JC's Gameday Blog: Giants vs. Bears

With the starters expected to play into the second quarter, Saturday's preseason game should give fans a better look at the '09 Chicago Bears. For an insider's take on all the activity inside the Soldier Field press box, be sure to visit JC's Gameday Blog following every quarter for all the news and notes.

Fourth Quarter Recap: Bears 17, Giants 3

9:55 p.m.

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What was an entertaining first half on both sides of the football quickly turned into a difficult-to-watch second half, as few of the reserves for either team did much to get noticed.

Getting significant work with the second team, which doesn't bode well for third stringer Brett Basanez, Caleb Hanie competed 10 of 18 passes for 120 yards and yet again showed great mobility both in and out of the pocket. Like the preseason opener in Buffalo, the reserve offensive line did not put together a very good performance. Backup tackles Kevin Shaffer and Cody Balogh were both whistled for holding.

In a fight to make the 53-man roster despite the fact that he was a free-agent signing in the offseason, Josh Bullocks helped himself by recording a sack in the third quarter and then breaking up a fourth-down pass in the final period to kill a Giants drive. Three defensive players were injured on the evening: linebacker Jamar Williams (ankle), tackle Dusty Dvoracek (knee) and cornerback Marcus Hamilton (neck). Dvoracek in particular can ill afford another health issue since his future in Chicago is cloudy at best.

And that's the ballgame, folks, as the Bears defeat the Giants 17-3 and have to be happy with the starting offensive and defensive units right about now.


Third Quarter Recap: Bears 17, Giants 3

9:14 p.m.

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With the starting units for both teams all done for the night, it was a rather uneventful third period at Soldier Field for the most part.

Once again, Rashied Davis has to be wondering about his job security right about now since he's not making the kind of plays both Brandon Rideau and Devin Aromashodu are. Davis caught one ball for only 3 yards in the third quarter, while Aromashodu made that pretty 38-yard grab early on and Rideau converted a 3rd-and-17 with 20 yards off a slant pass right before halftime. To make things worse for Davis, rookie Juaquin Iglesias looked sharp with a 23-yard catch-and-run from Caleb Hanie midway through the third stanza.

As for the defense, another veteran that might have some trouble going to sleep Saturday night is Mark Anderson. While he did put heavy pressure on David Carr and essentially gift-wrapped a sack for Josh Bullocks coming on the safety blitz, he was called for an offside penalty when he guessed wrong on the snap count and still isn't making any impact whatsoever defending the run. Dusty Dvoracek was credited with a sack and added to a personal highlight reel that could use a few more positive plays.

Since neither team dented the scoreboard in the third quarter, we head to the final period with the Bears still leading the Giants 17-3.


Second Quarter Recap: Bears 17, Giants 3

8:24 p.m.

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Jay Cutler was only on the field for three series Saturday at Soldier Field, which is actually one fewer than last week at Ralph Wilson Stadium, but he already walks on Lake Michigan in the eyes of Bears fans around the Windy City.

After a 23-yard pass interference on third down got the drive started, Cutler moved the chains again with a 12-yard keeper up the middle when none of his receivers was able to break open downfield. Looking to make a roster spot, Devin Aromashodu laid out to make a gorgeous 38-yard catch on a fade route all the way down to the New York 1-yard line. Just a play later, Cutler recorded his first touchdown pass in a Midway Monster uniform, finding Desmond Clark with an easy floater off play action.

On the other side of the football, the defense got put in a really bad position when Kevin Jones followed up a tough 9-yard run with a careless fumble on the very next snap. But the Bears held firm and only allowed a 42-yard field goal attempt from Lawrence Tynes, who promptly split the uprights. For the second week in a row, Corey Graham is having success putting pressure on the enemy passer by blitzing from his nickel back position.

Backup quarterback Caleb Hanie had a 13-yard touchdown scramble just before intermission nullified when Kevin Shaffer was whistled for holding, but the Bears still head to the locker room with a 17-3 lead.


First Quarter Recap: Bears 10, Giants 0

7:43 p.m.

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After a debut that left nobody impressed a week ago in Buffalo, Jay Cutler and the starting offense put up 10 points the first two times they had the football.

Robbie Gould got the Bears on the scoreboard first with a 44-yard field goal, thanks in large part to a 27-yard pitch and catch from Cutler to Earl Bennett. Then after a New York punt, Matt Forte got the drive started with a 17-yard run and followed that up with a 32-yard burst up the middle all the way to paydirt. After sitting out last week in Buffalo, Forte looks great so far with 53 yards and a score already on just seven carries.

Defensively, the Monsters of the Midway are having a hard time bringing down Brandon Jacobs, who is a mountain of a man at running back and a punishing ball carrier. Jacobs trucked Brian Urlacher on two occasions in the first quarter and also flattened impressive rookie Al Afalava once, although newcomer Pisa Tinoisamoa has been aggressive and wrestled Jacobs to the turf near the line of scrimmage twice. While Alex Brown got to Eli Manning on third down and stripped the ball loose, the Giants recovered and punted to end the opening stanza.

15 minutes into the action along Lake Michigan, the Midway Monsters hold a 10-0 lead over the G-Men.


Pregame Notes: Cutler at Soldier Field

5:55 p.m.

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Provided you don't count Family Day two weeks ago, and you shouldn't, Saturday's exhibition matchup against Eli Manning and the G-Men will be the first opportunity for Jay Cutler to play in front of the Soldier Field faithful.

Following a disappointing 5-of-10 debut in Buffalo last week that included an inexcusable interception thrown into double coverage, Bears fans are restless and ready to see their first franchise quarterback in over half a century live up to his can't-miss reputation. Fortunately for Cutler, he'll have perhaps his two best weapons at his disposal after being forced to do without them versus the Bills: tailback Matt Forte and tight end Greg Olsen. Expected to play well into the second quarter, Cutler and Co. need to put some points on the board and give all the freaking-out fanatics out there reason to sleep well tonight.

Defensively, the front four will welcome back Tommie Harris, who was held out of the preseason opener as a precautionary measure. The secondary, on the other hand, is a M*A*S*H unit with corners Charles Tillman and Zack Bowman joining safety Danieal Manning in street clothes for the second straight week. Four different Buffalo QBs combined to complete 85.3 percent of their passes, and none of them was named Manning.

It's a gorgeous night for footbal in the best summer city in the country, so sit back, relax and let Bear Report tell you what's really going on along Lake Michigan from inside the press box.


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John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report 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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