Final Thoughts: Bears Hold Their Own Against Colts In Second Preseason Outing

Final Thoughts: Bears Hold Their Own Against Colts In Second Preseason Outing
From the Chicago Tribune: Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is pressured by Bears defensive end Pernell McPhee in the first half. (Sam Riche/AP)

The Bears are starting to look like a very disciplined team.

On Saturday night, John Fox and Co. defeated the Indianapolis Colts 23-11 to improve to 2-0 in the preseason.

On the opening drive of the night things looked bleak as the Bears went three-and-out just like last week against Miami. However, what appeared to be a great find by Jay Cutler on a 42-yard completion to wide receiver Josh Bellamy on third down was negated. Second-year right tackle Charles Leno Jr. was called for a 10-yard penalty for illegal hands to the face which forced the Bears to punt one play later.

Leno drew the start after lining up with the first-team in a joint practice with the Colts on Thursday. Third-year man Jordan Mills was with the second-team for the first time since his rookie season.

Offensive flow

Cutler was patient in his four drives on the night completing eight of nine pass attempts for 69 yards. He also rushed for a 13-yard gain and nearly had a touchdown on one of the most physical runs that he has made since the now infamous helicopter touchdown run in 2009.

Cutler decided to keep it himself on third and goal and powered his way all the way to the one-yard line before losing is helmet and being taken down. Kyle Long’s holding call nullify the play and the Bears went up 6-0 after Robbie Gould’s second field goal of the night late in the first quarter.

Overall, he looked comfortable in Adam Gase’s offense and he took advantage of what the defense gave him. Outside of bad pass protection by Jermon Bushrod which led to the lone sack of Cutler, the offensive line held their own. Leno was up-and-down, picking up that bad penalty mentioned previously and giving up leverage on a two-yard loss by Jacquizz Rodgers a couple drives later.

Tight end Martellus Bennett had a big 20-yard catch and finished with three receptions for 32 yards while running back Matt Forte had a nice 12-yard grab. Forte started to progress as the game went on in his preseason debut, ending his night with eight carries for 24 yards.

Fangio’s aggressive unit

The Bears won the turnover battle for the second straight week. That’s an important stat in the NFL especially for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

The first turnover produced was by second-year cornerback Terrance Mitchell on a pass from backup Matt Hasselback intended for Donte Moncrief.

Sam Acho, who had a big game in the preseason opener against the Dolphins was impressive once again on Saturday night. The fifth-year linebacker recorded three tackles, a strip sack fumble which rookie defensive tackle Eddie Goldman recovered and a quarterback hit. Acho was a player to watch heading into the game against the Colts.

Outside of one drive in the first half, the Bears’ first-team defense held their own. Indianapolis took their first lead of the night when Andrew Luck capped off a nine play, 89-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run.

The drive was highlighted by Colts’ wide receiver T.Y. Hilton and his big 45-yard reception over Bears’ cornerback Kyle Fuller. Fuller picked up a 15-yard taunting penalty after he thought he Hilton pushed off. Luck found Andre Johnson on a pick play where Sherrick McManis got beat for a two-point conversion.

Defensive end Will Sutton and outside linebacker David Bass also had sacks with the backup units as the Bears combined for four on the night. Lamarr Houston recorded a tackle and a quarterback hit in his preseason debut playing with the second-team. Willie Young also made his debut, but failed to record a tackle.

Players of the game

Offense: Jeremy Langford

Langford looked great against the Colts gashing them for 80 yards and a touchdown on eight carries. After totaling just one yard on the ground on four carries against Miami, the fourth round Michigan State product was much better.

He added a 46-yard carry that he nearly took the distance and his two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter came on what appeared to be a dead play. He was bounced back on the left side of the field, but broke a few tackles and got out to the right and in for a tough-earned score.

Overall, the Bears’ running backs compiled 165 yards on 36 carries, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Langford was the star of the backfield.

Defense: Pernell McPhee

After looking anxious a week ago against the Dolphins where he had an offside penalty and was out of position on a long Lamar Miller run, McPhee bounced back.

On the first Colts drive of the night, McPhee destroyed right tackle Jack Mewhort and sacked Luck. He nearly took down Luck again on the very next play with a quarterback pressure. He added a nice tackle on a run on the next drive finishing the night with four tackles, three solo stops.

Defensive lineman Jarvis Jenkins and Jared Allen had quarterback pressures as well in the first half as they flashed their pass rushing abilities alongside the impressive McPhee.

Injury report

Wide receiver Marquess Wilson caught two of three targets for 18 yards, but left on the second drive of the game with a right hamstring injury. It came on a deep throw into the end zone and Wilson came up walking very slow. He returned to the game on the next drive, but was kept out. After the game, Wilson told ESPN’s Jeff Dickerson that he was fine.

As expected wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf) was held out along with safety Ryan Mundy (hip), defensive lineman Cornelius Washington, cornerback Tracy Porter (hamstring), tight end Chris Pantale (illness), running back Daniel Thomas (knee) and Jason Weaver (neck).

Thoughts on the Bears’ performance on Saturday night in Indianapolis? Make sure to comment below.

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