The new Bears offensive scheming hasn’t downgraded the importance of receivers, just not using them so excessively as pass-catchers, so numbers aren’t likely to be as prolific as they were under the Marc Trestman philosophy.
The Bears threw 36 times and ran 33, and wideouts and tight ends were crucial in the overall effectiveness of the run game. Jay Cutler was not especially accurate and missed several open receivers.
The run blocking by Martellus Bennett and the tight end group set a tone from the outset and allowed the Bears to control the football by running. Alshon Jeffery also provided strong downfield blocking to present DB’s from coming up in run support.
One overriding question over the receivers is what effectiveness there would be after Jeffery, Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson missed so much of the preseason and practice with injuries. A blow to the head took Royal out of the game for most of the middle two quarters. He was able to return but caught only one of five “targets” after being Cutler’s security blanket and one of the top players on any side of the ball through training camp and the offseason.
Wilson broke tackles to extend an intermediate completion into a 50-yard pickup at a crucial stage mid-fourth quarter. He netted only two catches, however, and was a non-factor otherwise.
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Jeffery flashed in his first game action of any kind since a calf injury Aug. 12. He tied for game-high with five receptions, although needed 11 targets to get his catches. “For being able to be out there really at all this week and missing three to four weeks of the preseason, I thought he did well,” Cutler said. “He didn’t have any assignment issues. He knew what we were playing. He knew what we were calling. Lined up and did exactly what we wanted to do.”
Bennett caught five, including one for a 24-yard catch-and-run touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Moon's Grade: B