JC's Live Game Blog: Bears vs. Chargers

BearReport.com Editor in Chief John Crist is keeping a running blog for Friday night's preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. Be sure to check out this story every 15 minutes or so for everything that's happening from Soldier Field. On the field, in the stands, and in the press box, JC will make you feel like you're there.

(6:30) It's great to be back at Soldier Field for the first game of the season. All the old gringos are up here in the press box, chowing down on the free food spread and complaining that we have to pay $35 a game for access to the WiFi. Yep, the glamorous life of a sports writer. But every time I get to thinking that I've got it rough, I always remember what Judge Smails said: "The world needs ditch diggers, too." This is going to be fun, so be sure to refresh this page periodically for all the updates ...

(6:42) And the letdown begins. The press announcer just informed us that LaDainian Tomlinson won't be playing tonight, so former NIU stud Michael Turner gets the nod. Tomlinson had only one carry in last year's preseason, and he scored from about 50 yards out. I don't think he needs the reps. Linebackers Donnie Edwards and Randall Godfrey also sit out in favor of Matt Wilhelm and Stephen Cooper, respectively. Tackle Ruben Oben sits as Leander Jordan will open with the first team. Eric Parker is out, so Malcolm Floyd starts at wide receiver. That's right, Malcolm Floyd. And you thought the Bears had issues at wideout.

(6:43) For Chicago, Nathan Vasher is out and will be replaced by Ricky Manning Jr. Muhsin Muhammad takes the night off to rest some ticky-tack injuries as Rashied Davis starts. We all know that Mike Brown will be gone for a while, so Chris Harris moves to strong safety and Danieal Manning gets the free safety assignment ...

(6:54) Scott makes his Chicago Bears debut tonight as he comes running out of the tunnel. Never heard of him? You shouldn't have. He's the new Staley Da Bear. Paul Pierson retired from mascot duty after three memorable years ...

(7:04) "For Whom the Bell Tolls" be Metallica blares as Robbie Gould kicks off, but the Chargers return it 52 yards and start their first possession in Bears territory ...

(7:07) We might have just been the most exciting play of the season already, folks. Brian Urlacher steps in front of a Philip Rivers pass and returns it 64 yards for a Bears touchdown. Rivers stared down Antonio Gates on 3rd-and-8, and no linebacker in the NFL drops into coverage faster than Urlacher. 7-0 Bears, and there's still 13:29 left in the first quarter ...

(7:14) Devin Hester is a little smarter than he was last week and lets a booming 63-yard punt go over his head this time. The ball hits the 1-yard line and bounces into the end zone for a touchback. He's learning, which is a good thing ...

(7:22) Rex Grossman completes a couple of passes on his first series, including a beauty of a bootleg throw to Bernard Berrian for 18 yards, but he takes a nine-yard sack on second down and kills the drive. Looks like Ruben Brown got beat. The Chargers might have the best front seven in the league, so it will be a tough task for the offensive line tonight ...

(7:30) Turner just ripped off a ridiculous run for 45 yards. He bounced off half a dozen tacklers along the way and took advantage of some sloppy Bears tackling. A lot of experts think he could be a productive starting back for somebody, but when a guy like Tomlinson is in front of you on the depth chart, get used to playing special teams ...

(7:34) Nate Kaeding kicks a 43-yard field goal to get the Chargers on the board. Aside from the Turner run, the Bears D was pretty tough. 7-3 Bears with 1:19 left in the first quarter ...

(7:37) It's the Rashied Davis show once again. He just took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for an electrifying touchdown. Davis seemed to disappear in a scrum around the 20-yard line before shooting out of the pack like a bullet and out-racing everyone on his way to paydirt. Looks like Hester will be relegated to punt return duty for a while. And as we speak, some crazed fan in Berwyn is legitimately thinking of drafting the Bears D/ST in the 1st round of his upcoming fantasy draft ...

(7:43) That's the end of the first quarter, sports fans. 14-3 Bears. Grossman said this week that he wanted the first team offense to be on the field for 14 points. But he didn't say whether or not they had to actually produce those 14 points ...

(7:54) Chris Harris comes hard on a blitz and takes Rivers down for an eight-yard sack. He's looking like Mike Brown at that strong safety position already ...

(8:01) Adewale Ogunleye is all over the field on this Chargers drive. He makes a few plays in the backfield and ends the series with a big shot on Rivers that results in an interception ...

(8:08) Grossman & Company go three-and-out, and there are a few boo birds out already. Two ugly throws wrapped around a Peterson run for no gain isn't exactly what the home crowd had in mind. Grossman started 3-of-4 but his missed his last six throws ...

(8:11) Rivers is already out of the game and replaced by rookie Charlie Whitehurst. Ogunleye leveled him in the shoulder pretty good on his last throw, and as he was walking off the field, Rivers wasn't lifting his throwing arm. I can't imagine he was only scheduled to play a quarter-and-a-half, so he might be banged up ...

(8:21) Grossman was looking pretty sharp on this drive and actually hit four in a row, but he forces one to Gabe Reid near the goalline and has it intercepted. There's your infamous gunslinger mentality right there. He needs to keep that under control and only take a shot when the opportunity presents itself ...

(8:30) That's the half as Grossman takes a knee after a 50-yard San Diego punt and subsequent block-in-the-back penalty on the Bears. 14-3 is your score, with Grossman 7-of-14 for 83 yards. Peterson has only 18 yards on seven carries as the running game continues to struggle. The defense also surrendered 98 yards rushing in the first half, so even if you take away the 45-yarder by Turner, the Chargers still ran effectively. Including the Urlacher pick-six, Rivers finishes 9-of-14 for 75 yards, mostly on check-downs to his running backs ...

(8:52) There goes Hester again on a punt return, breaking free and rocketing down the right sideline for a 42-yard return. He's going to be exciting this season, that's for sure ...

(8:58) Brian Griese has already thrown his third touchdown pass of the preseason as he sells a play-fake to P.J. Pope and hits Justin Gage in the end zone on a slant. The Hester punt return and resulting favorable field position obviously helped, but still, Griese got the ball in the end zone. He's getting awfully popular awfully quickly here at Soldier Field. 21-3 Bears ...

(9:06) That's it for Griese already. He's been in there for a grand total of four series in two games and generated three TD drives. Not too shabby. Absolutely nothing has happened to quell the supposed quarterback controversy that is brewing in Chicago. If anything, it's gaining momentum ...

(9:17) Some of the writers are complaining that there aren't any cookies or brownies in the press box. We're a pretty spoiled bunch sometimes. I admit it ...

(9:18) Leon Joe strips the ball away, and Jamar Williams pounces on it for a fumble recovery. Let's see if Orton can capitalize on the favorable field position like Griese did. He starts this drive on the Chargers' 34-yard line.

(9:22) End of the third quarter, still 21-3 Bears ...

(9:24) Pope carry, Orton sack, Pope carry. So much for taking advantage of the field position. But at least Robbie Gould bangs a 49-yard field goal for a 24-3 Bears lead ...

(9:35) Actual attendance for tonight's game is only around 45,000 or so. Kind of surprising. I really thought it would be a bigger number tonight ...

(9:41) Jason Harmon gets a gift interception from Whitehurst, but he loses his mind for a second and falls out of the end zone for some reason. Instead of a touchback and the ball on the 20, Orton will take over at his own 1-yard line.

(9:53) It's two-minute warning time, so I'm off to the interview room to get some soundbites. Be sure to hit BearReport.com tomorrow for all the news and notes from Week 2 of the preseason, plus see who is named the Stud and Dud of the Week.

JC


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