Halfway Home

The Bears dominated the first half shutting out Jacksonville 13-0, but 24-second half points by the Jags dropped the Bears to 1-2 with a 24-16 loss.

Still, Chicago can take solace in the return of Marcus Robinson. The receiver in his first game back in approximately ten months made an immediate impact. Robinson caught four balls for 55 yards including a 26-yard TD catch from Chris Chandler.

"We just wanted to get him (Robinson) on the field, so it was really good to see catch the ball and move it downfield."

"Every week he's gotten better. When we made the decision that he would play I though he even stepped it up another notch. If we have him healthy I think we're pretty solid at that position."

Injuries to starters Roosevelt Colvin and Marty Booker limited their playing time, but neither injury is considered serious. Colvin left the game with a left shoulder sprain. Booker bruised his ribs and was held out for precautionary reasons.

Starting quarterback Jim Miller went completed five of ten passes for 23 yards. It was backup Chris Chandler that stood out throwing for 80 yards on 6/7 passing. He led the Bears on two scoring drives.

The third string quarterback competition didn't become any clearer following Friday night's game. Both Henry Burris and Ken Mastrole turned over the ball in the loss.

Jauron said he wanted the players to settle the debate with their play, but that wasn't the case against Jacksonville.

"No, they never try to make things easy for us I guess," Jauron said. "They both have little experience and when they get on the field it shows."

Two penalties for 35 yards led to Bears getting on the board with a 38-yard field goal by Paul Edinger, which hit the left upright then bounced off and over the crossbar for 3-0 advantage. Chicago had a 10-yard touchdown pass from Miller to Dez White called back because of a holding penalty on Bernard Robertson.

The Bears continued to pressure opposing quarterbacks. After totaling 8 sacks last week against St. Louis, Chicago took down Mark Brunell twice on the opening possession. Bryan Robinson and Phillip Daniels each sacked the veteran QB forcing a three and out.

The defense forced Jacksonville into four consecutive three and outs, in which the offense ran 12 plays for just 20 yards.

Chicago tacked on three more points by being aggressive on first down. Chandler completed an 11-yard screen pass to Anthony Thomas to end the first quarter. Then a 16-yard completion to David Terrell over the middle moved the ball inside the Jacksonville 35.

Although, Edinger hit the upright for a second straight time his 45-yard field goal capped an eight-play 43-yard drive giving the Bears a 6-0 lead minutes into the second quarter.

The Jags didn't get a first down until their fifth drive. A 32-yard catch by Darnay Scott moved the chains with less than 11 minutes left in the half.

Rookie QB David Garrard inserted for Brunell, who completed just three of nine passes for 42 yards. Jacksonville got their deepest penetration of the night via the ground attack. However, on third on three Mike Green made a diving interception after Jerry Azumah deflected the ball up in the air.

The turnover seemed to spark the Bears offense.

Chandler hooked up with a leaping Marcus Robinson on a 14-yard reception. The following play Leon Johnson cut an inside handoff outside and sprinted down the sideline for 29 yards, which brought the game to the two-minute warning. Chandler came back out firing going back to Robinson for six yards and then to TE Fred Baxter for seven yards. With the clock running Chandler calmly got the offense to the line of scrimmage and dropped back to pass throwing a lob toward the endzone that Robinson hauled in for a 26-yard TD pass. The five-yard 83-yard drive took just 1:26 and gave the Bears a 13-0 lead.

Chandler completed all of four of his attempts on the drive for 54 yards. Robinson accounted for the majority of the production catching three balls for 46 yards including the 26-yard score.

The Jaguars looked like they would breakup the Bears shutout bid with a late score before the half. A 38-yard pass from Garrard to WR Patrick Johnson moved the ball the Chicago 42. On the following play Garrard went to RB Stacey Mack for 17-yards. With time running out the Bears forced Jacksonville to try a 40-yard field goal, but rookie placekicker Hayden Epstein missed the attempt wide right.

The majority of the Bears defensive starters began the third quarter.

The Jags moved the ball to open the second half. A 21-yard reception by Scott moved the ball near midfield. Then on third and short Mack broke free for a 32-yard gain brining the ball to the Bears 15. A pass interference penalty on Reggie Austin gave Jacksonville first and goal at the three. A play following a Mack fumble, which Jacksonville recovered at the six, Garrard found Bobby Shaw in the back of the endzone.

The rookie QB led the Jags on an eight-play 75-yard drive to get the visitors back in the game at 13-7.

With Burris in the game the Bears began with their best field position of the game starting at the Jags 47. However, the offense failed to take advantage of the shorten field. A 53-yard field goal try by Edinger went wide right, but had enough distance to make it.

The missed field goal gave the Jaguars excellent field position at their 43. On third and 15 Garrard threw a 32-yard strike to WR Damon Gibson, which put the ball at the Bears 29. Four plays later Epstein hit a 45-yard field goal to cut the Chicago lead to 13-10 late in the third quarter.

Mastrole took the field on the ensuing drive. The undrafted rookie, who is battling for the third QB job, completed a third down pass to David Terrell for 13 yards putting the Bears in Jacksonville territory. The drive stalled and Chicago punted the ball away, but a running into the kicker penalty setup a 4th and 1 situation. Jauron sent Mastrole back on the field. He completed a screen to fellow rookie WR Jamin Elliot for a six-yard gain and a first down. A false start on Dustin Lyman slowed the Chicago momentum. Mastrole was sacked, which forced the Bears to go for another field goal. Edinger connected from 50 yards to extend the lead to 16-10.

Although, the six-point lead was short lived. Jacksonville was aided by a questionable roughing the passer call on Joe Tafoya in which he glanced Garrard's helmet. The 15-yard infraction moved the ball past midfield. Where the young QB took advantage of Roosevelt Williams, who made his first preseason appearance, on a 32-yard TD lob past the rookie to Henry Douglas.

Jacksonville claimed their first lead of the game at 17-16 with 7:35 left in the game.

On the following drive rookie receiver Edell Shepherd dropped a Burris pass that would have converted a 3rd and 15.

However, the Bears defense kept the Jaguars from running out the clock.

Mastrole came in trailing 17-16 with just over three minutes left to go and the chance to be the hero in consecutive games. But, a backside blitz by Jaguars LB Wali Rainer caused Mastrole to fumble and DE Javor Mills fell on the ball in the endzone.

Trailing 24-16 Jauron continued to rotate quarterbacks meaning Burris got another opportunity. Kenny Christian bobbled a Burris pass, which CB Kiwaukee Thomas made a one-handed leaping interception ending any chance for a last minute come from behind victory.

The Bears will have Saturday off before going back to work Sunday.

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