JC's Live Blog: Bears vs. Texans

The NFC champions open the preseason Saturday evening in Houston. Rex Grossman should play about a quarter or so, but Brian Urlacher and Tommie Harris will take the night off altogether. Be sure to refresh this story every now and then for all the goings on at Reliant Stadium. From the field to the sideline to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're a part of the game.

6:05 p.m.
Greetings, Bears fans. It's been more than six months since I've run one of my live game blogs, and although I'd much rather be in Miami than Houston right now, at least my laptop isn't getting splattered with raindrops. Let's see if I can still do one of these things, and hopefully I'll be a little more concise considering my game blog for Super Bowl XLI rivaled War and Peace in terms of length. Too bad it didn't in terms of drama in the actual game ...

6:23 p.m.
As expected, neither Brian Urlacher nor Tommie Harris will suit up tonight. Urlacher missed three consecutive days of training camp this week with the proverbial "general soreness," and the team is being extra cautious with Harris since he's still recovering from last season's hamstring injury. Look for Jamar Williams to get the start at middle linebacker and Darwin Walker to slide over to the three-technique tackle alongside Dusty Dvoracek ...

6:45 p.m.
As for what I'm looking for in tonight's game, how the Bears use Mark Bradley could turn into an interesting development. Although Rashied Davis played well as the slot receiver last year and made some big catches in crunch time, Bradley is bigger, faster, and more explosive and has been getting some snaps in the slot lately. Defensively, I want to see if the safety combination of Mike Brown and Adam Archuleta has any chemistry together. We all know that they can both be effective in the running game, but it remains to be seen if they can defend the deep ball effectively ...

7:03 p.m.
I'm having a hard time believing just how empty the stadium is right now. I understand it's the preseason and this is, well, the Texans, but still. Plenty of Bears fans in attendance, that's for sure ...

7:06 p.m.
The Bears have won the toss and elect to receive, although Davis and Danieal Manning are the deep men as opposed to Devin Hester for some reason ...

7:15 p.m.
I know the Bears came up empty on their opening drive as Robbie Gould missed a 52-yard field goal attempt, but Bears fans should be very happy with what they've seen so far. Rex Grossman is already 7-of-7 throwing the football, including a pair of completions to rookie Greg Olsen. Grossman is delivering the ball quickly and with confidence, probably because he has weapons all over the field and more options than ever ...

7:20 p.m.
The Bears defense holds for a three-and-out on the Texans' first drive, as Charles Tillman breaks up a pass on third down. However, Hester still hasn't perfected his fair-catch decision-making. He lets the punt hit the ground, and it rolls all the way to the Chicago 5-yard line where Grossman & Company will take over ...

7:25 p.m.
The Bears can only pick up one first down on their second drive, but it sure is nice to see Cedric Benson lower his shoulder and crunch a Texans safety for a big-gainer. Seriously, I don't remember Thomas Jones breaking one tackle this season. If Benson stays healthy for 16 games, this rushing attack is not going to miss Jones one bit ...

7:31 p.m.
Tillman is breathing a sigh of relief after getting beaten on a double-move by Kevin Walter. Matt Schaub overshoots him in the back of the end zone and misses out on what should have been an easy touchdown. Kris Brown converts a 37-yarder for a 3-0 Texans lead with 1:44 left in the first quarter ...

7:37 p.m.
Grossman is already wearing a hat on the sideline and done for the night, giving way to Brian Griese. And just as we've seen in training camp, Griese keeps throwing the ball to the wrong guys and is intercepted by Von Hutchins on his first attempt. Anybody want to start that quarterback controversy talk again this season? After Schaub gives way to backup Sage Rosenfels, the Texans are threatening once again. That's the end of the first quarter, still 3-0 Houston ...

7:44 p.m.
There are questions about Mark Anderson and his ability to defend the run, but he makes a pair of good plays to keep the Texans out of the end zone. On 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Anderson pops Ron Dayne for a loss and forces another Brown field goal attempt. He converts again from 20 yards, but the defense deserves a pat on the collective back right there for hanging tough ...

7:23 p.m.
It may not make up for the fact that he will be suspended the first four games of the regular season, but you have to feel good for Obafemi Ayanbadejo right now as he catches a 2-yard touchdown pass from Griese. Nick Novak takes over for Gould and splits the uprights on the extra point for a 7-6 Bears lead. Griese was 4-of-4 on that drive, including two receptions by Bradley and the first on offense for Hester ...

7:56 p.m.
Jerome Mathis returns Gould's kickoff 78 yards all the way to the Chicago 24-yard line, but again the defense does its job. Alex Brown gets good pressure on Rosenfels on second down to force an incompletion. Kris Brown is good again, this time from 42 yards, reclaiming the lead for Houston 9-7 ...

8:01 p.m.
Three-and-out for the Bears this time around, although Griese did deliver a good ball to John Gilmore on second down. Rookie Trumaine McBride does a beautiful job in punt coverage, dropping Jacoby Jones for a 4-yard loss on the return. Texans ball at their own 16 midway through the second quarter ...

8:06 p.m.
Another good series for the Bears on defense, this time mostly with second-teamers out there. McBride makes a good play on second down stripping a would-be completion away from Charlie Adams. On 3rd-and-10, Danieal Manning delivers a nice hit on David Anderson to stop him dead in his tracks ...

8:09 p.m.
Three quarterbacks already for the Bears. Kyle Orton takes over for Griese but can't get anything going his first series. Get your rosters ready because you're not going to recognize many of these names the rest of the night ...

8:26 p.m.
Brown kicks his fourth field goal of the first half after a very long drive by the Texans. Danieal Manning got abused on a double-move by Jones that resulted in an illegal contact penalty, so he's still got some work to do if he wants to contribute at cornerback in addition to his duties at safety. That's the end of the first half, 12-7 Texans after 30 minutes of action ...

8:42 p.m.
The Texans will start the second half on offense as Novak gets set for the kickoff ...

8:46 p.m.
The Texans may lead 12-7, but they are yet to convert on third down. The Bears have played pretty well on defense so far, forcing another three-and-out right there. Drisan James makes a rookie mistake by not fielding the ensuing punt, costing his offense some precious field position ...

8:53 p.m.
Orton makes a poor throw looking for Mike Hass deep down the right sideline, but Bears quarterbacks are still 16-of-23 combined on the evening so far. Garrett Wolfe is getting his first look in the backfield, picking up nine yards on his first two carries. Joel Stelly will be the punter the rest of the night taking over for Brad Maynard, shanking his first effort like he has many times in training camp thus far ...

9:04 p.m.
Touchdown Texans as Rosenfels hits Jeb Putzier from six yards out after a beautiful play-action fake. It's now 19-7 as Houston has scored 13 straight points. Chicago has its third-teamers out there right now, so if you ever want a chance to see the likes of Chris Frome and Justin Frick in a Bears uniform, now's your chance ...

9:14 p.m.
The Bears finally get a turnover as Wali Lundy fumbles the ball on a draw play. Israel Idonije pounces on it, finally giving the offense some breathing room in terms of field position. Orton trots back into the huddle after a 3-of-8 start ...

9:18 p.m.
On the final play of the third quarter, Orton stands firm in the pocket and gets absolutely drilled but still finds Brandon Rideau for a 17-yard completion over the middle. The Bears will open the final stanza with a first down at the Texans' 11-yard line after a roughing-the-passer penalty is tacked onto the gain. That was some throw by Orton, who's had a very good camp ...

9:21 p.m.
Orton hits rookie Fontel Mines for the touchdown from three yards out. The Texans still lead 19-14, but the Bears have to be happy with their passing offense right about now. 13 different players have caught a pass in this ballgame tonight, led by Gilmore with four receptions ...

9:33 p.m.
Rookie Kevin Payne will never have an easier chance for an interception in his NFL career, but he simply drops it. Bradlee Van Pelt airmails a throw that goes directly to Payne, and he is so surprised to see the football coming right at him that he just forgets to catch it. He might have returned it the distance too considering how much open room was in front of him, plus remember he was a pretty good running back for two seasons in college ...

9:45 p.m.
Orton has a streak of 12 consecutive completions broken, but he still puts together a good drive. Gould is good from 44 yards out to cut the Texans' lead down to 19-17. Wolfe caught a few passes and had a couple good runs on the march. Now 16 different receivers have caught a pass tonight for the Bears, an incredible number even in the preseason ...

9:49 p.m.
Now James tries to field a punt that he should have let go instead of the other way around like before, and he just about gets decapitated in the process ...

9:54 p.m.
Just before the two-minute warning, the Bears convert a 4th-and-1 after getting a gift running-into-the-kicker penalty. Luckily for Stelly, his 23-yard punt is erased from the record. Josh Allen keeps the drive alive with a 4-yard gain as Orton will try to win this game in the closing moments ...

10:02 p.m.
Gould is the hero of the moment, drilling a 47-yard field goal for a 20-19 Bears lead with just 36 seconds left. David Ball comes up with the big play on the scoring drive, a 20-yard catch and run on a 2nd-and-19 play after a sack of Orton. The Texans will have 32 seconds to work with, but they're out of timeouts ...

10:06 p.m.
And that's the game, Bears fans, as Idonije sacks Van Pelt to end the threat and preserves a 20-19 triumph.

Be sure to visit BearReport.com for all the analysis, all the insight, and all the latest from Houston as the Bears open their exhibition season 1-0.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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