It was a much better outing for the starters, who struggled in the preseason opener. The starting offense went three-and-out on its first drive but then scored on its next three drives, albeit field goals each time.
The first team defense forced punts on the Colts’ first two drives, sacking quarterback Andrew Luck and consistently harassing him in the pocket.
For the second week in a row, Chicago’s backups dominated. The second-team offense scored two touchdowns to open the second half, while the backup defense didn’t give up a single point in the final two stanzas.
Overall, it was a strong performance for the Bears, who were facing a team many consider a Super Bowl contender this year. Here are the winners and losers from the second preseason contest.
OLB Pernell McPhee
On the Colt’s second snap of the game, McPhee rushed up the right shoulder of the right tackle before cutting back inside and leaving the defender in his wake. McPhee picked up the sack and finished the game with four tackles, tied for second most on the team. If McPhee plays like that during the regular season, he’ll justify the large contract he received this off-season.
QB Jay Cutler
Cutler finished 8 of 9 for 69 yards and a 98.6 passer rating. More importantly, he did not turn the ball over for the second week in a row. Cutler still lacks consistent accuracy – he nearly missed TE Martellus Bennett wide open down the left seam – but he’s making better decisions, which is a good sign moving forward.
CB Terrance Mitchell
All Mitchell does is make plays, something he’s done since rookie minicamp. Against the Colts, Mitchell made arguably the best play of the game. On a deep post, Mitchell stuck with the receiver using trail technique then leaped over the wideout to pull in the interception. The rest of the Bears cornerbacks are struggling, while Mitchell continues to prove why he deserves a spot on the 53-man roster.
RB Jeremy Langford
Langford showed tonight why the Bears invested a fourth-round pick in him. He rushed nine times for 80 yards (8.9 average), including a 46-yard scamper in which he made two defenders miss. Yet Langford saved his best play for the goal line. On a stretch run left, the blocking was horrible and Langford was hit in the backfield. Yet he bounced off the tackle attempt, reversed field and outraced the defense to the end zone. Langford appears to be the real deal, with explosiveness, agility and power as a ball carrier.
OLB Sam Acho
Acho continues to show why he’s the best all-around outside linebacker on the roster. We saw it in training camp, and then had a sack and an interception in the preseason opener. Tonight, he had a sack and a forced fumble, which was recovered by NT Eddie Goldman. With the way he’s performed, it would be a shame if Acho doesn’t receive first-team reps in the third preseason game. He’s at least earned that.
OLB David Bass
Bass is on the outside of the roster looking in but he made a strong case tonight with four tackles, a pass breakup – which he nearly intercepted – and a sack. If Bass gets pushed out due to the volume of veterans ahead of him, another NFL team is going to get a quality up-and-coming young player in free agency.
CB Kyle Fuller
Fuller continues to struggle in coverage. He allowed multiple completions in man coverage, including a 45-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton on a skinny post, after which Fuller was flagged 15 yards for taunting. Fuller in no way looks like a No. 1 cornerback and he appears to regress every game. It’s a disheartening, troubling trend that could be costly for Chicago’s secondary.
OT Charles Leno
Leno had a golden opportunity tonight. He was elevated to the starting lineup over Jordan Mills – who ended up playing with the second team despite injuring his calf in practice this week – but Leno did not rise to the occasion. He allowed a sack and had two penalties, and appeared out of sync all night. Don’t be surprised if Mills, who looked good with the backups, returns to the starting lineup this week.
C Hroniss Grasu
Grasu has struggled mightily the first two preseason contests. In fact, it could be argued he’s been the worst player on the field for the Bears. Tonight, he was consistently pushed backward and again showed absolutely no power at the point of attack. Late in the fourth quarter, working against the Indianapolis third team, Grasu was driven four yards into the backfield before being dumped on his butt. If he weren’t a third-round draft pick, he’d be a legitimate cut candidate.
WR Marquess Wilson
Due to injuries to Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White, Wilson started the game as the club’s No. 1 wideout. He caught two balls for 19 yards and left the game with a hamstring injury. Despite his talent, Wilson has struggled with injury and consistency in his career, hurdles he still can’t to overcome.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.