With the exception of a bit of suspense at the end to keep us tuned in at home, this game was dominated by the Bears from start to finish. The defense, being backups who didn’t have backups available offer them rest, looked tired at the end and a couple of crucial roughing-the-passer penalties allowed Buffalo to make up some “points” and “win.”
The Bears have a losing 2018 preseason record. Fortunately, preseason records don’t translate to the regular season. There are plenty of examples of this, but none are more enjoyable to remember than the 2008 Lions who went undefeated in the preseason then relentlessly defeated in their historic 0-16 blunder-fest of a regular season.
This game does matter quite a bit for the people playing it, however. These men are fighting for their chance to play on an NFL roster, either on the Bears or possibly the opportunity to catch the eye of a curious and talent-hungry general manager somewhere else in the league.
The ever-popular preseason box score can be found here.
Bray my name, Mitch
For the second week in a row, a Bears backup quarterback played the game of his career. Bray was on fire today, passing out receptions with the ease and confidence of a stewardess slinging pretzels. Want two? Sure thing. Just don’t tell the captain.
Obviously, my favorite part of Bray’s success was the on-air competition for best Bray pun nicknames. Naturally, I inundated play-by-play Kyle Brandt with suggestions. Some of which went underappreciated (like the Beyonce-themed trio of Brazy in Love, Bray my Name, and LemonBrayde). Ultimately my dreams came true. My suggestion “Braydle Braydle Braydle, I made you out of Bray” was repeated by Brandt on the broadcast. As you can imagine, now that I’ve made my breakout into the television field, this will be my last post on this blog. It was good knowing you all. See you on the flatscreen.
Cavon Walker forced me to Google his first name
He spent more than his share of time in the backfield. He got a free pressure early on a missed assignment, then earned himself the right to dance with a terrific sack later in the first quarter. My biggest concern is he looked a little unstable in his sack dance. After the Lamarr Houston sack dance disaster of 2014, I don’t think the Bears can risk that kind of publicity again. He’s an interesting candidate to stash on the practice squad and we’ll see if he can get some dancing lessons in the off-season,
Abdullah Anderson also showing up
It’s a bit of a shame to see these defensive linemen showing up, when the Bears have a wealth of talent at the position and a dearth at outside linebacker. I’m still going to cheer for a Bear when I see him swat a ball leading to an interception and swat down a quarterback in the same game.
Speaking of the Bears’ wealth at defensive line, Bilal Nichols with the big man smosh sack will give me the giggles every time
Nothing to add.
Doran Grant makes a case for a roster spot
Not just because he showed off by getting an interception and then running it in for a touchdown. Well, mostly because of that. But he had good positioning in coverage and didn’t give up much after the catch with solid tackling. His pass interference penalty was super whatever, so I’m not expecting that to effect his chances.
My feeling is the last corner spots (after Kyle Fuller, Prince Amukamara, Bryce Callahan, and Cre’Von LeBlanc) will be one to two spots between Cooper, Michael Joseph, Doran Grant, and Kevin Tolliver. Joseph and Tolliver are both practice squad candidates, which might give Grant an edge if they want to try to keep there paws on all of them.
Daniels at left guard
James Daniels started at left guard and played well on the whole. On the first series, he missed a block that led to a tackle-for-loss on Mizzell, but after that he found his footing. Daniels seemed comfortable tossing around the final string Bills he matched up against. Overall, I would have like to see more notable dominance from him, but I’m not going to read too much into it.
Daniel Brown and Ben Braunecker keeping things interesting for the tight end depth battle
Both Brown and Braunecker showed off their receiving skills today, and with Shaheen’s lingering booboo, it seems likely the Bears will keep at least four tight ends on the roster, especially considering both Brown and Braunecker are both solid special teams contributors. Brown definitely won the receiver battle tonight, but Braunecker has shown more as a blocker. If the Bears keep one, I think it will depend on which skill-set they value more in their backup tight end.
Ryan Nall makes things less interesting for the running back depth battle
If the Bears decide to keep four running backs, Nall has certainly shown more than Taquan Mizzell this preseason. If Mizzell has anything on Nall, he can be more elusive. But that hasn’t shown up often enough for to compensate for Nall’s superior vision, ability to romp through defenders, and break away for a huge play. I could say the Bears choose Michael Burton over Nall, but Nall certainly has the size to take over traditional fullback duties in the infrequent occasion they’re needed.
Perhaps the biggest sign that the Bears had seen all they need to make up their decision on the running backs is the fact that Knile Davis closed out the game playing most of the second half.
Kylie Fitts breaks the tie with a sack in this game
Previously, Fitts had two good games, and two games where he literally failed to pressure the quarterback despite ample opportunities. If you’re looking at a developmental player, that’s not the worst stat line to have: it shows he has potential. He just needs to find a way to tap into every week. Perhaps he should consider meditating with Braunecker.
Preseason scores don’t matter and preseason wins don’t matter. They matter even less when it’s not the starters playing. The Bears didn’t win this game, but I can’t ignore that the Bears backups have dominated their competition two games in a row. At the very least, this says good things about the coaching. At its best, this is a sign that there’s something special happening at Halas Hall and Soldier Field. The NFL overall has good parity, and rosters aren’t as different in talent as people like to think. Often, the difference between a winning team and a losing team is something intangible. Momentum? Camaraderie? Ursine magic?
Let me hold on to this dream at least until Week 1.