CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 14: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears passes during the first half of their preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Soldier Field on August 14, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Chicago Bears have improved by leaps and bounds on the offensive side of the ball under head coach Marc Trestman, and in spite of the continuing struggles of the first-team running game, they appear to be headed for another solid season in terms of scoring.
The first team offense did have their passing game well in order during the game, with Martellus Bennett snagging a gorgeous pass over the middle before Brandon Marshall scored Chicago’s first touchdown on a nice strike by Jay Cutler. The throw came after Cutler was able to make his way through his reads thanks to great pass protection, and it had absolutely perfect touch as it found Marshall open in the back of the end zone.
The second team offense did struggle a bit, but the third team engineered a nice fourth quarter comeback as Ka’Deem Carey and Senorise Perry each scored touchdowns to give the Bears a late win. Jimmy Clausen had a so-so day, and Jordan Palmer looked more confident than he did last week.
The Bears’ defense was a case study in “bend but don’t break” in the game, surrendering four field goals while only allowing one touchdown. That score was even controversial, as a penalty on Kelvin Hayden extended a drive and allowed Chad Henne to push the Jaguars down the field.
Once again, the Bears’ pass rush was up to snuff, and the pressure started from up the middle. Jeremiah Ratliff had another solid game, fighting off blockers and getting into the backfield on several occasions. Jared Allen also looked good in his first preseason action, although he did whiff on a sack opportunity in the first quarter.
The only concern for the Bears coming out of this game was the fact that they struggled at times against the run. Toby Gerhart looked pretty good against them, and even though guys like Shea McClellin and Jon Bostic did well in diagnosing those plays, DJ Williams had a rough night in terms of over-pursuing ball-carriers.
Special Teams: C-
The Bears’ special teams had a rough night at the office once again, with Eric Weems failing to gain any footing in the battle to become the team’s kick returner. He ran into Matthew Mulligan on his first return attempt, fumbled away his second, and was quickly subdued on his third.
About the only positive that Joe Decamillis’ unit can take away from this game was that Pat O’Donnell had a nice night at the office, booming several kicks and pinning the Jaguars a couple of times. Tress Way had another bad punt of less than 30 yards, and even though he did have a 54-yarder later in the game, it barely stayed in the air, and the result could have been disastrous if the Jaguars had executed their blocking scheme correctly.