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Bears Vs Bengals: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

The Bears lost their third preseason game against the Bengals, and fell to 2-1 in the preseason. We have our thoughts; what are yours?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The so-called "dress rehearsal" is in the books, and if this was the rehearsal, I hope the tickets to the show itself are at least refundable. It's apparent the injuries to the receiving corps have screwed things in the passing game, and try as they might, Josh Bellamy and Rashad Lawrence are simply not adequate replacements for Alshon Jeffery or Eddie Royal. On defense, it was many of the same problems that plagued the Bears last season - long drives, failure to stop conversions, failure to make plays in front of them, and oh yeah, A.J. Green and Marvin Jones are pretty good.

  • So at halftime, I sat down to start writing some of this recap, and the first number I immediately went to was third down conversions. The Bengals closed the first half going 5-7 on third down, and 1-1 on fourth down - the Andy Dalton quarterback sneak for a touchdown - on a 16-play, 77 yard drive that destroyed over nine minutes of clock. They converted 13 first downs in the half, evenly split on the ground and in the air (6 each, with one coming on a penalty). The takeaway here is that the defense needs to get off the field when it can. Not making tackles, not stopping plays in front of you, keeping plays alive through penalties... That results in lopsided time of possession, which leads to 21-3 at halftime more often than not. Something tells me the Bears should know this lesson really well.
  • I feel like I should be a little more concerned about the Bears' receivers and first-string offense than I am, but things look a little different when you hold out your top four receivers. Even so, it wasn't a pretty set of series for the offense, despite Jay Cutler's high completion percentage and okay yardage.
  • A.J. McCarron kind of did some work against the Bears top-line defense. Or should I say, McCarron's weapons did some work. A.J. Green made a really nice one-handed back-side catch working against Tim Jennings. Marvin Jones' touchdown reception was very nearly in Shea McClellin's reach but just enough for Jones to find enough daylight to hit the end zone. And Jones had another nice play against Tracy Porter, who looked pretty well beat.
  • Speaking of Shea McClellin, he looked okay, but you'd think that when the receiver in front of you goes up, you'd turn to look for a ball instead of running into the receiving player. Six tackles for the former first-rounder, not a whole lot in front of him. Christian Jones looked really solid on the first touchdown drive, which is odd to say about a drive where the other team scored a touchdown.
  • The injury bug is apparently done with the receivers, and moved on to the defensive line as Jeremiah Ratliff left with an ankle injury and Eddie Goldman was taken out with a concussion. Will Sutton came on and looked really pretty well at home.
  • I'm really enjoying seeing Jay Cutler pull it down and run with it. Just saying, if a defense is going to give a quarterback room to step up, get away, run for a first down plus five, I'd like to see Cutler keep taking it.
  • I do want to see the pass protection step up though. Charles Leno still looks nothing like a right tackle who's ready to play ball. And if it's not going to be Jordan Mills, the Bears need to put together a new solution, and soon.
  • Willie Young and Lamarr Houston combined on a sack where Young's rush off the LT forced McCarron up, and Houston flashed outside, cut back inside, and finished the play. I'm not opposed to seeing more of that. In fact, I'd kind of like to see more of it. No, really, get some more pressure, please.
  • Houston followed up later in the game with another sack, coming around completely unblocked when the tackle just ignored him.
  • You know, I'm not sure about the wisdom of sending Andy Dalton in for a quarterback sneak on fourth down, but if a guy can get hurt on that play in preseason, he can get hurt on that play in the regular season. It's a play in a football game, and it happens regardless of if the game means anything.
  • Martellus Bennett had seven targets, seven completions, and 45 yards. Cutler may have a new favorite target.
  • Has Senorise Perry changed how you view the bottom of the RB chart? Do his special teams snaps mean he'll stick? Or are the Bears going to want a more able running back as their fourth? No, Daniel Thomas is done.
  • Ify Umodu picked up the punt block for a free touchdown. I wanted to mention him because his name is Ify. I still think him making the roster is an iffy proposition. It was still a nice play, even if completely unblocked. Side note, what is it with the Bengals and leaving players unblocked?
  • I still haven't really seen anything to make me feel a little better about the defensive backfield of the Bears. They might have a little something in Terrance Mitchell, and Adrian Amos continues to look okay. I like the three safety look on the goal line stand. I still wish I was more impressed by Kyle Fuller, and just hope he can turn it on in week one. I think I can be okay with a five-man of Fuller, Jennings, Sherrick McManis, Mitchell and Demontre Hurst (or Alan Ball, maybe, in this list), but the top of that list needs to step up.
  • Keith Wenning sighting, Householder!
  • I think another yellow flag hit the turf. So many penalties in this game on both sides. The Bears themselves had almost ten yards per penalty. 12 penalties for 117 yards is a sloppy game. For the Bengals, 9 penalties for 75 yards is also a sloppy game. Hopefully the Bears clean some of that up before Week 1.
  • Sam Rosen described Cutler's preseason as "efficient, but he hasn't put the team in the end zone," so I went back to look at this game's drive-ending plays as far as Cutler's concerned. Drive 1: Cutler incomplete to Forte, 3rd and 2. Drive 2: Cutler incomplete to Forte, 3rd and 11. Drive 3: Cutler complete to Mariani for 7 yards, 3rd and 20. 3rd and 9, incomplete to Rashad Lawrence, 3rd and 9. Drive 4: Complete to Bennett, 9 yards on 3rd and 11. Drive 5, Incomplete to Mariani (Pass breakup by Marcus Hardison), 3rd and 11. There were several situations where a penalty or sack dropped a drive to unwinnable, based on somewhat conservative playcalling and execution. Do you think the Bears will change this in the regular season?