JC's Live Game Blog: Bears vs. Cardinals

Your Bear Report Editor in Chief had so much fun running his live game blog from Soldier Field last Friday night, he decided to make it a weekly feature. Be sure to refresh this page every 10 to 15 minutes for all the latest transgressions as the Bears take on the Arizona Cardinals. From the field to the stands to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're there.

(6:35) Good evening, Bears fans. I'm coming to you live from inside the press box at Soldier Field, where the taco bar is a huge disappointment, but thankfully, the cookies are a smashing success. These things matter and can make a noticeable difference in my writing performance, believe me ...

(6:46) The Bears have a rather lengthy list of inactives tonight. Mike Brown, Nathan Vasher, Cedric Benson, Bryan Johnson, Terrence Metcalf, Mark Anderson, Alex Bannister, Ian Scott, Michael Haynes, and Tank Johnson. No major surprises there. Although it's getting dangerously close to the worry zone for Brown ...

(6:47) The Cardinals have a few notable absences this evening. Linebacker Karlos Dansby and defensive end Bertrand Berry are out of the lineup. Of the other seven players inactive tonight, I've never heard of any of them. And I write about the NFL for a living. Now that's saying something ...

(6:58) Thomas Jones did some serious dancing coming out of the tunnel when he was introduced, so one would have to deduce that his hamstring is 100%. I'm expecting some serious energy out of him tonight. He has a chance to put a stranglehold on the tailback job considering how bizarre the Benson soap opera has become ...

(7:03) Arizona wins the toss and will receive ...

(7:05) Robbie Gould's kickoff was received by J.J. Arrington a yard deep in his the end zone. Further proof that his leg is stronger than last year ...

(7:09) 3rd-and-22 deep in Arizona territory, but Kurt Warner hits Anquan Boldin on a corner route for 23 yards and a first down. I'm telling you, Warner is my sleeper fantasy QB pick of the year. Rick Mirer could throw 25 TD passes if he had Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in the starting lineup ...

(7:13) Alex Brown sprained his right shoulder in the first series and is out for the rest of the game. Not a good sign. Get Jamaal Green up in the bullpen ...

(7:21) Robbie Gould bangs a 49-yard field goal as Rex Grossman completes 5-of-7 passes on his first drive. 3-0 Bears. Even the two incompletions were acceptable. One was dropped by Muhsin Muhammad, and the other was thrown to the pylon on an out-and-up to Muhammad before he came out of his break. Good start for the first-team offense ...

(7:26) Big sack by Adewale Ogunleye for a 9-yard loss. He's been in the backfield for two straight weeks now. Warner apparently didn't work on his mobility this past offseason ...

(7:29) Dante Wesley obliterates Warner on a 3rd-and-10 corner blitz. Once again, the defense surrenders some yards between the 20's but clamps down and forces a punt. And as far as Warner being a fantasy stud this year, be sure to grab a dependable backup. He's going to miss a few starts, of course. I've seen molasses move uphill faster than this guy ...

(7:40) That's the end of the first quarter, 3-0 Bears. Grossman is 6-of-9 for 47 yards, but Jones dropped one just like Muhammad did. Jones has just nine yards on three carries. Warner is 5-of-8 for 65 yards, including two long third down conversions. Edgerrin James has minus-two yards on three carries ...

(7:47) Israel Idonije apparently sprained an ankle, and his return is questionable. It's a preseason game. He's not coming back ...

(7:54) Warner feathers a beautiful goalline throw to rookie tight end Leonard Pope for a Cardinals touchdown. 7-3 Arizona. See? If the Bears had drafted Pope this past April, they'd still be leading this game. That was a 7:08 drive helped out by two defensive penalties ...

(8:13) Another easy field goal for Robbie Gould, this time from 39 yards. He's another candidate to be a fantasy sleeper this season. The kid has been just about automatic since training camp started ...

(8:17) Golden Boy rookie Matt Leinart takes over for Warner. He was all over the place last week. Although he just hit Boldin for seven yards and a first down on his first attempt ...

(8:20) Devin Hester fields a booming 56-yard Scott Player punt and creates a little excitement on a 19-yard return. Although he probably should have let this one hit the ground again. Probably would have been a touchback ...

(8:30) Looks like head coach Lovie Smith is pulling the field goal team off and re-inserting the offense on 4-and-1 from the Arizona 15 with 1:00 left in the second quarter. They run the misdirection pitch to Adrian Peterson, but he never had a chance and was fortunate to only lose a yard on the play. I'm fine with it. It's the preseason. Go for it every time. You know Gould can kick a 27-yarder. See if your offense can make a play ...

(8:37) Neil Rackers ends the first half with a 49-yard field goal and a 10-6 Cardinals lead. Leinart led Arizona 54 yards in 55 seconds for the score. Grossman-haters need to look a little harder since the former Gator finished the half 13-of-18 for 117 yards, although Jones only gained three yards on four carries. They are struggling on the ground again, managing just 32 yards on 10 carries as a team, and that includes a 14-yard end-around by Rashied Davis. The Bears defense was carved apart by both Warner and Leinart, who combined to go 15-of-20 for 134 yards and a TD through the air ...

(8:54) After taking an awful 13-yard sack, Grossman forces another throw and has it picked off at his own 42-yard line. Here come the boobirds again. Understandable this time, but Grossman was pretty good in the first half ...

(9:02) Leinart drives the Cards right down the field again and hits Bryant Johnson for a 4-yard touchdown pass and a 17-6 Arizona lead. The former Trojan looks fantastic tonight. He's currently 11-of-13 for 100 yards and has led two scoring drives already ...

(9:13) Tommie Harris just got called for a 15-yard taunting penalty after the Cards failed to convert on a 3rd-and-11 play. It's officially starting to unravel for the Bears. And these officials are starting to complain of tennis elbow from throwing all these flags tonight ...

(9:17) Nick Novak blasts another Cards field goal, 50 yards this time, for a gift three points and a 20-6 Arizona lead ...

(9:19) Brian Griese enters the game to a stirring round of applause from the Grossman boobirds. Grossman was 0-for-3 with a pick in the third quarter. Although Griese hears no boos as the offense goes three-and-out on his first series ...

(9:30) That's the end of the third quarter, 20-6 Cards. Grossman has played about six quarters in the preseason, and he is yet to lead a touchdown drive. His numbers are much better tonight, but as Brian Urlacher told me in the locker room this week, "Yards don't win games ... points win games." ...

(9:39) Novak boots another Arizona field goal, this one from just 19 yards out, for a 23-6 Cards lead. Lots of people headed for the exits right now. Pretty disappointing performance on both sides of the ball so far ...

(9:44) Hey, it's a Mark Bradley sighting. Griese hits him on a deep-in for a 33-yard gain. One play later, we actually have an Airese Currie appearance as he makes a catch for 12 yards and another first down ...

(9:48) Griese throws his fourth TD pass of the preseason (to his fourth different receiver, rookie fullback J.D. Runnels) from one yard out on a first-down play-fake. For those of you who were looking for more answers in this supposed quarterback controversy, all we have is more questions. Griese could run for mayor right now in this town, although it's still 23-13 Arizona ...

(9:50) 49,486 is the official attendance this evening, better than last week, but still not what the organization had hoped ...

(9:59) Newly-signed defensive lineman Delbert Cowsette just had a great series on defense, culminating with a sack of Leinart on 3rd-and-6 ...

(10:01) "Griese! Griese! Griese!" ...

(10:05) Gould enters the game to a chorus of boos, although they're directed at coach Smith for not going for it on fourth down from the 9-yard line. They need two scores any way you slice it, people. Gould converts from 27 yards and cuts the Cards lead to 23-16 ...

(10:14) And that's the game, folks. Leinart takes a knee on 2nd-and-goal and puts this one in the history books, 23-16 Cardinals. You've been beaten over the head about the importance of the third preseason game, but this is not the kind of performance the Bears had in mind. Grossman played well early but faltered late, plus the running game still can't get going. Both Warner and Leinart picked apart the Bears secondary, so pass defense has to be a concern right now with Brown and Vasher out of the lineup ...

That wraps another live game blog for me. I'm off to the locker room to find out just what in the Sam Hill happened tonight. Be sure to cruise over to Bear Report tomorrow for all the analysis.

JC


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