The Bears routed the Cleveland Browns 24-14 in the team's final pre-season game. Both teams notable players sat the game out. This set the stage for many backups to make a case to win a roster spot. There were many positives to be drawn from this game and a lot of rotational players got good burn in before the regular season. Here are my observations from the game.
All notable starters for both teams sat out.
Caleb Hanie impressed during his time in the game. Hanie maneuvered the pocket a lot better than his last pre-season showing where he was sacked a couple times.
Offensive line continued to impress with their protection in the passing game. Also displayed quality run blocking allowing Robert Hughes and Chester Taylor to impress from the backfield.
Bears first red zone trip resulted in a 22 yard FG by Robbie Gould. It came on a 16 play drive that ate up 7:36. The drive was extended by Dane Sanzenbacher by catching a 22 yd wheel route on 3rd and 13.
Defense wouldn't allow a first down until 4 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter.
Henry Melton, Nick Reed, and Mario Addison were very productive. Melton had a big sack on Browns QB Seneca Wallace, and Reed/Addison were able to continually get pressure. Reed's high motor was commented on by the commentators several times. Both had several big plays. Reed had 1 sack on the game. Addison's big play was stopping Greg Little on an end around.
Caleb Hanie's last drive of the game resulted in a wonderful 19 yard TD pass to Johnny Knox. Perfect pass, perfect blocking, perfect catch, all around great play. This was the 1st Bears' passing TD through 4 pre-season games.
CB Zach Bowman was in the right place at the right time twice, almost intercepting two deflected passes. During the regular season, those are passes we HAVE to intercept.
RB Khalil Bell and Safety Craig Steltz both got a little banged up and left the game. Both commented afterwards that they would have played through the injury had it been a regular season game.
5th round pick Nathan Enderle played QB for most of the game for the Bears and played well. He didn't make too many mistakes but, didn't make any passes to truly make us want to rave about his performance.
The 2nd half consisted mostly of UDFA RB Robert Hughes getting a brunt of the carries. He wound up with 2 rushing TD's on the night.
Dane Sanzenbacher impressed fans the most on offense hauling in 4 catches for 50 yards. Behind Sanzenbacher, Johnny Knox had 2 catches for 33 yards and 1 TD.
Bears offense scored a pre-season high 24 points, scored the first passing TD of the pre-season, and moved the ball at will when Caleb Hanie was at QB. A very impressive showing by the back-ups. Andy Fantuz even made an appearance and caught a pass.
Defensively the Bears were very impressive. Continually getting pressure and stuffing the run. The Bears didn't give up a first down until there were 4 minutes left in the 1st half.
With the pre-season finished and, the Bears opening up at Soldier Field against the Atlanta Falcons on September 11th, Bear fans have a LOT to be excited about.