The Bears offense picked up where it left off and their defense was vastly improved against the Eagles in a 34-28 preseason opening win Friday. The Bears showed some positives and areas they need to build on in the victory.
Zach Miller Tight End
Often confused with Seahawks and former Raiders tight end Zach Miller, the new Bear made a statement Friday night. He has not played in a regular season NFL game since 2011. In three NFL seasons, Miller has 45 catches for 470 yards and four touchdowns.
Marcellus Bennett's suspension gave Miller and Dante Rosario a chance to play more snaps that they would have with Bennett in the game. Miller caught six passes for 68 yards and scored two touchdowns. His first came from Jay Cutler and second from Jordan Palmer. This shows his ability to be able to get open and work with different Quarterbacks.
Asked about Miller on the radio broadcast, Jay Cutler said:
" Got a good feel for Zach [Miller] and obviously the first-team guys, I know them the best. Having Zach in there, I was perfectly comfortable with him."
First Unit Defense
Phil Emery made it a point to rebuild the defense in the offseason. The Bears faced an Eagles offense that torched them for 55 points last season in week 16. The rebuilt defense minus Jared Allen shut down the Eagles first team offense.
Playing only the first quarter, Nick Foles and the Eagles first team offense could manage only 44 yards on 13 plays with two interceptions. Their first two series managed only -4 yards on four plays.
The first team defense didn't manage any sacks, but were able to get to Foles to pressure him.
The Bears offensive line provided pass protection long enough for the Quarterbacks to throw for 399 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions. The Eagles were only able to get to the Bears for one Quarterback sack.
Chris Williams Wide Receiver
Like Miller, Williams is not the former Bears offensive line bust. Williams was on New Orleans Roster last season but did not play. He had a major impact in Canada. In three seasons in the CFL he had over 3,000 All-Purpose yards and 17 receiving touchdowns. He had six return touchdowns in the 2010 season, setting a CFL record.
It's not clear why the Bears didn't use him on returns last night. With Devin Hester gone to Atlanta, the Bears returnmen seem to be in flux.
Williams showed explosiveness and breakaway speed on the 73 yard touchdown.
All of the Bears Quarterbacks looked comfortable running the offense. Cutler, Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen all through touchdown passes and rookie David Fales also impressed. The Bears finished 29-44 for 399 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions.
The battle between Clasuen and Palmer to backup Cutler will be one of the keys of the preseason. Cutler has missed 13 games in the last four years.
Palmer came in after Cutler and went 8-11 for 104 yards a touchdown and an interception. He was also sacked once. Palmer finished with a QB rating of 94.5
Clausen went 7-13 for 150 yards, two touchdowns and no int's. His QB rating was a near perfect 134.5. Clausen also hit on a big play with a 73 yard touchdown pass to Canadian import Chris Willams. According to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune, Clausen audibled out of a running play on the play.
Fales connected on a 41 yard completion to josh Bellamy on his first NFL throw and later led a 16 play, 73 yard drive over 7:50 to give the Eagles the ball with 1;50 left down six to try and win the game.
None of the Bears running backs averaged over four yards per carry. They ran the ball 32 times for just 92 yards. Former Northern Illinois Quarterback Jordan Lynch led them with 24 yards on seven carries.
The retirement of long snapper Pat Mannelly and the departures of Devin Hester and Punter Adam Podlesh gave special teams coach Joe DeCamillis the job of rebuilding the Bears special teams this season.
A multitude of mistakes doomed the Bears special teams Friday night. The Eagles Josh Huff returned a kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown, Robbie Gould had a field goal blocked and Michael Spurlock muffed a punt.
Penalties also hurt the special teams. They had an illegal formation for not having enough men on the line and after downing a punt inside the ten, Josh Bellamy was penalized for running out of bounds and touching the ball before another player did.
The Bears also were penalized for illegal formation (not enough men on the line), and Josh Bellamy ran out of bounds and back in to down a punt, resulting in another flag on the special-teams unit.
Penalties were a concern in all three areas of the game. They finished with 14 penalties for 103 yards.
Fox Sports TV Signal
Fox Sports apparently also needs the preseason to get ready for the regular season. The signal was poor for a long stretch of the first quarter. While it wasn't lost, it was blurry and made it nearly impossible to see the game. The audio was available.
Fans missed Ryan Mundy interception of Nick Foles on the Eagles first drive and the Eagles blocking Gould's 41 yard first quarter field goal attempt.
The Chicago Tribune relayed Bears spokesman Scott Hagel via email about the problems that WFLD-Fox 32 had broadcasting the game;
"(The Problem) was an encoding issue in our uplink truck. It wasn’t a WFLD problem..."The pregame transmission tests were fine, but a digital breakdown occurred early in the first quarter causing the disruption to the end user. Once the issue was identified, equipment was reset and the signal was restored."
McClellin had trouble at times in pass coverage and only finished the game with two tackles. He is adjusting to linebacker after playing Defensive End in his first two seasons.