The Chicago Bears lost to the Cincinnati Bengals Thursday night 30-27 in their second pre-season game of 2018.
The starters played a good portion of the first quarter and there were both good and bad moments for the first team in the time that were out there. It’s still early in the preseason so there’s not really a good enough sample size to make any final decisions but there were some interesting things to note from the game.
Here are the three takeaways from the Bengals game:
Matt Nagy may be too confident in his offense
The starting offense only played for two series before being replaced by the second unit. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky only completed two of four pass attempts for just four yards. The two series also included a sack, holding penalty, a bad shotgun snap, and dropped pass by wide receiver Kevin White. Running back Jordan Howard did not play and his backup Tarik Cohen was only the field for just one series. Wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel did not play either due injury and precaution.
It is interesting that Nagy did not have the starting offense out there for at least one more series given that they are still learning a new playbook. Nagy’s offense utilizes passes to the running back, but neither Howard or Cohen saw any targets or even rushing attempts. Although it is pre-season, it is interesting not to see more reps used for a young and inexperienced offense that features a lot of players playing together for the first time.
The most important players on the defense made plays
The Bears starting defense did not look good look good in the three series they were on the field as they allowed the Bengals offense to score touchdowns on two of the three drives. Even with the struggles, the Bears defensive playmakers did flash which was really important to see.
Defensive back Kyle Fuller returned an interception for a touchdown after jumping a route on a ball thrown early by quarterback Andy Dalton.
Dalton hurried the throw as Leonard Floyd created some pressure off the edge, forcing the quarterback to throw it sooner than he would have liked. The two things the Bears want to improve on defensively is creating pressure and taking the ball away. Fuller is seen as the best defensive back on the Bears and his ability to create turnover was huge. Even bigger was Floyd’s ability to rush the passer especially after returning from a knee injury that ended his 2017 season early.
Ryan Pace’s 2018 draft class could shape up to be huge win
Both the Bears 2018 second round draft picks made their NFL debuts in Thursday night’s game. Wide receiver Anthony Miller recorded a catch for minimal gain and guard James Daniels impressed in his time. Miller has been the talk of training camp for his potential to be superstar due to his talent ability. He will get more of a chance to flash in the team’s third and fourth pre-season when the starters play deeper into the game.
Daniels played from the mid-second quarter to deep into the second half and stood out in both pass and run blocking. This was key as he did not play in the Ravens game and has worked with the second and third units throughout training camp. He is expected to be a starter sooner rather than later due to his high draft selection.
Pace’s first-round selection in linebacker Roquan Smith continued his holdout missing his second game. He was presence was missed as linebacker John Timu struggled as he got beat in coverage by wide receiver A.J. Green on a big pass reception.
Later, He missed a tackle on running back Joe Mixon allowing him to score a touchdown. Timu’s struggles highlight what the Bears drafted Smith for which is his speed in coverage and his excellent tackling ability.