- The biggest battle for the entire night was pretty much the third-string running back, and Armando Allen and Lorenzo Booker each played well. Allen started the night taking the first set of snaps, and the two pretty much alternated from there. Allen's running in space and receiving is a step above Booker's, and Booker's strengths like more in his special teams return skills and being a bit more of a straightforward runner. If Booker's head injury isn't too serious, it'll be interesting to see which one they keep.
- Josh McCown as a third quarterback is an asset and a half, although I'd be only mildly surprised if they chose to cut McCown and attempt to sign Matt Blanchard to the practice squad. McCown's intelligence showed a couple times through the game to great effect, as he demonstrated some decent patience and generally good reads and throws.
- Solid defensive back play early, as Wilhite leapt high to slam down a pass and the defense forced Colt McCoy to checkdown on third and seven.
- Josh McCown can sell a pretty good play-action rollout, hitting Eric Weems in stride for a ﬁrst down.
- Armando Allen got the start, on third and 7 lined up wide and made a very good third down reception for a ﬁrst.
- AJ Greene started at left guard and James Brown at left tackle. Brown got pushed back hard into the middle of the pocket but ultimately held ﬁrm on second and 12 so McCown could loft a very nice pass off the hands of Brittan Golden.
- Robbie Gould missed a kick - the end of days is nigh! Oh wait, preseason.
- On Jeremy Jones' interception, it was a play made by a forced passed by McCoy thanks to decent line pressure and an extremely athletic play by the safety. It helps when McCoy's got his eyes on the target the whole time - Jones got to where the ball was going to be. Not sure he has a place on the team, but nicely done.
- Dane Sanzenbacher can make outstanding catches. When they aren't dropped. In seriousness, Sanzenbacher did a nice job of running to the target and getting under it.
- Xavier Adibi has a drive-killing run-stop and a sack, and we're not even out of Q1 yet. With Dom DeCicco being waived/injured, the Bears do need to ﬁll this roster spot, and Adibi's played pretty well this preseason since he came on board.
- Corey Wootton has been disappointing this game, not much pressure generated against backups. Got held, but hasn't been too effective.
- Cory Brandon is not an NFL right tackle - didn't like what I saw of him this game. All too often he didn't get the ﬁrst step on the end/tackle, got pushed back. He's okay in the run game, and had a nice block to spring Booker on the ﬁrst play of the second half, but I'd say he's out. I liked what I saw of James Brown, though.
- For what it's worth, the backup offensive linemen had a pretty good game. In the run game, AJ Greene got some nice push to open some holes inside the tackles as well as a good trap block on a rushing end, Ricky Henry's made a couple of good pulling blocks, and Brown has made some good run and pass blocks. Maybe it's a function of the few pass plays the Bears really ran, but McCown also wasn't sacked midway through the third quarter, although most of those pass plays have been short-drops and checkdowns to the running backs. I wouldn't let this unit be my starting ﬁve, no chance, but they played well.
- Josh McCown had a very intelligent goal-line series in the second quarter. On second and 15, he held on to the ball, eyes upﬁeld, pumping his arm as he scrambled for three yards to make it third and twelve. He comes back that next play to hit Allen on the slant for the touchdown. Have I mentioned Allen looks really good out of the slot as a receiver?
- Brittan Golden didn't really impress me all that much. His chance in the ﬁrst quarter was one that he really could have hauled in. In the second quarter, McCown's pass should have been lower than it was, but Golden made a good enough play on it to almost have a completion (before the booth overruled it). And in the third, Golden can't juggle and drop the pass that hits him square and kill the drive. I'd say he's gone, despite being in the right place to pick up the blocked field goal on Trahan's hard work.
- Dane Sanzenbacher isn't my ideal candidate to run a screen with, but outside of that, he resembled more the guy that caught three touchdown passes last season and less the guy that had three receptions over eight games. He can be a capable receiver, and I wouldn't mind him keeping spot six later today, if the Bears do keep six.
- McCown's interception in the third quarter wasn't a bad idea, it was a bad throw. It needed to be more towards the sideline instead of letting it sail towards the over-the-top safety.
- Cheta Ozugwu, largely silent this game, broke in huge in the third, blowing up the offensive line for a sack.
- Tyler Clutts is really making the case to stay on the roster with his tough receptions out of the backﬁeld. Interesting that midway through the third, the tight ends have no receptions.
- Excellent challenge by Lovie Smith (!) to get the interception for Greg McCoy, but also excellent play by Greg McCoy to not only come close to getting the interception coming back on the hitch route (and in fact tipping the ball in the air to get the play going), but
he came back to the play and never stopped until the whistle that never came.
Patrick Trahan blew up the punt that resulted in Brittan Golden picking up the touchdown off of a punt block. Excellent special teams play last night, excepting Gould's
missed ﬁeld goal.
- Actually no replacement ref complaints today. They had a good game, all things considered.
- Adonis Thomas' long fourth-quarter run looks alarming, but it's really a hell of a play by the running back to make the counter turn, gain the edge, and take off. Maybe one of the linebackers or Jones could have stayed a little more off the "fake" direction, but that's a hard play to read and react that way when it's really an improvisation. Now the Thaddeus Lewis 18-yard break to the goal line on the next play, that's another thing.
That's pretty much what I noticed last night. What'd you see? Anybody catch your eye?