Noots' Notes

The Bears fell 16-6 to Cleveland Thursday night in their final preseason game. Most of the starters were out of the game before the end of the first quarter. There were a few bright spots, led by rookie wide receiver Mark Bradley and NFL Europe defensive end Greg White.

The Good

On offense, rookie Kyle Orton (2-4-60, Int.) opened the Bears' first possession with a perfectly thrown 47-yard strike to Muhsin Muhammad. Orton threw an interception into the end zone against a blitz to end the drive. It looked more as if the pass was under thrown than a bad decision, since Gage was in single coverage. On three successive plays, Mark Bradley returned a kickoff 40 yards, plucked a slant out of the air for a first down, and then hauled in a 45-yard touchdown pass. On defense, Tank Johnson crumpled Cleveland's quarterback Charlie Frye for a sack. Tommie Harris was nearly unblockable against the early running plays to William Green.

Among the players battling for roster spots, Rashied Davis returned a punt forty yards and plucked out a sure completion to defend a 3rd and short. Defensive end Greg White had an impressive game. He registered eight tackles, two sacks, a tackle for a loss, numerous pressures, and drew a holding penalty from L.J. Shelton. Israel Idonije added a sack. Linebacker Leon Joe (8 tackles, FR) diagnosed a draw and recovered a fumble on successive plays in the early parts of the third quarter. Linebacker LeVar Woods started at middle linebacker but was shaken up and had to leave the game before he could make a lasting impression. This paved the way for Jeremy Cain. Cain asserted himself with a team-leading nine-tackle performance. Tight end Darnell Sanders hauled in a Jeff Blake pass and leapt over a defender for a first down. Ron Johnson had a team-high four receptions, but committed another offensive pass interference infraction. Quarterback Kurt Kittner (8-13-100, TD) threw a perfect 45-yard touchdown bomb to rookie Mark Bradley for the Bears' first touchdown. Undrafted safety Brandon McGowan was very active, registering a late tackle for a loss and had seven tackles in the game.

The Bad

Tight end John Gilmore came up empty on two pass attempts in very tight coverage. Quarterback Jeff Blake (5-10-37, Int.) saw considerable action, and had a difficult time getting in a comfortable rhythm. He threw an interception that was well short of his intended receiver. He also appeared to commit a mental error on a broken play that lost yardage. He appeared to open from center to hand off in the wrong direction, since his runner and line were all blocking to the other side.

The Ugly

After making a nice block on a running play for Adrian Peterson (8/34, 1-9), Marc Colombo proceeded to commit false start and facemask penalties. Qasim Mitchell saw time at right guard, left guard and left tackle. He was whistled for a false start at each position. Newcomer Brendon Ayanbadejo quickly showed he could fit in by committing a holding penalty on a kickoff return. Overall, the Bears committed ten penalties. Although it was almost exclusively against the backups, the Browns rolled for over 200 yards rushing and over 250 yards passing.

Next Up

The Bears have a week and a half to prepare for the season opener against the Washington Redskins. Let's hope they can get Orton ready to face a tough defense, and that they can cut down on the mental errors.


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