The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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August 26, 2013

Bears see good signs on offense

OAKLAND, Calif. — Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears look ready to start the season. The Oakland Raiders look ready for a quarterback controversy.

Cutler led five first-half scoring drives, Matt Forte gained 109 yards from scrimmage and the Bears beat the Raiders 34-26 on Friday night in the final big dress rehearsal for the NFL regular season.

“It was a good outing for everybody, but it is preseason,” Cutler said. “You can’t get caught up in that. I don’t think we can get too high on this game. We made some mistakes, and we need to go back and look at them. But it’s a good barometer of where we’re at and where we can go.”

There were three especially positive signs for the Bears on offense.

For the second straight week, the Raiders were unable to stop the opposing team’s first offense.

After allowing Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints to score on all five drives a week ago, the Raiders let Cutler and the Bears move the ball with ease this week.

Chicago scored on its first four drives this game before the Raiders finally came up with a stop midway through the second quarter. The Bears added a late field goal, meaning starting quarterbacks have scored on nine of the past 10 drives against Oakland’s defense.

Cutler also found someone open besides Brandon Marshall.

The Bears have been on a search for a legitimate second option in the passing game after Marshall caught 119 passes and was targeted on more than 40 percent of Chicago’s throws a year ago.

Cutler threw all five of his passes last week to Marshall but spread the ball around more this week. His favorite target was second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery, who had seven catches for 77 yards.

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