The Chicago Bears were lucky to get their “dress rehearsal” third preseason game against an opponent who embarrassed them last season. We called that loss a result of disastrous coaching decisions, most notably not running an offense that would protect Justin Fields from the Cleveland Browns' relentless pass rush. This game provided an opportunity for the new coaching staff to show us things will be different.
The Browns may not have put all their best on the field, but I still think it’s safe to say this year, and this regime, will be different.
Run blocking could use a tune up
So the first drive didn’t look like I’d hoped. Although David Montgomery showed impressive push after contact to salvage a multi-yard loss into a single yard. The right side of the line (second year Bears Jenkins and Borom) looked outmatched for the first drive, with two negative run plays to the right followed by a quick pressure from the same side. It was only a tree snap drive, but it came with three great learning opportunities for the young O line!
Defense in classic Bears form
The semi-starter defense held the Browns to two three and outs to start the game. Anthony Swartz did beat Greg Stroman Jr. on a good route, but Deandre Houston-Carson was able to tighten up the gap Swartz dropped the ball, no doubt fearing for his life as two formidable Bears bounded towards his fragile human frame.
Fullback Khari Blasingame gets Bears their first 1st down against the Browns and single-handedly earns more passing yards than they had their entire last matchup
The difference between regimes has never been more clear. This regime celebrates the most important position in sports. The last regime did not. Results speak for themselves.
Plenty of Pettis
Former 2nd round pick and UW Husky Dante Pettis got the first chance at punt returns and took receiving reps with the starters, picking up some nice receptions and the Bears second touchdown. This could mean he’s in the coaches’ favor, or it could mean they want to see as much as possible before cutdown day. Nothing’s certain with this receiver room.
First Fields touchdown of 2021 is a beautiful ball to a tight end
Ryan Griffin quickly made amends for a holding penalty in the second drive, hauling in a beautifully placed ball into a medium-small window and harkening in what will prove to be a year of relentless touchdown onslaught from the Bears’ second year rising quarterback.
Bears defense touches a receiver down. BEARS DEFENSE TOUCHES A RECEIVER DOWN
Very smart Bears cornerback Davontae Harris touched down Donovan Peoples-Jones after the Brown caught a short pass and toppled to the ground on his own accord. These aren’t your 2021 Bears, folks. Coaching matters.
After the first drive, future MVP Justin Fields took over and started dealing dimes to open receivers like a Bear possessed. Short, deep, and intermediate balls sailed with swift certain course to softly land in patiently pursed paws. Every time the ball left his hand, you could feel it was on target, even if the eventual receiver wasn’t on the screen at the time of release.
Nice swat by Kyler Gordon
Since preseason W2, 2nd round cornerback Kyler Gordon has been quietly holding down the nickel position with great coverage but few highlights. That changed today when the former Husky swatted down a short pass for a Bearific breakup that ultimately lead to one of many stalled Browns drives.
A working screen game?
The Bears haven’t had two screen plays work in a row since Sid Luckman accidentally threw two before they were invented back in 1827. Justin Fields just broke that drought throwing back to back 8 yard gain screens to Isiah Coulter and Khalil Herbert.
Trust in Justin
Fields was close to perfect in his first extended opportunity in Luke Getsy’s offense, evading the Browns daunting pass rush and casually tossing three touchdowns in less than two quarters. For those not math inclined, three TDs in a half is equivalent to 6 in a game and 102 in a 17 game season. Book it.
End of starter time: Browns 3 points, Bears 3 touchdowns
Not too bad, Bears. Not too bad.
Siemian leaves the spotlight to Fields
As a good backup veteran should. Trevor Siemian came in and refused to take any of the shine away from Fields. Trevor graciously fumbled, misfired, and bobbled his way through the Bears next few drives, offering fans the opportunity to bask in the relative glory that budding superstar Justin Fields had previously graced us with.
Linebacker will be a tough decision on cut day
The Bears have several decent linebackers who have played well but also made mistakes in their limited preseason reps, including Thomas, Gates Adams, Sanborn, and Johnson. Of that group, Sanborn probably did the most for himself in the preseason, but also probably started as the least likely to make the team. Add in the muddled receiver depth and I’m glad I’m not doing a roster projection this year.
Sam Kamara can’t finish on Dobbs
Prior to this game, Kamara was the reigning pre-season pressure king. But a pressure is worth a lot less than a sack, and a whiffed sack that leads to a QB scramble touchdown is worth less than nothing. Hopefully, Kamara learned a lesson about wrapping up semi-athletic QBs a little more thoroughly.
Cairo no he didn’t
Cairo Santos stepped out of character in the 4th quarter, missing a 48 yard field goal and letting the Browns stay in the game much longer than he should have. I guess it’s best to get your sloppy kicks out of the way in the preseason.
Peterman nearly peeters out
Bears third-string quarterback had a rough start in his final preseason game. The former Pittsburgh QB started out 0 for 2 on his first drive and repeatedly failed to put the Browns out of their misery. He redeemed himself on the Bears final drive though, giving Isaiah Coulter the opportunity to show off and athletic stop-and-fall that allowed him to paw in the underthrown ball and ultimately secure the Bears victory and preserve their unblemished preseason record.
De’Montre Tuggle: good name, bad fumble
The Browns’ DeAnthony Bell made a good peanut punch to force Tuggle’s fumble, but I can’t imagine the Bears coaching staff are happy with the result when the Bears had the opportunity to close out the game with a few decent, fumbleless runs.
Javon Wims’ revenge game
The former Bear Javon Wims pulled in 4 catches on 9 targets for 41 yards and helped the Browns drive towards multiple punts and even played a role on their one touchdown drive. Seeing the former Bear dominate so comprehensively added a bitter-sweet aftertaste to an otherwise delicious day of Bears football enjoyment.
So it looks like preseason wins still matter. The Bears are undefeated and now reign over the NFC North with an unrelenting grasp. I hope everyone made their Bears to win super bowl bets early because it’s surely too late now.