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Bears Vs. Browns: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

The Bears lost to the Browns last night; we're going over our notes taken from last night's preseason contest.

Jason Miller
  • The first thing to point out, the Bears kept the starters and some other key, solidly-entrenched players out of the game - so, 29 healthy scratches in the game for the Bears. That means plenty of Backup Bowl 2014!
  • Early impressions of David Fales' first drive - honestly, it left me a little impressed. The downfield throw to Josh Bellamy should have been laid out a little more on a line/in front of Bellamy, but several good decisions and two good runs after the catch by Shaun Draughn. It helped the drive that the throw to Bellamy was called defensive pass interference.
  • Not benched in the game, Robbie Gould, who kicked an early field goal after Santonio Holmes bobbled a Fales bullet.
  • M.D. Jennings and Marcus Trice started at safety, and Jennings was around early, making a couple good solid tackles; then he commits a roughing the passer penalty.
  • Al Louis-Jean covering Jordan Cameron seems like a bit of a mismatch. Although Brian Hoyer just missed putting the ball right in front of Cameron.
  • Demontre Hurst made a very nice pass deflection on second and ten in a red zone series. He's in the nickel conversation.
  • Don't look now, but Fales is pushing the ball downfield to Bellamy even more, with success. Then later he takes a sack from Barkevious Mingo on a stunt to push the Bears into 4th and 22, then overthrows Draughn on a dumpoff.
  • The fumble late in the first quarter was forced by Christian Jones driving his helmet into the football, making a good hit behind the line of scrimmage on the Browns' running back. Good play on his part. Recovery made by M.D. Jennings.
  • Not sure Santonio Holmes is ready to catch David Fales bullets. Meanwhile, Bellamy was open again on the outside. The Fales-Bellamy connection appears to be strong. Also, Shaun Draughn has been getting some pass protection reps here.
  • As I type that, Holmes catches a very accurate Fales pass and turns it into a YAC touchdown. It was a throw made six yards shy of the first down marker, but the back-shoulder throw allows Holmes to spin straight into open territory, break a tackle, and turn it into an easy touchdown.
  • Santonio Holmes' first punt return... actually was not a bad one. Powered through an arm tackle, picked up extra yardage, and got to the sideline.
  • David Bass sacked Johnny Manziel and forced a fumble. Bubble player.
  • After watching about a half of David Fales facing the ones and twos of Cleveland, my take: I think he's got a case to be carried as the third quarterback. He looked like he had some jitters, he overthrew a couple of throws and the touchdown to Holmes was a product of YAC behind the first down line, but the decision making is overall there and he's putting the ball in places where only his receivers can get them, largely.
  • Manziel can move and he's got a cannon, yo - when he makes a good throw. He's thrown a few wobbly ducks, but his touchdown throw to the back of the end zone was a quick rollout to the back-side and a solid throw. But his throws downfield haven't really been too accurate. I'm pretty sure he was targeting Al Louis-Jean on one deep throw.
  • But keeping him in the pocket is a decent part of stopping him; Cornelius Washington tried to dip inside to complete the pass-rush and broke contain, and Manziel got out and threw a pass that was dropped but would have been good for a first down.
  • Austin Lane and David Bass teamed up on a sack; this sack was promptly undone by defensive holding downfield for another free first down. Lane got Manziel backpedaling and Bass finished the play; Manziel never had a chance.
  • Way too many penalties on the Bears' defense, keeping Browns' drives alive.
  • Christian Jones has been making some plays on special teams.
  • Bass dove inside again to force Manziel out of the pocket and throw the ball away running out of bounds.
  • Chris Williams got a return opportunity at the goal line, he showed a good burst to get through a narrowing hole to complete a 30-yard return.
  • No, Sam Rosen, not every time the defensive back gets a punch in from behind to deflect a ball should defensive pass interference be called.
  • Hey guys, did you know Rex Grossman is a Brown now? Also, he can still get it downfield; beat Jerry Franklin with a good play-action throw. Grossman's second drive showed the Browns ripping off big chunks of yardage.
  • Cornelius Washington slides across the line to make a good run stop one play; the next play he holds up on play action, stays in space, forces Grossman to complete short for the back to be swallowed up by Tracy Robertson.
  • I don't know, I really haven't seen much from Senorise Perry that tells me he should make the team over Shaun Draughn.
  • Washington has developed a nice speed rush out of a bull rush combination. Displayed it perfectly nearly sacking Grossman late in the third quarter.
  • Fales' lone interception was a good read - he just missed the throw. Threw it behind the receiver and the defensive back jumped it. In the second half, he definitely didn't look as sharp, missed a lot of throws he made in the first half - although part of that may have been due to throwing to Santonio Holmes in the first half and Chris Williams in the second, and another part might have been due to the game wearing on and on and not having played since the first preseason game. (Doubt that, though.)
  • Isaiah Crowell turns 3rd and 1 into a long 48-yard rushing touchdown. Cue flashbacks.
  • Jordan Lynch's first carry came in the fourth quarter and went for nine yards.

Given that there isn't really much to take from a game like this, let's have some parting thoughts for the preseason.

  • I think there's something workable with Fales, but I don't think he's ready right now. I'd understand if he's not on the 53. That being said, they don't have a ready-made third option they can just call up like they've had the last couple years, so there's an argument to also be made for keeping him. And any marginal utility gained by having another special-teamer or down-the-depth-chart player is limited for how frequently a player like that will be on the inactive list anyway.
  • Both David Bass and Cornelius Washington were flashing very strong, and if the final roster will have six defensive ends, at least one of these two are in line to make it. The Bears really seemed to like Austen Lane, but we'll see if he makes it to the final roster.
  • Christian Jones has probably solidified a spot for himself with his play, especially his contributions to special teams.
  • Brad Biggs theorized most of the players not suited up tonight are those whose roster spots are already decided, and that includes Michael Spurlock. Spurlock might have been knocked off the roster before the game started last night, especially if Holmes can make more returns like that one (given his history, remains to be seen). I don't think Josh Bellamy played his way into a spot, but if the Bears decide they can go without two of the Spurlock/Holmes/Williams trio, then maybe.
  • The preseason is over. When final cuts start happening, we'll have them for you.

That's all I've got for you. What'd you notice about last night's game?