Bears show there’s work to do in preseason loss to Panthers
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter August 9, 2013 10:24PM
PANTHERS 24, BEARS 17
BEARS 7 3 0 7 — 17
Carolina 7 7 7 3 — 24
Car—LaFell 3 pass from Newton (Gano kick), 10:08.
BEARS—Bostic 51 interception return (Gould kick), 6:09.
BEARS—FG Gould 35, 10:15.
Car—Barner 5 run (Lineberry kick), :18.
Car—Norman 60 interception return (Lineberry kick), 6:13.
BEARS—Ford 4 run (Gould kick), 12:53.
Car—FG Gano 50, 7:38.
First downs 16 18
Total Net Yards 291 292
Rushes-yards 19-70 32-92
Passing 221 200
Punt Returns 3-31 3-37
Kickoff Returns 3-79 4-96
Interceptions Ret. 2-60 2-71
Comp-Att-Int 24-34-2 16-30-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 7-56 1-0
Punts 6-40.7 5-49.6
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 5-44 5-44
Time of Possession 29:09 30:51
RUSHING—BEARS, Blanchard 4-26, Ford 6-15, Unga 3-15, Allen 3-12, Bush 1-3, McCown 1-0, Forte 1-(minus 1). Carolina, Barner 9-37, Poole 9-23, A.Smith 5-17, D.Williams 5-10, Clausen 3-4, Anderson 1-1.
PASSING—BEARS, Blanchard 15-18-1-194, Cutler 6-8-1-56, McCown 3-8-0-27. Carolina, Anderson 8-15-1-133, Clausen 5-9-0-51, Newton 3-6-1-16.
RECEIVING—BEARS, M.Wilson 4-82, Ford 3-35, Jo.Anderson 2-27, Bush 2-16, Aromashodu 2-13, Miller 2-9, Jackson 1-23, Toliver 1-14, Jeffery 1-13, Unga 1-11, Weems 1-11, Maneri 1-8, Golden 1-7, Forte 1-5, Allen 1-3. Carolina, Gettis 3-56, A.Edwards 2-38, Barner 2-17, B.Williams 1-24, Ginn Jr. 1-17, Bersin 1-13, Pilares 1-13, S.Smith 1-10, Poole 1-7, Hartsock 1-3, LaFell 1-3, A.Smith 1-(minus 1).
Updated: September 11, 2013 6:15AM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This was never going to be a quick fix for coach Marc Trestman. Expecting offensive fireworks in his first NFL game in nearly a decade was unrealistic.
Instead, all the Bears’ 24-17 loss against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on Friday night proved is that there still is a lot of work that needs to be done. There still are kinks to work out and jobs to be won. But Trestman and Bears players would have told you that win or lose — 28 points scored on offense or zero.
“Overall, nobody is ever happy about losing any game,” Trestman said. “But I felt that indications are that moving forward we’ve got something to build on.”
In some ways, the game had a 2012 feel. The defense forced turnovers and scored (rookie linebacker Jon Bostic’s 51-yard interception return). The offense sputtered, turned the ball over and still has issues up front.
Trestman’s first- and second-team offenses only were able to score three points (Robbie Gould’s 35-yard field goal). And that came after cornerback Zack Bowman made an interception to give them good field position.
It all started with Jay Cutler, who threw an interception on the first play from scrimmage. Cutler said it was a poorly thrown ball to receiver Alshon Jeffery.
But Trestman left pleased with how Cutler responded after that, especially when it came to his checks. Trestman said the Bears sent in two plays with “a third possibility.” Cutler saw 10 snaps in the first quarter, completing 6 of 8 passes for 56 yards and finding success on quick slant routes.
“There were a number of called runs, but he had the option to throw it because they were in the box,” Trestman said. “Because they’re taking things away, we don’t want to waste a play. We’re going to take the ball and throw it.
“Obviously you don’t want to see that [interception] happen on the first play of the game, but I loved his demeanor tonight. I thought he came right back.”
Trestman saw other positives. He was happy his first unit didn’t commit any pre-snap penalties, he liked the tempo the offense had throughout and the transition of sending players in and out went well.
His three quarterbacks — backup Josh McCown played in the second quarter and third-stringer Matt Blanchard the entire second half — combined to complete 24 of 34 passes for 277 yards with two interceptions.
There were missed opportunities, including tight end Fendi Onobun’s drop in the end zone in the second quarter and running back Armando Allen’s fumble on the ensuing play.
One highlight was rookie Marquess Wilson’s 58-yard reception from Blanchard down to the Panthers’ 4-yard line. Rookie running back Michael Ford scored on the next play.
Quarterbacks can’t be hit in camp, so seeing how the offensive line handled true pressure against the Panthers was an essential part of the opener.
That’s where the main concerns are.
Right tackle J’Marcus Webb was beaten by defensive end Charles Johnson for a sack of Cutler. McCown was sacked by linebacker Chase Blackburn on a stunt past guard Kyle Long and tackle Jordan Mills, both rookies. Blanchard was sacked five times.
“But I think we have a lot to build on,” Trestman said of his offense.