Fox Era begins for Bears with preseason win over Dolphins


Fox Era begins for Bears with preseason win over Dolphins

It's the first preseason game, so everything is taken with a grain of salt.

But the Bears' first teams struggled to open up the preseason slate, forcing the second- and third-string units to come back for a 27-10 win over the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field in the first game under new head coach John Fox.

The No. 1 defense was gashed on the opening drive of the game, allowing a 14-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in a two-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Jarvis Landry on fourth down.

Pernell McPhee - the biggest offseason addition to the Bears defense - helped set up the Dolphins' score with an offside penalty on third down.

Jay Cutler and the first-team offense managed to overcome a three-and-out on the first possession to put up points the second time out, but they finished with more penalties (four) than points (three).

Matt Forte didn't see any time with the first-team offense, as Jacquizz Rodgers rushed seven times for 33 yards (4.7 average). Cutler went 4-for-7 with 42 yards during his time on the field.

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Offensive coordinator Adam Gase was true to his word when he said the Bears were going to commit to the run this year as he called a perfect 50/50 split on run and pass plays (11 each) in the first half before the final drive of the half when backup quarterback Jimmy Clausen led the Bears down the field on seven straight passes. On that possession, Clausen and the Bears ultimately ran out of time even though they were inside the red zone.

Even though the first teams looked shaky for the Bears, the second and third teams turned it on in the second half, overcoming a 10-3 deficit at the break.

The defense forced turnovers on three straight Dolphins drives in the third and fourth quarters (a Sherrick McManis fumble and recovery, a John Timu interception and a Sam Acho interception) that led to 14 points for the Bears as Robbie Gould converted two field goals and Ka'Deem Carey rushed the ball in from one-yard out (with a subsequent two-point conversion).

Clausen got the lion's share of playing time at quarterback, taking over for Cutler on the third series and playing all the way into the final few minutes. He was 17-for-27 passing for 151 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.

Senorise Perry closed out the scoring for the Bears with a 54-yard touchdown run with less than four minutes remaining in the game.

Robbie Gould was a perfect 4-for-4 on the evening.

Local products Cameron Meredith (Illinois State) and Rashad Lawrence (Northwestern) were the Bears' top two receivers, as Meredith caught four passes on six targets for 47 yards and Lawrence hauled in three passes on seven targets for 25 yards.

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7


Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed.