Hanie bounces back from early sacks
By Sean Jensen firstname.lastname@example.org August 14, 2011 6:50PM
Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie (12) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills in the first half an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Updated: October 19, 2011 3:15AM
Few Bears had a rougher week of practice than backup quarterback Caleb Hanie.
And it hardly was an ideal way to start the preseason Saturday, by taking two sacks on his first two drop-backs.
But Hanie regrouped, leading the Bears on the game’s only touchdown drive. He completed an 11-yarder to receiver Johnny Knox, and then scored on a four-yard keeper.
“It was kind of middle of the road for me,” Hanie said. “I missed a couple of things that I’d like to have back.”
The key was no turnovers.
Hanie did a nice job of moving the offense last week during practices, but he soured many drives with red-zone interceptions. Against the Bills, Hanie was a modest 3-for-7 for 32 yards, but he didn’t have any turnovers.
“I just wanted to show some poise, move the team down the field and score,” Hanie said. “I’m not worried about the numbers — that’ll come with execution.”
Hanie was encouraged by the team’s ability to run the ball. The Bears pounded 164 rushing yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
“That’s a good base to have, a good start,” he said.
Smith effective for Bills
The Bears were among the teams interested in former New York Jets playmaker Brad Smith. But Smith ultimately signed a four-year, $15 million contract with the Bills, and he showcased some of his skills.
A threat as a receiver, quarterback and kickoff returner, Smith converted three third-downs against the Bears.
Out of the Wildcat formation, Smith converted two short-yardage third downs. Then, in the second quarter, he completed an 11-yard pass on third down. He finished 1-for-3 for 11 passing yards, and he ran the ball three times for 16 yards.
“That’s what he can do,” Bills coach Chan Gailey said. “He can run the football, and he had one pass I think, and he threw it low. But he can throw the football, so that is going to add a weapon.”
Moving the pile
Harvey Unga, a supplemental seventh-round pick in 2010, made his Bears debut Saturday night.
While the numbers weren’t eye-opening, Unga showed some potential. He finished with 27 yards on nine carries. But his most impressive run was on second and eight from the Bills 13-yard line.
After picking up a few yards, Unga and his offensive line moved the pile at least another four yards.
“The O-line just gave me a great push, and I just kept trying to push my legs,” he said.
For Unga, though, it was exciting just to step onto the field for the Bears.
“It’s indescribable, especially being my first NFL game and everything,” he said. “It was fun. I loved it, and enjoyed it. I was happy to be back out there.”