Bears Take a Step Back, Lose to Cards 23-16

We've been hearing all week that the third preseason game is by the far the most important, and to some people, the only one that truly matters. If that's the case, then the Bears are moving ever so close to Defcon 1. The first-team offense still can't put the ball in the end zone, and the starting defense looked beatable in a 23-16 exhibition loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Rex Grossman is still trying to prove that he was worthy of a first-round selection three years ago, but it's taken Matt Leinart less than three weeks.

Leinart took over for Kurt Warner in the second quarter and completed 15-of-21 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown to lead the Arizona Cardinals over the Chicago Bears 23-16 in preseason action Friday night.

He entered the huddle in the second quarter and completed 12 consecutive passes at one point, leading the Cardinals on a lightning-quick field goal drive at the end of the first half and throwing a touchdown pass early in the third quarter.

Leinart completed all six passes as the Cardinals drove 54 yards in the final 55 seconds of the half, with Neil Rackers splitting the uprights and extending the Arizona advantage to 10-6.

After a solid first half, Rex Grossman was intercepted by Anrel Rolle on his first possession of the third quarter. Leinart went 4-for-4 on the ensuing drive and hit Bryant Johnson for a TD pass from four yards out that made it 17-6.

Warner was effective while he was one the field, as well, hitting 8-of-11 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown of his own to rookie tight end Leonard Pope.

Grossman was 13-of-18 for 117 yards in the first half but 0-of-3 with that interception in the second. The fourth-year QB had hoped to put some distance between himself and second-stringer Brian Griese, but by the end of the game, that was not the case.

Griese proved once again that the backup QB is always the most popular guy in town, entering the game midway through the third quarter to a chorus of cheers. He proceeded to go 10-of-14 for 131 yards and a touchdown to rookie fullback J.D. Runnels.

Bears running back Thomas Jones, seeing his first game action since returning from a bum hamstring, managed only three yards on four carries. He also dropped a pass as a receiver out of the backfield. His running back rival, Cedric Benson again rested his sprained left shoulder and did not play.

After completing just 10-of-25 passes for 130 yards in his first two games, Grossman connected on his first five and led his offense to an early field goal, the starting unit's first points of the preseason.

The Cardinals took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter, with Warner's 4-yard pass to Pope in the back of the end zone highlighting a 67-yard drive.

Chicago's Robbie Gould kicked his second field goal, this time a 39-yarder, with about five minutes to go in the half to make it 7-6. He trotted onto the field and lined up for a 32-yarder with 1:00 left in the second quarter, but the Bears called a timeout and decided to go for it on 4th-and-1. Adrian Peterson fooled no one on a misdirection toss, however, and got smashed in the backfield.

Leinart, a late-signer after a contract holdout, looked flustered last week against the Patriots, passing for just 45 yards in his professional debut. But he found Larry Fitzgerald for a 27-yard strike that helped set up a Rackers field goal. Leinart's 4-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson made it 17-6 early in the third.

Tonight was supposed to be the night that the Bears started to provide some answers. But after their second disappointing performance in three exhibition games, this club only has more questions. Last year's strong running game can't get into second gear, a supposedly suffocating defense is giving up yards in chunks, and we are inching ever so close to a full-blown quarterback controversy.

And with the starting lineup expected to play very little next week in Cleveland, it looks like we'll have to wait until opening day at Lambeau field to get those questions answered.


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