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

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The Bears lost their second preseason game, but the preseason is about more than the record. We're going over our notes from last night's game.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

You know, I don't think I was expecting last night's game to take the turns that it did take. I don't think I was expecting the Bears to take the early lead with the first two scores, and I don't think I was expecting the Connor Shaw-led third string to push as hard as they did to close the game to one point as time expired. The first team looked strong on the first two drives and then as the Patriots' second and third teams phased in, Brian Hoyer started looking a little better and Connor Shaw played some really strong football. If nothing else, last night's "heroics" may have earned a couple people some extra looks at some wide open backup spots.

  • Nice to see that Jay Cutler is on the same page pretty much right away with Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White. Jeffery still looked about as polished as possible, going up and getting a catch early and continuing to look good and elusive after the catch. White had one bad drop that he should have had, but displayed some good skills to get back to a ball slightly behind him. Let's see a little more of them next Saturday for the third game, but it could be a pretty strong unit as White comes along. Cutler did have a ball thrown a bit behind Deonte Thompson that was batted away, but up until Cutler was sacked on his last play, it was a pretty good outing from the Bears' starting quarterback.
  • Jeremy Langford had what may be a standard home-run hitter game - lots of short carries into traffic, short yardage (The other 6 carries were a combined 16 yards), then a breakaway 34-yard run with a lot of daylight and a nifty 5-yard cutback on the next play for the first unit's first touchdown. He's got some skills, but he needed some help from the blocking units...
  • ... and while their gelling efforts are taking a good time to get in gear, it's still a little off-looking as the penalties and protection breakdowns mount. Bobbie Massie struggled with Chris Long much of the night and Cody Whitehair had himself a pretty rough game. But there were some bright spots, especially behind Kyle Long, that indicated the line could come along a little. Interesting that while Whitehair is wearing some blame today along with Massie, Charles Leno's name was hardly mentioned. And aside from the one sack that "ended" Jay Cutler's night, the offensive line didn't allow another sack all game. Hoyer and Shaw both looked fairly elusive in the pocket and did a good job getting out, to be honest.
  • Minor aside: I know people will say that the drive was only kept alive by a couple defensive holding penalties - which is fair. You can't rely on the other team being dumb and making dumb penalties. Rather, I look at it as they took advantage of the other team giving them yards and first downs and converted it into a touchdown. Plus, the team's first drive was good for 63 yards, even if they only got a field goal out of it. Early on, the Bears' offense was showing some solid signs of life, and that's encouraging, for a presesaon game.
  • Zach Miller didn't play, but Tony Moeaki showed he may be up to the task at least as a second receiving tight end. Moeaki comes from the Miller class of "could play but was always broken," and with four catches in the first half, he displayed some good separation and ability to run a bit.
  • Tracy Porter took over the role of Bryce Callahan this week, as two bad errors by Porter worked the Patriots down to the goal line; Porter came back and stripped a fumble, then pounced on it to save a possible touchdown.
  • The Bears' defensive line held up on another goal line stand, as Will Sutton, Ego Ferguson, and Terry Williams combined to hold the Patriots to just a field goal for their first points of the game. A later goal line stand, not so much, as Jimmy Garoppolo completed a touchdown strike.
  • I don't know how secure I'd feel about Brian Hoyer coming into a game. Just saying. Although first throw aside, Hoyer did make a couple decent throws, as his last three completions went for 82 yards total. (Although one would never call 4/14 and a 22.6 passer rating a sterling quarterback performance...) Meanwhile, Connor Shaw's 4/6, 42 yards and a touchdown to pair with 2 carries for 13 yards earned him a 126.4 passer rating. There's a reason he came into the game before/instead of David Fales, who was nowhere to be seen; Fales' performance last week appears to have dropped him a bit.
  • Cameron Meredith got a holding penalty on his first play in the game. Not to be lost in this: He was playing with the ones on that play.
  • Jonathan Anderson got into the game before John Timu did. Timu almost intercepted Garoppolo early in the third quarter, however. Garoppolo has some interesting skills and might be okay, but on that play, he stared down his receiver so hard I thought he was about to obliterate him with a laser - and unlike Cutler, Garoppolo doesn't have the arm to get away with it on occasion when he does.
  • Can we buy Sam Rosen a ticket to a barge for the remainder of the preseason? Please and thank you.
  • Rob Housler was the recipient of the Bears' first two-point conversion, but late in the game he took a pass just past the sticks from Hoyer, shed a would-be tackler, and sprinted down the field for 52 yards, the single longest play of the game. It could lead to a pretty interesting battle for the third tight end, as Housler showed moments at the tail end of last season.
  • The Bears did take a couple extra opportunities to be aggressive on fourth down, including 4th and Goal at the two-yard line that Hoyer just missed Josh Bellamy on. Bellamy and Cameron Meredith both had drops - Bellamy had a touchdown slip through his fingers on that play (the ball was a touch high and would have been an incredible catch, to be fair), but Meredith got one in the chest and just let it through. The bottom of the receiver depth chart on projected 53-man rosters could be getting pretty interesting with two games left to go, as nobody's exactly grabbing a potential opportunity.
  • The Bears were the lesser-penalized of the teams, but their penalties were largely responsible for making the first drive a field goal instead of a potential touchdown.
So next Saturday, we get the third preseason game against the Chiefs, the "dress rehearsal" as it were, where there's a little more actual gameplanning and the starters play a little deeper into the game. Maybe we'll see a little more mixing and matching in the running back by committee, for instance. We'll see what happens, but what are you looking for in that game? What did you notice in this one?