The preseason is there for players to earn valuable reps and get into a rhythm with their respective units, but the Bears found no such luck on Friday night in Seattle.
The first-team offense totaled only 163 yards and 10 first downs with three punts on four first-half possessions. Plagued by seven combined drops by starters Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, the Bears never really got things going on offense. Plus Jay Cutler’s interception late in the second quarter didn’t help the cause or frustration.
Jeffery dropped a sure touchdown on a perfectly thrown ball by Cutler over the top on a long third-down halfway through the first quarter. After that, the Bears’ offense watched on, mostly from the sidelines as Russell Wilson guided the Seahawks to 31 points, while converting all seven third-down attempts in the first-half.
On top of the disappointing offense performance and the 250 yards allowed by the defense in the first half, the special teams once again stunk things up.
Joe DeCamillis’s struggling unit allowed Percy Harvin to take back the opening kickoff 46 yards and the Seahawks scored a touchdown just seven plays after that. Later, Earl Thomas returned a punt 59 yards with about three minutes left in the second quarter and the Seahawks scored yet another touchdown only three plays thereafter.
There isn’t much good to say from the performance in any phase of the game and at any position either first-team, second-team or third. The Bears mustered only six points in the second half, while gaining only 107 yards with Jordan Palmer and Jimmy Clausen switching off under center.
Safety Chris Conte (concussion)
Safety Ryan Mundy (head laceration)
Fullback Tony Fiammetta (hamstring)
Conte looked good for the most part in his first game action since the season-ending Week 17 loss to Green Bay in December. He made a big hit on what appeared to be a touchdown catch for Seahawks tight end Luke Willson, but Conte knocked the ball loose.
Prior to suffering a concussion, Conte made a terrible whiff on a 21-yard dump off pass to running back Christine Michael, which came up just two yards short of the first down. However, the “stop” by the Bears’ defense was the first failed third-down conversion all night by the Super Bowl champions.
Mundy got the start alongside Danny McCray for the third straight preseason outing and he appeared to be the most consistent safety all night, staying in his gaps and making solid tackles. However, his injury is likely something minor at this point.
Fiammetta hasn’t been on the field much through three games, but the crafty veteran blocker did appear on 207 offensive and 109 special teams snaps a year ago helping Forte rush for over 1,200 yards. He is a valuable piece to the Bears’ power running game.
Cutler looked solid, completing 12 of 20 passes thrown, but his receivers like mentioned above were shaky, which was a rare sight to see. His interception came after Martellus Bennett’s called touchdown catch was overturned, a loss of one on a run by Shaun Draughn and a 10-yard pass interference penalty by Marshall on a called Dante Rosario touchdown catch.
Yes, Cutler’s throw wasn’t a good decision, but the Bears were trailing 28-0 and were failing mightily in the redzone. He was simply trying to make a play after Marshall got called for a totally fabricated penalty on Richard Sherman. Cutler was frustrated to say the least and rightfully so.
The defensive miscues didn’t help Mel Tucker and his staff look any better. Shea McClellin’s move to linebacker still looks like a project very much in its first stages, while Jon Bostic and D.J. Williams misread numerous plays with Wilson flashing his athleticism for Seattle.
It has to worry everyone involved that this revamped defense looks awfully too similar to the terrible unit from a season ago. Jared Allen wasn’t suited up, but every other starter penciled in took the field for most of the first half. The linebackers were the most lost of the group and that is the area where they didn’t make any additions this off-season.
Robbie Gould missed a 47-yarder to make things even worse for a special teams unit that is struggling to make tackles and make noise in the return game. Joe D better improve things or he could be out of a job rather quickly. The Bears would love to have Dave Toub back I’ll tell you that much.
In terms of the kick return game undrafted rookie running back from Louisville Senorise Perry looked the best out of the auditioning group. He returned two kickoffs for 51 yards, while veterans Darius Reynaud and Michael Spurlock combined for 58 yards on three returns.
The backup quarterback battle certainly wasn’t decided as neither Jimmy Clausen or Jordan Palmer outperformed one another. Both quarterbacks averaged around four yards per completion and combined for 84 yards passing in the second half. The fourth game will certainly decide who wins the job. I still think Clausen has a slight edge however, even after last night.
All in all, it was a bad performance by the Bears in the loudest environment in the NFL at CenturyLink Field. However it’s only the preseason and with the playbook set to be used in full in just two weeks things should get better.
The offense will improve that’s for sure, but will the defense and special teams improve with it?
We will find out.
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