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Tight end Martellus Bennett looking to be right end for Bears

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Updated: September 8, 2013 9:13PM



Throughout Lovie Smith’s tenure as coach, the Bears annually made promises about recommitting themselves to incorporating the tight end into the passing game.

Some years, the position was ignored in their game plans. Others the organization failed to bring in personnel talented enough to make a difference at the position.

Saturday, in the first game of the Marc Trestman era, the Bears finally proved they’ve brought in the talent and can use it effectively. After he signed as a free agent this offseason, Martellus Bennett caught three passes for 49 yards and a touchdown in his regular season debut with the Bears on Sunday.

Bennett dropped his first pass on the opening drive but on the ensuing offensive series caught an eight-yard touchdown pass over two Bengals defenders in the back of the end zone.

It was a play Kellen Davis, the team’s starting tight end last season, never would have made.

“Missed the first catch,” Bennett said. “Jittery, first game, Soldier Field, anxious, tried to do too much on the first one. So it was good to come back with a strong catch and it was just two guys getting open trying to make a play and [quarterback Jay Cutler] Cutty trusted me enough just to put it up there where I could get it over the defenders and I was able to come down with it.”

Bennett finished the game with three receptions for 49 yards, including his touchdown that gave the Bears a 7-0 lead. Though he didn’t put up enormous numbers Saturday, the timing of his catches will force future opponents to account for him in the most crucial situations.

With a three-point lead and third-and-eight at the Bears’ 30-yard line, Bennett made a dividing 11-yard catch to extend a drive that eventually burned the final 6:38 off the clock.

“Bringing in Martellus, hats off to [general manager] Phil [Emery] for getting that guy here,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. “I don’t know why the Giants let him out of there.

“He’s the best tight end in the game. And you can mark that down.”

Email: sgruen@suntimes.com

Twitter: @SethGruen



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