The Chicago Bears are now 0-3 in the preseason after this afternoon's 23-7 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field.
It was a rough outing for the first-team offense, which totaled just two first downs and 20 total yards in the first half. Jay Cutler finished 6-of-15 for 45 yards and was sacked twice for a loss of 20 yards. He finished the game with 47.9 passer rating.
On the day, the Bears finished with 223 yard on offense -- 164 passing yards, 59 rushing yards -- and were beaten 37:10 to 22:50 in time of possession, while going 3-for-13 on 3rd down.
"We've played, in the first game and the third game, two pretty good defenses," head coach John Fox said after the game. "They practice and play too. Other than that, most of it has been fixable stuff."
The Bears struggled to keep Cutler upright, with the patchwork offensive line failing to consistently pick up Kansas City's blitz packages.
"I think we've been short in both games up front," Fox said. "In the first game we replaced our center two days before the game and obviously Kyle Long wasn't out there today. He's a pretty steady performer. Those aren't excuses, it's just the reality. I don't think it was all bad, even though it might have looked like that."
The offense went three-and-out on three of their first four drives, which put the defense on the field for long stretches in the first half. The defense wore down as the half progressed and gave up 239 yards to the Chiefs in the first two quarters. Yet they kept the team in the game by allowing just 13 points heading into the half, despite being on the field for more than 22 of the first 30 minutes.
"I thought our red-area defense improved," said Fox. "We got a couple of turnovers down in the low red area. Our 3rd-and-long defense wasn't very sufficient. Again we were without some key members in the secondary but we got a chance to look at some young guys and make evaluations and that's what the preseason is for."
The Bears have been outscored 50 to 11 in first half of the first three preseason games this year. Most of that time was filled by the starters, which is concerning to say the least.
The first-team offense today was called for five penalties and Jeremy Langford averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, while both Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White dropped crucial passes. Clearly there are issues across the board for the 2016 Bears, although Fox said effort isn't one of them.
"Yeah I've never had a problem with it, even all of last year and so far this year, as far as effort," said Fox. "Our guys try hard and work hard and now it's just crossing that gap and having it happen under pressure. With young people, sometimes that's the growing pains. We've got the talent to do it, now we've just got to execute better and do it consistently."
The Bears did have a few bright spots, including backup QB Connor Shaw, who finished 5-for-6 for 61 yards and throwing the team's only TD. Yet he was carted off the field with what appeared to be a season-ending ankle injury, which is fitting for a Bears team that just can't catch a break.
The Bears will finish the preseason this Thursday in Cleveland against the Browns looking for a few positives to take into the regular season.
First cuts should be announced tomorrow, so expect the Bears to be active in the upcoming free-agent market to fill a few of the many gaping holes on this roster.