Breaking down the Bears’ 30-27 preseason loss to the Bengals on Thursday in Cincinnati.
Three moments that mattered
1 Guard Kyle Long only played one series, but it’s a positive sign after the Bears were extremely cautious with him to start training camp. Long has played in only 18 games over the past two seasons, and he played at less than
100 percent for most of, if not all, of 2017.
2 Former first-round pick Kevin White had a chance to make a good impression with Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel sitting out. Instead, White flat out dropped the only catchable ball thrown his way. He’s likely to make the roster regardless of his preseason performance, but it would be nice to see him show something.
3 All of the Bears’ projected Week 1 starters who played came off the field healthy. We’re still a month away from the regular season, and the Bears have made it through two meaningless games without a major injury.
Three things that worked
1 Kyle Fuller doing Kyle Fuller things. There’s no shame if a small part of you worried Fuller’s 2017 breakout was a fluke. His transformation still is hard to believe, but he once again showcased his ability to break on the football with a pick-six in the first quarter.
2 Adam Shaheen working over the middle. It was clear that the 6-foot-5 tight end was going to be a project when the Bears selected him out of Ashland University in the 2017 draft. Maybe Shaheen is ready to bust out in his second pro season because he sure looked comfortable splitting out wide and running routes over the middle Thursday. He hauled in three passes for 53 yards.
3 James Daniels shows potential. The rookie lineman sat out last week’s Hall of Fame Game but played center with the second unit against the Bengals. Daniels, a second-round selection, showed why some analysts had pegged him as a first-rounder with a great block on Taquan Mizzell’s 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Three things that didn’t
1 Tackling Joe Mixon. OK, it’s early August, and tackling mechanics are going to be rusty. With that being said, watching linebacker John Timu and safety Adrian Amos fail to even force Mixon out of bounds on his 24-yard touchdown catch and run still was rough.
2 Moving the ball early. Keeping in mind that the first-team offense ran only eight plays, the line didn’t perform particularly well. Bengals DT Geno Atkins absolutely blew past Eric Kush for a sack, Cody Whitehair was flagged for holding, and Bobby Massie was beaten inside on a run block that resulted in a tackle for loss. The Bears’ first team finished with minus-1 yard.
3 Perfecting the RPO. Quarterbacks often mention getting comfortable with the mesh spots as one of the most difficult aspects of using RPOs. That showed Thursday as Mitch Trubisky and Mizzell clearly weren’t on the same page on a run play that resulted in a 2-yard loss.
The Bears head to Denver to take on the Broncos on Aug. 18. After only playing two series against the Bengals, expect the starters to play close to a full quarter against Denver.
– Kyle Nabors