Bears offense sharp in opener

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
1:27
AM ET
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears' first-team offense played two drives during Friday's 34-28 preseason opening victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, but in those 16 snaps, the group appeared to basically pick up where it left off from 2013's record-breaking campaign.

After a three-and-out possession to start, the Bears overcame two holding penalties (one was an offsetting penalty, which resulted in the down being replayed) on the next drive. It spanned 69 yards in 13 plays, capped by Jay Cutler's 10-yard touchdown pass to Zach Miller for the game's first points.

"Yeah, three-and-out, I figured we would get back into it and get another drive, which I'm glad we did," Cutler said. "We were backed up a few times, overcame a few penalties. So, it was a good drive for us."

The performance seemed markedly different from the club's 2013 preseason opener at Carolina. In that game, Cutler tossed an interception on his first throw, and finished with 56 yards through the air and a passer rating of 54.2.

Against the Eagles, Cutler ripped the Eagles for 85 yards and a touchdown to go with a passer rating of 112.7.

Center Roberto Garza called the offense's performance "a start," but acknowledged the difference a year makes. After all, in 2013, the Bears were playing in a new offensive system with an entirely new coaching staff.

"We knew what we were doing. We were a little more confident with what we're doing," Garza said. "Obviously, technique-wise football is football. But we've got a long way to go, man. We were definitely rusty out there."

It certainly didn't show after the first drive, although the rushing attack didn't perform as well as expected as Matt Forte lost 5 yards on three attempts. Typically, though, the rushing attack takes a little longer to come along as the backs and offensive linemen take time to get in synch. But the offensive line allowed only one sack all night.

"Our first group, I was encouraged we overcame two penalties in the second drive to go in for a score," Trestman said. "I thought that was a good thing, and I thought all the quarterbacks at some point had some adversity along the way, and they were able to come back and make it a positive night in some fashion."

Cutler, Jimmy Clausen, Jordan Palmer and rookie David Fales combined to complete 29 of 44 for 399 yards and four touchdowns with a passer rating of 106.9.

"There were some mistakes out there," Cutler admitted, "some on our part. Some things to clean up, but the guys were really efficient, getting in and out of the huddle, getting the play called, getting to our checks, going through our reads. The guys did well."

Michael C. Wright

ESPN Chicago Bears reporter

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