Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) cannot hold on to the ball as he is hit by Seattle Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell in the first half of a preseason NFL football game, Friday, Aug. 22, 2014, in Seattle. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)
Updated: August 24, 2014 2:34AM
SEATTLE — Receiver Alshon Jeffery’s hands opened for a near-perfect strike from quarterback Jay Cutler down the middle of the field Friday.
A 47-yard touchdown reception looked inevitable, with Seattle
Seahawks cornerback Byron Maxwell set to join the victims on Jeffery’s growing highlight reel.
It’s just what Jeffery does. But then he didn’t. Maxwell got his hand on the ball and knocked it from Jeffery’s grasp.
‘‘We’re so used to him making nice catches,’’ running back Matt Forte said. ‘‘But he’s human. We’re all not perfect out there.’’
Jeffery has earned the benefit of the doubt, just like the Bears’ offense has. The Seahawks’ 34-6 shellacking of the Bears, including a 31-0 romp when the starters played in the first half, shouldn’t be shrugged off as just a meaningless preseason game. The litany of issues on defense will prevent that.
It was an off night in a tough setting for the Bears’ offense, too, but that really doesn’t raise any red flags. When coach Marc Trestman says things are ‘‘fixable,’’ it’s worth remembering the Bears were the highest-scoring team in the NFC last season and have every starter back.
‘‘We were never shellshocked out there,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘I thought we handled the noise well. We got to our checks in a reasonable time. We just missed a few big plays out there that I think could’ve changed the game for us.’’
There wasn’t much game-planning — Cutler made sure to point that out afterward — but Cutler still ran the offense like he would in the regular season. He was given options to choose from at the line of scrimmage based on what he saw from the Seahawks, and that meant more passes.
Cutler had completions of nine, 14, 17, nine, 13, 14, 23, 21 and 22 yards — some in the vicinity of cornerback Richard Sherman — in his half of play. But there also were drops by Jeffery and Brandon Marshall and a touchdown that was waved off because of a pass-interference call against Marshall.
‘‘Whenever we checked it and passed it, we got big chunks of yardage on it,’’ Forte said. ‘‘The
offense was working pretty good.’’
Still, it was an unceremonious end to what had been a respectable preseason for the starters. Cutler and Co. are expected to sit Thursday in Cleveland.
‘‘If we don’t [play],’’ Cutler
said, ‘‘I feel confident with where we’re at.’’
And that includes the Bears’ running game, which followed up two mediocre performances with 51 yards on 13 carries against the Seahawks.
‘‘This is the same line as last year,’’ said Forte, who had an
11-yard run in the first quarter. ‘‘I’m confident in our run game. We haven’t ran a whole game yet.’’
So the Bears remain confident on offense, but the slap in the face they took from the Seahawks might have been necessary.
‘‘That just goes to show you that anybody can look good on paper and that we’ve got to come out here and put the work in and get better,’’ Forte said. ‘‘The season is around the corner.’’