As the saying goes, "Any time you’re keeping score, you’d like to win." Well, in that aspect, the Bears did not accomplish their goal. But there were other goals that the Bears were looking to reach.
Quarterback Jay Cutler looked solid on his only drive of the night. A drive that resulted in three points. Cutler hooked up with Johnny Knox twice for gains of 33 and 14 yards.
The defense looked fast and hungry. It was great to see #54 back in action running sideline to sideline.
For a veteran team such as the Bears, they realize that the NFL season is a marathon and not a sprint. They may have played the game with a little less meaning than their opponent, the San Diego Chargers.
Let’s not forget that the Chargers have had a much more tumultuous off season than the Bears. It started with the release of long-time face of the franchise LaDainian Tomlinson and is ongoing with the contract squabbling between stars, Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeil.
As we in Chicago have heard about who is in training camp, all they have heard in San Diego is who isn’t in camp. I’m sure the team wanted to stop all of the chatter and just play football.
Of course, this is no excuse for the Bears. They must match the level of intensity of their opponent. And in the early going it seemed like they did. On both the Bears offensive and defensive first drives, the offense converted a third down and the defense got off the field on third down. Both things the Bears must improve over last season.
In the first half, it seemed as though the Chargers coaches were were trying to send a message via their players to the Chicago Bears. The Chargers currently have three defensive coaches that were fired by the Bears and current head coach Lovie Smith.
The blitz packages sent by D.C Ron Rivera caught the still hibernating Bears, cough cough Forte, off guard.
The Chargers tenacity was also evident in the attempting shoving match after a third and long in which the Bears first team defensive held the Chargers. After the play San Diego linemen tried to push around defensive tackle Matt Toeania. The Bears came to the defense of their team mate, non more so than Julius Peppers. With one giant paw, the newest Bear quickly showed that he was in charge of the scrum. If nothing else positive comes from this game, this is enough.
What might become a major concern for the Bears, if it keeps escalating, are injuries. Already down two safeties, Craig Steltz and Major Wright both left Saturday’s game and did not return. As did linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and backup quarterback Caleb Hanie.
The Bears biggest mistakes in the first pre-season game of 2010 can be easily corrected. Matt Forte makes a block, Lance Briggs makes a tackle, Chris Harris re-learns the Cover 2 and Special Teams gets back to normal.
All in all, I think it was a good start. The Bears seem to have the same old nagging problems. Offensive line, running the ball, pass rush. You know, the usual.
Let’s just hope as the pre-season goes on, we can correct the usual so our season doesn’t become suspect.