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Bears Mon Aug 20 2012
It took just one offensive play on Saturday night for Bears fans to realize the potential that an elite receiver has when paired with a great quarterback. The pass was a beautiful spiral in the face of oncoming pressure to a guy that broke press coverage with no safety helping over the top to the tune of a 41-yard gain. Welcome to Chicago, Brandon Marshall.
The first team offense and defense clicked on all cylinders through 25 minutes of play, and spotted the Bears to a 17-3 lead before ceding to the reserves. Despite a late barrage of touchdowns from Michigan State product Kirk Cousins to give the Redskins the lead, the Bears managed to pull out a victory behind a 57-yard line drive field goal from Robbie Gould in the closing minute.
With the starters appearing ready, the only reason the Bears are happy to have two more weeks of preseason action is to allow for some key players time to recover.
Brian Urlacher continued to sit out while recovering from a knee surgery midweek (along with some emotional recovery time with what I'm sure is a hard breakup with Jenny McCarthy). Major Wright was back in action after leaving last week's game vs Denver early, and his importance became magnified when safeties Chris Conte (shoulder) and Brandon Hardin (head/neck) both left early and didn't return. The severity of their injuries is still unknown, but Hardin was taken to the hospital and remained there for observation before being released Sunday morning.
The most football-significant injury occurred in the second quarter during a punt return TD for Washington when punter Adam Podlesh came up limp trying to chase down Brandon Banks due to a strained left hip. It sounds like he'll be just fine, but he may be held out of the final preseason games as a precaution. He set a team record in 2011 with a net average of 40.4 yards per punt, and was a major reason why opponents often started drives deep in their own territory.
WR Alshon Jeffery also continued his strong play in an effort to snag a starting job opposite of Marshall. He led the team with three catches for 62 yards, and was consistently getting open on a number of different routes. His presence gives the team depth at receiver they've never had, and allows them to preserve Devin Hester for a set 20-25 plays where he can do major damage.
The defensive line showed flashes of brilliance with a few early sacks and a forced fumble of highly touted rookie Robert Griffin III, but it does no good to trust anyone not named Julius Peppers until they can show pass rushing ability on a consistent basis.
The Bears looked good on Sunday night. If they could find a way to stick Urlacher, Podlesh, Hardin, and Conte into an injury recovery time machine, the team would be ready for their opener against the Colts by next week.