This is it Chicago Bears fans. The highlight of our year. The second week of the pre-season after a joint practice when we have minimal “starter” reps to distract us and just focus in on the meat and potatoes of Bears football. This fleeting beauty of a game gives us the minimum amount of relevant information for the upcoming season and allows us to focus on truly experiencing the moment.
Here’s the box score.
Kickoff crew starts the game off right
A well placed boot and some fast little gunners swarming the Indianapolis Colts forced them to start their drive at their own 18 yard line. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I call that sub-optimal.
Not many starters out on defense
I may have missed someone, but the only Bear I’m expecting to start out on the field with the Bears “first team” defense today was rookie cornerback Tyrique Stevenson. Is Jack Sanborn still a starter? Eberflus certainly wasn’t exaggerating when he said some key starters wouldn’t be playing in this scrim-scram.
Gervon Dexter Sr. popping off the ball with his buddies
There’s been a bit of hullabaloo about the “get-off” of 2nd round rookie defensive tackle, Gervon Dexter. Well, after watching him for the first series in this game, I’m starting to wonder where his detractors get off because he was popping up at the same speed as the rest of the line and in fact got into the backfield too quickly on the final screen pay.
No offensive starters in first series for the Bears
The closest Bear to a starter on this games “first team” offense was tight-end Bobby Tonyan, who should sometimes be out with the starters in 12 personnel. I’d thought they might at least give Darnell Wright some more game reps, but the rookie seems to be getting the full starter treatment.
Lucas Patrick at center* a pleasant surprise
With Cody Whitehair’s ominous hand injury, and Patrick out of practice recently with his own undisclosed injury, the Bears were looking thin at center and most of us expected second year day 3 pick, Doug Kramer to take the field. Apparently, Patrick is healthy enough to suit up for game day.
Deonta and Delus are my new fav Bears pic.twitter.com/bvoEjpnjCi— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) August 19, 2023
*On second glance, Patrick didn’t suit up, that was just a bogus graphic from the Colts broadcast!
Arlington Hambright revenge game alert!
The former Bears seventh round pick plunged a dagger deep into the Bears heart when he pointed at Rasheem Green in the neutral zone and helped the referees identify the Bears’ punishable offense.
D’onta Foreman the offensive highlight of the first quarter
This Bears running back room is deep, and it’s uncertain how things will shake out. Khalil Herbert is the starter, but like last year, there will probably quite a bit of rotation in the regular season. Both Herbert and rookie Roschon Johnson put some highlights on tape in pre-season week one, and Foreman showed some strong running and competent receiving his his early reps today.
Update: Roschon Johnson continued to look good in his series. I suspect these two Bears will continue trading snaps throughout this season and I expect them to look good doing it.
Tyrique Stevenson’s learning the line of physical play
The young cornerback may be listening to too much Olivia Newton John because he got too physical on a late tackle on out-of-bounds Colts running-back Kenyan Drake. He got away with it this time because Drake earned himself an offsetting penalty when bumping him back, but there have been reports of him crossing over the line throughout camp and it’s something this young Bear needs to watch out for.
Update: Stevenson was clearly feeling remorse for his unnecessary rough-housing and attempted to make amends by letting a potential interception fly past his paws and into the Juwann Winfree’s happy hooves for a Colts touchdown. Maybe next time, just leave it with a “my bad” on the sideline?
Not a fan of the new “official wine sponsor” of the NFL
First, it’s not spelled “Bare Foot.” Second, most people just call it a paw. Given that the Bears are literally one of the 32 NFL teams, somebody should have caught this before agreeing to the sponsorship.
Tyson Bagent might be making PJ Walker sweat
While Bagent may technically rank 4th in the Bears QB depth-chart after notorious interception-specialist Nathan Peterman, he’s looked like the second best Bears quarterback this pre-season. Walker didn’t do anything egregious in his two series to start this game, but he also didn’t really move the ball forward. Bagent’s appearance instantly resurrected the Bears passing game with decisive darts to Dante Pettis, Nsimba Webster, and Daurice Fountain. This UDFA rookie has been destined to be a Bears great since winning the Haron Hill award, named after the great 1950s Bears receiver.
Bagent ended the drive with a touchdown scramble to tie the game, no doubt a trick he learned from watching QB1. This Bear’s a keeper.
Terrell Lewis the first Bears defender with a flash play
Lewis quickly beat the Colts tackle with speed and swung around behind Sam Ehlinger to pay the ball out of his hand for a strip-sack. Unfortunately, the Bears were unable to scoop up the ball, but the play forced a 3rd and 12 and ultimately a Colts punt. After a strong camp and two sacks last week, Lewis is looking to be one of the Bears better depth additions this off-season.
Too soon, Blue. Too soon.
In one of the more tasteless acts, in NFL history, Colts mascot, Blue, was seen on the sidelines flaunting the Lombardi Trophy earned due to the tragic events of February 4th, 2007. Read the room, Blue.
4th down slips
Both the Bears and the Colts ended back-to-back drives with the ball-carrier slipping inches from the line to gain on 4th down and failing to convert. Fun!
Bears win the penalty battle
Some will say this is because the Bears are the more disciplined team. This may be true, but I suspect that after a week of joint practices, the Colts knew the only way they were going to best our beloved Bears would be by cheating. Obviously, the refs weren’t able to catch everything.
The great plays are flowing for Daurice Fountain
The former Colt receiver showed off in this homecoming matchup, capping off his performance getting wide open on a double-move and pawing in a 35 yard touchdown catch to solidify the Bears lead in the 4th quarter.
Sam Ehlinger vs Nathan Peterman isn’t fair
The NFL needs to fix this. Also Jake Funk isn’t fair. Scoring a touchdown and then the two point conversation is a major red flag. We need a PED investigation. Where are the refs to help us now!?
They said he couldn’t keep it up...
But after another week of football, Justin Fields 2023 yards per attempt remains above 40 and his passer rating remains perfect. Anyone who thinks he’s going to fall off is just a troll or a hater at this point.
Preseason games can be unpredictable. Teams down put their best players on the field or their best plays in the playbook. Coaches may prioritize practicing situational opportunities over optimizing their win percentage, and players who don’t end up making a roster may influence the most important plays.
This is why preseason wins don’t matter. And they never matter less than right after the Bears lose a preseason game. Last year, the Bears won every preseason game, and while I refuse to remember how many regular season games they won, I do know it wasn’t all of them.