The Chicago Bears overcame a sluggish start to secure a 20-19 comeback victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2 of the preseason. Jay Cutler and the starting offense mounted one touchdown drive in the first quarter and needed a pair of 4th quarter touchdowns to eek out a win to go to 2-0 on the preseason. Despite the win, there were plenty of concerns in all phases of the game.
The starting offense did have one successful drive that was capped off by a Cutler to Brandon Marshall touchdown pass. Martellus Bennett made his return and did contribute a key 25-yard catch to convert a third down on the scoring drive. The running game was still inept with Matt Forte gaining -2 yards on four rushing attempts. The starting offensive line did a nice job in pass protection but need to pick it up in their run blocking. Brandon Marshall had a couple of drops to go along with his 4-yard TD reception while Alshon Jeffery was shaken up after taking a late hit on one of his two catches.
The bigger concern was on the other side of the ball, where the starting defense allowed Chad Henne to engineer three scoring drives on the Jaguars’ first four possessions. The linebackers were inconsistent and there were some issues in the secondary that kept the defense from getting themselves off the field. The Jaguars offense held the ball for all but about 1:30 of the first quarter, dominating possession. If there’s a bright side, it was the fact the Bears were able to force field goals on the first two scoring drives. At the end of the first quarter, when all the starters were still out there, the Bears trailed the Jaguars 13-0 and it was 16-7 when the starters all put their baseball caps on partway through the second quarter. This against the Henne-led 4-12 Jaguars from last season.
Special teams had their own issues as well. Eric Weems put one on the turf on a kick return which set up a Jaguars scoring drive. If I had to take one thing away from Thursday night’s edition of Monday Night Football from special teams, I’d say it was Pat O’Donnell winning himself the punter’s job. Tress Way failed to impress and had opportunities to pin the Jags down on a couple of occasions.