Chicago Bears Preseason Game #3: Stock Watch Defense

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So much for the Chicago Bears undefeated preseason after a miserable 21-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. There were very few positives in this one as the Bears struggled on both sides of the ball. The first half of the 3rd preseason game is the closest thing to a regular season game and the Bears were down 21-3 going into the 2nd half.

As bad as the loss to the Bengals was, the defense did show some signs of life. They did give up a 16 play, 9-minute TD drive in the first quarter but they didn’t make it easy. The Bengals basically dink and dunked their way down the field vs the Bears D, with short run and pass plays and a four down goal-line series that eventually got them in the end zone. The Bears offense did them no favors with quick drives that put the defense back on the field without much rest in the first half.

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That being said, the Bears D did give up 21 points to the Bengals in the first half and there were plenty of problems which I’ll get to below. The Bears couldn’t generate a pass rush in the first half which resulted in a perfect half of completions for the Bengals QBs. The run defense was actually solid in the first half, but they couldn’t stop the Bengals on 3rd down and they kept finding just enough yards to move the chains. It wasn’t as embarrassing as some performances by the defense last year, but they still weren’t good enough to make stops when needed.

I’ll be breaking down the defensive players who helped and hurt their stock during the Bears loss below. The defensive performance wasn’t as bleak as the offense, but was still disappointing overall after a strong game against the Colts. On the bright side the Bears backup defense did keep their scoreless 2nd half streak intact for the 3rd straight game.

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Lamarr Houston – It was good to see Houston back on the field and productive. He had two sacks, almost had a third, and was consistently in the backfield albeit against the Bengals 2nd team offense. Houston showed more explosiveness than I’ve seen from him during his time with the Bears. The move to a 3-4 OLB seems like a good fit for Houston and he could start living up to his big contract this season if he plays like he did on Saturday. For the record there were no dances after either of his sacks on Saturday night.

Will Sutton – Continues to impress as a 3-4 DE. Sutton wasn’t perfect, but was one of the only Bears D-linemen to generate consistent pressure on the QB and had a nice stop in the backfield on 3rd & short. Sutton has not only locked up a spot on the final-53 but is pushing for a starting position with Ratliff out for the first three games. He’s been the biggest surprise of the preseason on the D-line.

Willie Young – Once considered a long-shot to make the final 53-man roster, Young is making a strong case for sticking around with his 2nd consecutive productive game. Young was in the backfield often and finished with 3 QB hurries and just missed two sacks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bears end up trading Young to add depth at a thinner position, but he could also be a valuable pass rush asset again for the Bears this season.