Matt Eberflus is the winningest head coach in Bears history if you count preseason games.
All jokes aside, the Bears picked up a quality win on the road, beating the Seahawks 27-11 to improve to 2-0 in preseason play. It was a strong win from top to bottom, and while preseason games should be evaluated with an asterisk, it was still encouraging to see them play as efficiently as they did.
With one more preseason game left to play, it will be interesting to watch which roster bubble players take advantage of the opportunity and secure their spot on the team. For now, though, here are some takeaways from Thursday’s action.
Justin Fields played in one drive and did well.
The second-year quarterback went 5-for-7 with 39 yards on his lone drive of the game, leading the Bears to a field goal in the first quarter. Though obviously a small sample size, he looked confident, accurate and athletic, which should provide plenty of content for us Bears fans to over-analyze over the course of the next week. He had to get out on the move due to pressure at times, but his speed and determination to get the ball out was good to see.
Nathan Peterman and Trevor Siemian both have their clear limitations, but neither were bad getting the ball out against Seattle this week. Siemian looked like a player capable of game-managing an offense should Fields ever get hurt, while Peterman looked better than the living meme he has been perceived as in recent years.
Running the ball wasn’t a super fruitful endeavor for the Bears. They averaged 3.5 yards per carry as a team, with both De’Montre Tuggle and Trestan Ebner averaging less than that mark. Khalil Herbert only had one carry but took it for 7 yards, while Darrynton Evans led all Chicago running backs with 4.9 yards per carry and a touchdown. Evans was the most consistent of the bunch, and while Tuggle certainly showed some promise on some of his carries, the consistency lacked for him in between the tackles.
As is the case when your receivers rotate out a lot, it was tough for any Bears weapon to tally a significant amount of catches. However, Cole Kmet had two solid catches in the opening drive, one being a tight end screen in which he trampled over defenders, and the other a seam route across the middle of the field. Isaiah Coulter led the team with 39 yards on 3 catches, while Nsimba Webster caught a team-high four passes for 25 yards. Webster and Velus Jones Jr. both contributed big returns on special teams, as well.
Though it’s tough to get individual looks at offensive linemen live on broadcast tape, Teven Jenkins appeared to hold his own at right guard with the starters. He had some mishaps against speed rushes in pass protection, but he seemed to do very well against power and did well blocking for Chicago’s run game. A move to guard is one that is still very new to Jenkins, but it could also be one that greatly benefits him after some struggles at tackle.
In general, the Bears’ offense wasn’t the flashiest unit you’ll watch in the preseason. However, they were effective, they moved the ball fairly well, and the scheme looked better than it did under the new regime. It was a solid overall outing and a nice performance from the group.
The Bears’ defense did a lot of the little things right on Thursday night.
Seattle had their fair share of dysfunctional moments on offense, which certainly resulted in their only scoring 11 points. However, the Bears held their own more often than not, especially on passing downs. Seahawks quarterbacks went just 27-for-53 in their passing attempts — throwing for no touchdowns in the process — and the Bears came away with 3 sacks, 8 quarterback hits and 5 pass deflections.
There arguably wasn’t a true breakout star on the defensive side of the ball, but several players put together some solid outings. Linebackers Jack Sanborn and DeMarquis Gates stood out with 7 and 5 tackles, respectively. Sanborn dominated on special teams again, while Gates led the Bears with two tackles for a loss. Up front, the likes of Al-Quadin Muhammad, Sam Kamara and Trevon Coley all tallied sacks, the latter of whom reaching his third sack in two preseason games. Fifth-round rookie Dominique Robinson had two tackles but also had two quarterback hits and did a good job of generating pressure off the edge.
The Seahawks had their starters — or at least, their highly-contributing role players — in for much longer than the Bears did, and they still struggled to generate much through the air. Chicago had some occasional issues stopping the run or making tackles in plays that were manufactured in space, but their defense as a whole was quite solid. They held up pretty strong in coverage, especially earlier on in the game.
BoPete Keyes had some ups and downs at cornerback but led the team with two pass deflections. Duke Shelley also had a nice PBU in the fourth quarter. Though it wasn’t a play in coverage, rookie defensive back Elijah Hicks also contributed to the game with a fumble recovery for a touchdown on special teams.
Sure, the Bears had some issues to sort out on defense, but as a whole, they were pretty good. They certainly showed plenty to be excited about as we head into the final preseason game of the season.
Three and out
3. I don’t envy Seahawks fans this year.
Though they have some solid weapons, I find it hard to believe Seattle truly makes a big impact this upcoming season. Neither Geno Smith nor Drew Lock have proven themselves worthy of being NFL-caliber starters. Even if they pull off a trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, they still have a lackluster defense and a roster that will rely heavily on talented, but young and unproven talents to take on major roles. The Bears are a work in progress, but I feel like they’re definitely farther along than the Seahawks are now.
2. Trenton Gill is looking like a rock-solid punter so far.
As is the case with every one of these comments I’m making, remember that it’s the preseason and a very limited sample size. That said, he’s punted well over the last two games. Of his 8 punts, four of them were placed inside the 20-yard line, and just one of them resulted in touchbacks. The touch behind some of his punts has been impressive to watch early on in his NFL career, and that’s certainly a good sign for the Bears.
1. I finished up my Thursday evening full of Lou Malnati’s deep dish and celebrating a Bears win.
As I prepare to head back to Missouri for my senior year of college, I can reflect on how grateful I am to be a Chicago-ish native. It’s a great city to explore, and I sometimes forget about that since I’ve been there so many times. I had a friend in town from Texas, so I got to show him around and give him the whole authentic tourist experience. The end of the night almost made me forget that I had watched my White Sox lose 21-5 just a few hours before.