Bears Beat Bills 10-3 to Open 2011 Preseason
I’m not sure what the definition of “falter” is, but Bears offensive line coach may have to do some clarification after the Bears offensive line gave up 9 sacks in the Bears 10-3 win over the Buffalo Bills. The Bears’ pass protection was awful, plain and simple. Just to put this into context, consider that Johnny Knox returned a Bills kickoff 70 yards to get all the way to the 30, but the Bears were forced to punt following consecutive Shawne Merriman (yes, that washed up former Charger) when he single-handedly beat J’Marcus Webb and Lance Louis to sack Caleb Hanie. Felt like midseason form to me. Just awful.
It wasn’t as bad as last season’s preseason opener, when Jay Cutler had to be pulled after 8 snaps for fear of his life, but it was a rough night for the Bears starting offensive line, which played the entire first half, pretty uncommon for a preseason opener. While he was in there for the first series, Cutler was under pressure and the only positive yardage the Bears offense gained was on a Cutler scramble. No, it wasn’t by design.
The Bears scored their lone touchdown of the game on a Caleb Hanie scramble on a series when Marion Barber carried 6 times for 36 of the 52 yards of the scoring drive.
Besides the offensive line, skill position starters like Forte, Hester and Roy Williams were out of the game before most people had found their seats while defensive starters like Urlacher, Peppers and Briggs got in maybe 2 series before calling it a night.
The defense looked sharp with the defensive line standing out for their depth and good consistent play.
Let’s hit up a few quick observations from the Bears’ 10-3 win over the Buffalo Bills in the preseason opener:
WTF are the Bears doing kicking off from the 30 instead of the 35? Is that Lovie and/or Dave Toub thumbing their noses at the new rule?
Sucks for Corey Wooten to get hurt on the opening kickoff of the preseason. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.
Marion Barber >>> Chester Taylor (That’s much much greater than, for those who don’t know the little math symbol >). I hope Taylor is renting because he should be on his way out of town as soon as the Matt Forte contract extension is done if not sooner.
Henry Melton impressed me as the 3-technique. It looked like he bulked up and he had a good push up the middle. Amobi Okoye also looked the part and it will be nice to get some depth and this position and see these 2 battle for playing time. Maybe the Bears finally have the up-the-middle pass rush that they’ve lacked since Tommie Harris got injured in the Bears’ Super Bowl XLI season.
Johnny Knox had himself a nice little game. He had a terrific 70 yard kick return and even fielded some punts. He also had a nice catch for a first down on a slant route. Maybe the Bears motivational tactics are working with him because he played like he had something to prove.
Did I mention that the offensive line stunk yet? Can’t mention that enough.
Maybe it’s just me and maybe it’s because the Bears control the preseason broadcast, but Jay Cutler seems more engaged on the sideline. He had the headset on as soon as he left the game and was reviewing pics with Caleb Hanie on the sidelines. Again, maybe it’s just smoke and mirrors, but maybe he’s trying to take a more active role on the offense. Maybe?
Is there a counter-move in Lovie’s Cover-2 to protect against the slant? Any time a team needs to pick up a first down on 3rd and 5, the slant is converted for a 1st down. Just frustrates the hell out of me.
Lastly, the Soldier Field turf, while playable, still left a lot to be desired for a game this early in the season. There were large chunks of sod coming up all over the place.
What were your observations? Let me know what I missed in the Comments.