CHICAGO — Jay Cutler targeted Brandon Marshall and no one else. He zipped a pass into double coverage, only to get intercepted.
The new and supposedly improved offense stagnated and the defense made up for it.
Same old Chicago Bears? On the surface, it sure seemed like it.
Cutler looked shaky again and the defense came through, harassing Philip Rivers early on and setting the tone for the Bears in a 33-28 preseason victory over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night.
All eyes remain on the quarterback after the Bears made some big changes on offense in the offseason, hiring coach Marc Trestman to replace Lovie Smith and revising their line.
So far, the results are mixed at best.
“There are certain plays we’re running for the first time against a live defense other than the Bears’,” Cutler said. “There are certain things you just have to experience. Sometimes you make mistakes, and sometimes it’s going to go off without a hitch. When I was in Denver, we ran that offense for three years. Year 3, I think all of us had a great grasp of it. We don’t have that luxury right now.”
Cutler played a quarter and completed 4 of 5 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown, but the only receiver he targeted was Marshall, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery and sat out last week.
Field position played a role in that, as did the Bears not wanting to show too much of their playbook. Still, that’s not a good sign for a team that wants to distribute the ball more evenly this year.
On a more positive note for the Bears’ offense, Matt Forte ran for 74 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts after carrying just once in a loss at Carolina in the preseason opener.