The Chicago Bears were shut out by the visiting Denver Broncos 22-0 in the first preseason contest of 2016. The Bears have not been shutout in a preseason contest in 25 years, which is telling of how the team played tonight.
The first-team offense failed to record a single first down, the offensive line gave up seven sacks, the first-team secondary had a blown coverage that led to a Broncos score and special teams cost the team another touchdown.
The Bears came out flat in every phase of the game and weren't able to rally the troops at any point in the contest.
"I was disappointed personally and I think the team was disappointed," head coach John Fox said after the game. "We were expecting more. I don't know if we executed as well as any of us expected. There's definitely some room for improvement."
CB Deiondre Hall
Hall, the club's fourth-round rookie, struggled during training camp, lacking awareness and ball skills during practice. Yet Hall showed up in a big way against the Broncos. During the second quarter, with the Broncos in Chicago's red zone, Denver QB Trevor Siemian fired a back-shoulder pass to WR Cody Latimer. Hall was in Latimer's hip pocket and reached out just as the pass arrived to knock the ball away. On the next play, Siemian lobbed a fade pass in the back of the end zone to WR Bennie Fowler. Again, Hall was able to reach in and knock the pass away. In essence, he saved two touchdowns in a row. Hall finished the game with a team-high five combined tackles and two pass breakups.
DE Cornelius Washington
Washington worked with the second team and was a force all night. He finished with three tackles, one of which went for a loss, and a sack. Washington showed power at the point of attack and the quickness to penetrate and chase down plays from the backside. He was easily the most dominant player on defense all night, yet knee and ankle injuries knocked him out of the game early.
QB Brian Hoyer
Chicago's offense was a mess all night, yet Hoyer had a solid outing. He completed 7 of 10 pass attempts for 81 yards, although he wasn't able to put any points on the board. Hoyer did throw an interception but the pass went right through the hands of WR Deonte Thompson, so it's tough to fault Hoyer on that one.
ILB Jerrell Freeman
The starting defense only played two series, yet Freeman made the most of his reps. He had a diving interception in the first quarter, reeling in a pass tipped by CB Bryce Callahan. Freeman only had one tackle but it went for a loss, with Freeman scraping in the backfield to take down the ball carrier.
S Chris Prosinski
Prosinski finished with just one tackle on defense but he made his presence felt on special teams, blocking a Brandon McManus field goal attempt to end the first half.
Broncos defensive coordinator Wade Phillips dialed up blitzes early and often, and Chicago's offensive line had no answers. On seemingly every other play there was a Denver defender running freely in the backfield, resulting in seven sacks allowed for a combined loss of 64 yards. In addition, rookie Cody Whitehair was called for two penalties, while Cornelius Edison had a penalty of his own. Seven sack and three penalties? Yeah, the front five has a lot of work to do.
S DeAndre Houston-Carson
During his collegiate career at William & Mary, Houston-Carson blocked a whopping six kicks. On his first rep in the NFL, DHC gave up a blocked punt. Working off the right edge, Houston-Carson let Bennie Fowler gain inside leverage, which allowed him to crash inside and block the Patrick O'Donnell punt. The ball squirted into the end zone where the Broncos fell on it for the touchdown. One play, one TD for the opponent. Not good.
WR Deonte Thompson
Thompson actually finished with a team-high 33 receiving yards on two catches. Yet with the Bears driving late in the first half, Thompson let a pass go right through his hands, which was intercepted by Lorenzo Doss. In addition, Thompson averaged just 19.1 yards per kick return.
CB Bryce Callahan
Callahan was arguably the most consistent cornerback in training camp but he laid an egg tonight. During the Broncos first series, Callahan got caught up in the turf and allowed WR Demaryius Thomas to roam free behind the defense for a 32-yard touchdown. Callahan was able to make good by tipping a pass on the next drive that Freeman intercepted.