Receiver Williams finally gets into act with two catches
By Mark Potash firstname.lastname@example.org August 27, 2011 11:50PM
Updated: November 4, 2011 12:23PM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Quarterback Jay Cutler made a concerted effort to get receiver Roy Williams involved in the offense Saturday against the Tennessee Titans — with mixed results.
On the Bears’ first play from scrimmage, Cutler found Williams over the middle for a 17-yard gain. He went back to Williams on the next play, but the ball appeared to be tipped and was intercepted by free safety Michael Griffin, who returned it 19 yards to the Bears’ 37.
Williams added a 16-yard catch in the second quarter and finished with two receptions for 33 yards.
Asked to assess the progress of his connection with Williams, Cutler was curt.
‘‘We’re still working on it, so we’ll see how it goes,’’ he said.
Williams, who entered the game without a reception in the preseason, was one of several ‘‘things to watch’’ in the defining third preseason game. Here’s how some of the others fared:
Offensive line: Mike Tice’s faith in his starters appears to be paying off. The Bears rushed for 69 yards on 16 carries behind the first-team line in the first half, and Cutler took a couple of hits but wasn’t sacked.
The Bears also converted back-to-back third-and-one plays in the first quarter. Matt Forte gained four yards on one, and Marion Barber gained two yards on the other.
Special teams: After the Titans’ Marc Mariani’s 37-yard kickoff
return following the Bears’ first-quarter touchdown, the Bears apparently decided not to leave anything to chance. Robbie Gould boomed his next two kickoffs out of the end zone, including one that went into the first row of the stands.
Five days after the Bears had a punt blocked against the New York Giants, Adam Podlesh punted twice against the Titans without incident.
Third-team linebacker Patrick Trahan blocked a punt in the fourth quarter, only to have Titans punter Chad Cunningham retrieve the ball and run 19 yards for a first down.
Gould missed a 29-yard field goal off the left upright in the second quarter, but he responded with field goals of 45 and 52 yards.
Takeaways: The Bears failed to force a turnover and have only one in three preseason games. Cornerback Charles Tillman had a chance for an interception on a deep pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Damian Williams, but it was a fourth-and-five play, and the Bears took possession on the incompletion.
For what it’s worth, the Bears’ first-team defensive line still is without a sack in the preseason.
Running game: Forte, who had gained seven yards on four carries in the first two preseason games, gained 74 yards on 17 carries, including a three-yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 7-0 lead.
The Bears didn’t have a rush for negative yardage behind the first-team offensive line.