Turnovers Lead to 3rd Straight Loss

Turnovers and Arizona's ability to convert on long yardage situations were the key to their 24-20 defeat of the Bears. Chicago had three turnovers in their preseason finale, which led to 17 points for Arizona.

"In the National Football League you can't turn the ball over that many times, obviously let their defense score two touchdowns, let their offense convert third and longs, and then a fourth and 18, and then expect to win a game," head coach Dick Jauron said.

The scoring started when Jim Miller's first pass was tipped by DE Jabari Issa, CB Tom Knight caught the ball and ran it back from 49-yards putting the visitors up 7-0 in the second quarter.

"That first interception they had, they had a great blitz called," Miller said. "We're hot, they dropped their DE he's right in my passing lane, so either, it's just a bad mistake on my part either you got to take the sack or throw it away. I tried to make the perfect throw and he made us pay for it."

Later in the quarter Glyn Milburn fumbled a punt return, which gave Arizona the ball on the Bears' 43 yard line. The Bears Chicago continued to help Arizona proceed down the field with two defensive holding penalties on three plays. The Cardinals increased their lead to 14-0 on a Michael Pittman 2-yard TD run capping a 7-play 43-yard drive.

Skip Hicks had a 38-yard return on the following kickoff to the Chicago 39, but the play looked like it could have gone for more yards the running back slipped as he tried to cut back into the open field.

The biggest play for the Bears in the first half was a 39-yard reception by Dez White from Shane Matthews. White, who has had trouble catching the ball in the past, made a great finger tip catch. Matthews only played the first quarter going 4/6 for 62 yards. However, the drive stalled and Paul Edinger came up short on a 53-yard field goal attempt.

With 55 seconds left in the half Miller led a drive, which started on the (Chicago) 39 and took it down to the Arizona 24. Miller fumbled a snap and the Bears attempted another field goal. This time Edinger missed a 49-yard attempt to end the first half.

The defense forced the Cardinals to punt on their first drive of the second half. R.W. McQuarters sparked a struggling Bears offense with a 46-yard return to the Arizona 7. McQuarters now has punt returns of 58, 46 and 38 in the preseason as he continues to make a push to return punts come opening day.

The offense took advantage of the field possession scoring on a seven-yard TD pass from Jim Miller to Ahmad Merritt.

"After that (first interception) I felt settled down, felt I played a little better and made good decisions," Miller said. "And we had good drives going and that's the main thing. We started to rush the ball well, started to throw the ball and move the football."

Miller was also impressed by Merritt's effort (5 receptions for 46 yards and one touchdown). "Ahmad Merritt, this guy has worked his fanny off, he deserves to be on this football team." Merritt only had 3 catches for 39 yards in the Bears previous three preseason games, so he knew the last preseason game could leave a lasting impression on coaches come roster reduction time.

"Definitely, I mean you always need to play hard and do well in these preseason games," Merritt said. "For a guy like me a free agent that didn't get drafted I need to come out here make plays. I knew that coming into it from the first game. And every game I've been able to do something positive. So, hopefully it will get me somewhere."

The Bears dominated the third quarter scoring 17 unanswered points. The deficit was cut to 14-10 on Chicago's next possession. Field position played a role in the a consecutive drive as the team took over on their 46. One drive Miller connected with FB/TE Scott Dragos for 17-yards bringing the Bears down to the Cardinal 33. However, Marlon Barnes got stuffed on a third and one. Edinger kicked a 36-field goal after a false start penalty.

The Bears continued the momentum and scored on a third straight possession to take a 17-14 lead. The drive started within enemy territory after a 24-yard punt by Scott Player. On third and seven David Terrell made a six-yard reception down to the Arizona 33 leaving the Bears a yard short of a first down. Edinger's previous misses from 53 and 49 prompted Jauron to go for it. Hicks got the fourth down call and leaped over the line of scrimmage for necessary yardage. Two plays later Hicks' number was called again this time for a ten yard gain. The following play Hicks cut down the left sideline and dove into the end zone for a 17 yard score. Hicks had four carries on the drive totaling 34 yards.

"Skip (Hicks) obviously out tonight in a lot of areas," Jauron said. "I think he showed his skills he's a highly talented running back. I'll have to see the tape, at times he really stood out, he's an outstanding player and then at other times he really disappears on the field. That could be the function of a lot of things you got to look at the tape closely. But, I think tonight he definitely stood out at times and he showed the great level of ability he does have."

The Bears took their lead into the fourth quarter and were up 20-17 after a 38-yard Edinger field goal with 2:56 left to play. The Bears looked like they had the game wrapped up when Tywan Mitchell caught a 45-yard reception on 4th down and 19. The catch gave Arizona first and goal from the 4-yard line. The Cardinals scored two-plays later on a Marcel Shipp 2-yard TD run with just over a minute to go in the game. Giving Arizona the 24-20 win and dropping the Bears preseason record to 1-3.

"Its disappointing cause you always want to win every game and we just made too many mistakes here today," Miller said. "My interception was points; we missed two field goals. It's the National Football League and you can't let them convert on fourth and 18. Those type of things we have to shore up and get better, especially two weeks from now because the Baltimore Ravens aren't going to show any mercy and I know that."

The Arizona fourth down and 19 conversion was an eyesore, but the play was magnified by an injury to Frankie Smith. The safety tried to hit Mitchell as he caught the ball and fractured his right scapula, which Jauron said will likely force Smith to miss the remainder of the season.

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