Chicago Bears vs Indianapolis Colts: Re-Cap and Analysis


The second game of the preseason is here! The intensity is starting to ratchet up as we get nearer to the regular season, and Saturday’s match-up against the Colts represented that next important step for the Chicago Bears.

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Here are some observations, all of which come with the caveat that this is only the preseason. The best bet is to not get too high or low on what we see, whether it’s positive or negative. The first preseason game provided more reasons for worry than excitement for me, but this game was the opposite. I liked what I saw overall.

It’s fair to wonder how the familiarity between the Bears and Colts impacted the legitimacy of the evaluation process in tonight’s game, after the two teams spent Wednesday and Thursday practicing against one another. Still, the Colts are a good team and it felt like the Bears played well.  I’ll take what I can get, in August or any other month.

First, the offense.

Jay Cutler

played a strong game. He completed eight of nine passes for 69 yards, did not turn the ball over and was sacked only once in almost two quarters worth of work. He looked efficient and he looked in control.

Aug 22, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) scrambles out of the pocket against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Would’ve had a bigger day if a 42-yard pass to Josh Bellamy was not called back due to an offensive penalty. Cutty even had one of his trademark tough-guy runs, barreling towards the goal-line head first and losing his lid in the process. This is a version of Cutler the Bears can win with.

  • Marquess Wilson suffered a hamstring injury and left the game in the 1st quarter. Just what we needed, right? The wideout could be seen pulling up lame, but he did return to the game briefly and managed to stiff arm his way out of a D’Qwell Jackson tackle for his second reception of the night (finished with two catches for 18 yards). He was deemed questionable to return after leaving, and my hope is the use of that designation indicates that he could’ve played if he needed to. We’ll be watching for an update on his condition.
  • The backup running backs impressed


    Jacquizz Rodgers

    continues to look good in the role of the steady veteran backup to Forte, finding his way for 34 yards on a lot of inside work. Jeremy Langford underwhelmed against the Dolphins but against the Colts? Hello, rookie.

    Aug 13, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jeremy Langford (36) with the ball during the second quarter of a preseason NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

    Langford showed elusiveness, speed and toughness in looking impressive in his second-ever NFL outing. Ka’Deem Carey played effectively too, but the headline is Langford who ran for 80 yards on nine attempts with a touchdown.

  • Bears starting tackles had some issues. Given an opportunity to impress Bears coaches and possibly cement a starting role in the offense, Charles Leno had some struggles. On the Bears first possession of the game, Leno was called for an illegal hands to the face penalty on a play where Cutler deftly navigated a collapsing pocket and threw a would-be 42-yard reception to Josh Bellamy. On the other side of the line, Jermon Bushrod has his issues too. A missed block caused Forte to get dropped in the backfield and later in the same drive, Bushrod gave up the only sack on Cutler today.
  • Now, a handful of thoughts on the defense.

    Pernell McPhee

    had a strong outing after a flat preseason opener. A lot is expected of the free agent acquisition out of Baltimore, and this is what fans and coaches were dying to see.

    Aug 22, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback

    Andrew Luck

    is sacked by Chicago Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee (92) at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

    In back-to-back plays on the Colts first offensive possession of the game, McPhee sacked Andrew Luck for a nine-yard loss and pressured him out of the pocket to influence an incomplete pass. The defense has a lot better chance of being successful in year one of their transition to a 3-4 if McPhee can provide consistent pass rush.

  • Adrian Amos didn’t make a big mistake. That sounds like a back-handed compliment, but considering the low bar set by recent safeties — this was a completely acceptable outing by the rookie. He was credited for three tackles on the night and showed some pop. The coaches probably saw enough to keep the Amos experiment going into the third preseason outing and if he acquits himself again in the “dress rehearsal”, he’s a starter week one.
  • Did Kyle Fuller struggle or is T.Y. Hilton just that good? The receiver beat Fuller for a 45-yard catch in the second quarter, causing a frustrated Fuller to earn a 15-yard taunting penalty when he wouldn’t let Hilton up cleanly from the tackle. A couple of plays later, Tim Jennings took his turn getting the business from Hilton. So it wasn’t just Fuller. Earlier in the drive Hilton was WIDE open on a slant route and dropped the easy catch, otherwise it would’ve been a big gain. Not sure if McClellin or McManis were to blame for that one, but the common denominator here is Hilton. He’s good.
  • Sam Acho strikes again! The veteran linebacker brought to Chicago in the offseason thanks to his familiarity with 3-4 alignments continues to show that experience matters. He sacked Matt Hasselbeck in the third quarter, forcing a fumble in the process that rookie Eddie Goldman recovered.
  • Here are a couple more items worth sharing, and then we’ll call it a night.

    • John Fox with the unsuccessful challenge! Chicago Bears head coaches don’t have an illustrious history of success challenging calls on the field, and we often wonder if they know how the process works. A Colts pass in the third quarter toward the Bears sideline looked complete but players and coaches alike went into “he bobbled it” histrionics and the coach bought it. Play challenged; play upheld. I didn’t even see a bobble in there.
    • No need to be a hero, Jimmy Clausen. The backup quarterback threw an interception in the third quarter only to compound that mistake with a headlong diving tackle attempt of the interceptor along the sideline.
    • I’m sorry, don’t you mean Senorise Perry? Watching the contest on NFL Game Pass featured Indy’s broadcast crew, and they need to double-check the Bears roster. On a couple of occasions in the second half they referred to the reserve running back as Perry Senorise. Come on, man.

    Next: Which Bears Were On Bubble Watch In the Colts Game?

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