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First teamers get quick hook as sloppy play, injuries highlight Bears loss to Chargers

Football coaches preach about the improvement they expect to see between the first game of the season to the second. If that’s the case, Lovie and crew have a lot of work to accomplish this week after Saturday night’s 25-10 loss to Ron Burgundy’s home team, the San Diego Chargers.

Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the Lovie.

The good

In just one series of action leading the Bears offense, Jay Cutler guided the unit down the field for a 38-yard field goal on the opening drive. Cutler completed his only 2 passes, both to Johnny Knox, for 47 yards (including a 33-yarder).

Major Wright proved he’s worthy of the starting strong safety spot with a 7-tackle performance. He was consistently in the right spot, and when the opportunity to make a play was there, he made them. Wright entered for Craig Steltz (who was starting in place of the injured Danieal Manning) after Steltz left with an ankle injury.

It was good to see Brian Urlacher back manning the middle of the Bears’ D. He had 3 tackles in 2 series of action. The Chargers first series was a 3 and out.

Caleb Hanie struggled at times, but he kept plays alive with his feet, including a 7-yard TD toss to Devin Aromashodu. In split time with both the first team and reserves, Hanie completed 10 of 17 passes for 148 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Aromashodu continued the momentum he built late season with 78 yards on 4 catches, including the TD.

The badThe Bears usually solid special teams struggled all night. The unit gave up a 56-yard kickoff return that resulted in a Phillip Rivers touchdown pass 5 plays later. The punting team also had a punt blocked for a safety.

The injuries, especially a banged up shoulder to Caleb Hanie, hurt. The Bears don’t have a capable backup on the roster if Hanie misses signifiant time. Reports are he was wearing a sling as he left the stadium. (Time to say hello to Josh McCown, who OC Mike Martz coached in Detroit?). With Danieal Manning out with hamstring problems, the safety position was depleted further with Steltz’s ankle and a finger injury to Wright.

In a sight similar to last year, the Bears running game never got going. Matt Forte (4 carries, 7 yards), Chester Taylor (6 carries, 10 yards and 1 fumble) and Kahlil Bell (6 carries, 12 yards) posed no threat whatsoever. When 3 backs struggle to average 2 yards per carry, you have to look to the o-line…which also allowed 6 sacks (some of which came from aggressive blitzes called by ex-Bear D-coordinator, Ron Rivera).

Rookie signal caller Dan LeFevour looked like a rookie that was still getting used to the nuances of a pro offense. He finished 2 of 10 for 21 yards. After watching Cutler and even Hanie throw darts around the field, it’s obvious LeFevour’s passes lack the same zip.

The Lovie

Put me on record for being totally okay with Lovie pulling Cutler after only one series of action…especially one in which he took a sack and was clobbered running for a 3-yard gain along the sideline. If anything bad happened to #6…well, you know the rest.
I couldn’t decide whether to put this one under the “good” or “bad,” but there were no reports of fisticuffs between old AFC West rivals, Cutler and Rivers.
Of course, you never want to draw too many conclusions from one preseason game in which your first teamers only play about a dozen total plays together (and that’s both the offense and defense combined). But there’s no doubt coaches will look for all-around improvement next week against the Raiders.
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