a lot and why he’s risen to where he is today. I can see him and Kevin Payne forming a nice safety duo if Danieal Manning doesn’t pan out at free safety.
Bears burned on a bootleg:
On fourth-and-1, the Bears get burned by a Trent Edwards bootleg for a first down. Mark Anderson lost contain.
First Quarter analysis:
We’ve reached the end of the first quarter and the Bears are leading 3-0. In preseason, that means little to me. You can tell that this is the Bears’ first live action while the Bills are playing in their second game. Some of my likes are that the defense and special teams have come out playing well. I also like some of the big time throws that Cutler has completed down the field for first downs. Some of my dislikes are that I’ve seen a few missed tackles, particularly on this current Bills drive as they are marching into Bears territory. Also, Cutler forcing a throw is something we might see a lot this year, but we’ll see a lot of good from him, too, obviously. We’ve seen virtually nothing from the running game, so that will need to improve.
Bills in no-huddle:
The Bills’ no-huddle offense doesn’t seem to be fazing the Bears… and no sooner than I write that, Vasher gives up a first down.
Gould puts up first points:
The Bears unfortunately were unable to capitalize on the great field position from the muffed punt with a touchdown, and had to settle for a Robbie Gould field goal. Hopefully during the regular season we see more touchdowns in situations like that.
Cutler to Clark:
Jay Cutler hit Desmond Clark down the right sideline on a seam for a big first down.
Special teams comes through:
Garrett Wolfe fell on a muffed punt and the Bears will have possession in Bills territory.
Cutler almost picked off a second time:
Jay Cutler tried forcing a ball to Earl Bennett and was nearly picked off a second time.
Orlando Pace’s night is done as Kevin Shaffer replaced him at left tackle.
Graham with a sack:
Corey Graham blitzed and sacked Trent Edwards thanks to some good coverage.
McBride makes a stick:
Little Trumaine McBride stepped up and delivered a nice hit and tackle on Marshawn Lynch in the open field.
Cutler picked off:
Cutler was intercepted going deep for Hester down the left sideline. Looked like he forced it.
Cutler to Hester for first down:
Cutler hit Hester for 20 yards and a first down.
Forte held out of action:
Kevin Jones is seeing action in the backfield as the Bears are being cautious and holding Matt Forte off the field.
Omiyale gets nod:
Frank Omiyale got the starting nod ahead of Josh Beekman at left guard.
Afalava makes a stick:
Rookie safety Al Afalava made a good open-field tackle on third down after the defensive line got some good pressure.
Nathan Vasher got burned down the left sideline by Lee Evans for 37 yards.
Tinoisamoa gets the nod:
Free agent pick-up Pisa Tinoisamoa got the start with the first team defense.
Three-and-out on first series:
The Bears went three-and-out on the first series of the game. Don’t expect instant wonders from Cutler.
First play a pass:
As I expected, the Bears opened up with a pass on first down. It was not play action, but instead a quick completion to the right to Devin Hester for a few yards.
Garrett Wolfe was back to return the kickoff for the injured Danieal Manning. He did not get a chance to return the kickoff as it sailed out of bounds. Cutler and the offense open up at the 40.
6 p.m. pregame:
FOX opened up with a shot of Jay Cutler walking down the hallway donning his Bears white game jersey. I have goosebumps already.