It was perhaps the perfect preseason game. The Bears’ 27-10 win over the Miami Dolphins in preseason game had something for everyone. And you could ignore the somethings that didn’t fit your thinking.
“There’s good and bad, like any other preseason game,” quarterback Jay Cutler said in perhaps a bit of understatement.
If you see the Bears again as a five-win team in 2015, you were handed a three-and-out first offensive possession, a No. 1 offense with more penalties (four) than points (three) and a defense that allowed a 14-play drive on the first Miami Dolphins possession, with execution mistakes by its marquee free agent acquisition and starting free safety, the latter resulting in a touchdown and flashbacks to Chris Conte.
“You just have to trust the defense,” linebacker Jared Allen said. “It’s good to have stuff on tape so that you can communicate with the guys. So as soon as everyone’s on the same page, it clicks and you’ll see much better performances.”
If you believe the Bears are better than conventional wisdom thinks they’ll be, you have the defense holding the Dolphins to three points over the final 52 minutes and coming up with four takeaways, the offense ringing up 27 points, 357 yards and zero turnovers while playing without tailback Matt Forte and No. 1 receiver Alshon Jeffery (calf injury), and running for 166 yards using backup running backs.
“We looked very sloppy, particularly early,” coach John Fox said. “What I liked is the guys hung in there; they didn’t blink. They kept fighting.”
If the Bears had played abysmally and lost to Miami, as they did last regular season, prompting Brandon Marshall to begin bellowing “Unacceptable! Unacceptable! Unacceptable!” afterwards, that might have been indeed unacceptable, preseason or not.
If there was a true negative it would be that for the time being at least the Bears are without their projected top two wide receivers, with Jeffery described as day to day and rookie Kevin White still not back from a shin injury.
If there is a true positive it would be that Jay Cutler remains turnover-free and has not lost the ball via interception or fumble in any team session, practice or game, since the start of training camp. Jimmy Clausen played most of the game Thursday and like Cutler did not have the ball wind up in Dolphin hands.
“I think what’s normal in this league — turnover ratio, ball security — is critical in this game,” Fox said. “I think that’s what swung it for us.”