Back to the drawing board for Chicago Bears
Staying home to watch the Cubs or the Olympics on TV would have been a better alternative than watching the Chicago Bears live at Soldier Field.
And 13,046 of the 61,862 tickets distributed went unused.
Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery played after having not gone through a full practice since Aug. 1 (hamstring), and he caught a 12-yard pass from Jay Cutler on the Bears' first play from scrimmage in Thursday night's preseason opener.
That was the extent of the good news for the Bears' first-team offense in the 22-0 loss to the defending Super Bowl-champion Denver Broncos.
"We need to get better, and it starts with everybody, it starts with me," said Cutler, who completed 3 of 4 passes for 18 yards and was sacked twice.
For the record, many of the integral pieces from the Broncos' Super Bowl team did not dress -- starting cornerbacks Aquib Talib and Chris Harris and sack masters Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Oh, and their quarterback, who was pretty good, retired.
After Jeffery's catch, the Bears' starters netted just 1 more yard of total offense while playing the entire first quarter. The rebuilt offensive line did not look good in pass protection or as run blockers. Starting running back Jeremy Langford managed just 7 yards on 4 attempts (1.8 yards per carry).
"Obviously I was disappointed personally," said Bears coach John Fox, who was Denver's head coach from 2011-14. "I think our team was disappointed. We were expecting more. I don't know that we executed as well as any of us expected."
With the Broncos leading 7-0 and driving, Jerrell Freeman, one of two new starters at inside linebacker, intercepted Mark Sanchez with 4:55 left in the first quarter. Freeman's steal gave the Bears the ball at their 39-yard line, but the offense went three-and-out, as it did on three of its first four possessions.
Special teams contributed their share to the first-half disaster when Pat O'Donnell's fourth punt of the first half was blocked into the end zone by Bennie Fowler, where it was recovered by teammate Zaire Anderson. That allowed the Broncos to take a 20-0 lead into the locker room.
It didn't get any better early in the third quarter after No. 3 quarterback David Fales relieved Brian Hoyer, who completed 7 of 10 passes for 81 yards but was sacked three times and tossed an interception, leaving him with a 54.6 passer rating.
On the Bears' second possession of the second half, Fales was sacked in the end zone for a safety by Dekoda Watson, the sixth of 7 Broncos sacks, even though the Bears threw just 26 passes.
A 32-yard TD pass from Sanchez to Pro Bowler Demaryius Thomas opened the scoring. With Bears cornerback Tracy Porter sitting out, Bryce Callahan started in his place, and the Broncos went right after him. Callahan peeked into the Broncos' backfield as Thomas ran past him to haul in the easy touchdown.
It was just the start of an awful evening.
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