Despite the bombshell Andrew Luck news, the Bears and Colts did in fact finish their game on Saturday night. Preseason scores obviously aren’t all that important, something Matt Nagy made abundantly clear when he decided to not play any of the starters in what’s traditionally the season’s dress rehearsal. For the time being, Bears fans will have to get their fix through Eddy Pineiro field goal attempts and inside linebacker rotations. You can always find questions if you look hard enough, and that’s exactly what preseason content is for. Who was good? And who wasn’t? A review:
It was rough. 3-9 with 21 yards type rough. His offensive line didn’t do him any favors, but Daniel also missed on some clean throws. Barring any injury, he’s going to be QB2 when they take the field against the Packers on Sep. 5 - but it’s been a rocky preseason for the 10-year vet. He’s close with Matt Nagy and proved his worth in two games last season, but as the NFL’s highest-paid backup, not having a touchdown pass through three games isn’t great optics.
The Offensive Line
Tackle depth has quietly become a pretty big concern for the Bears, who came into Saturday without Rashaad Coward as he deals with an elbow injury. T.J. Clemmings left the game in the 1st quarter on a cart after hurting his leg. Cornelius Lucas didn’t look particularly good. As a unit, the 2’s and 3’s have allowed 10 sacks through three games. A silver lining? Alex Bars – who threw a key block in Ryan Nall’s 69-yard run – got some snaps at left tackle, and has looked strong in both games and practice so far.
Blame it on the preseason if you want, but the Bears had 9 penalties for 85 yards, including one that wiped out a Ryan Nall touchdown run. They've had at least eight penalties in all of their preseason games so far.
In his first game as the roster’s lone kicker, Pineiro had his best moment in a Bears uniform. The kicker crushed a 58 yard field goal, with room to spare:
He went 2-2 on the night, and was 3/3 on extra point attempst. Pineiro will presumably get the final two games to definitively win the job, and splitting the uprights from the midfield logo certainly doesn’t hurt.
Matt Nagy mentioned that he was keeping an eye on the ILB’s on Saturday night, and it’d be hard not to like what he saw. Nick Kwiatkoski made some nice plays in the first half, and Joel Iyiegbuniwe had a (relatively easy) scoop-and-score. Josh Woods also put together another strong game. Even James Vaughters – who’s listed on the team’s roster as an OLB – had another strong night after forcing his second fumble in two weeks. Three of the Bears’ five sacks came from linebackers (Kwiatkoski, Vaughters, and Iyiegbuniwe) too.
Three more tonight makes it eight so far. History says that high turnover rates are almost impossible to replicate, and much of that concern fuels a lot of the regression talk that’s surrounded the defense this offseason. Deon Bush’s 2nd quarter forced fumble scoop-and-score was as impressive a play as anyone had all night. Preseason caveats aside, the Bears’ knack for the ball still looks like a big strength, and it feels like there’s more optimism in that regard than there was three weeks ago.