What worked, what didn't in Bears' preseason loss to Bengals

  • Bears running back Taquan Mizzell scores a touchdown during Thursday's first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

    Bears running back Taquan Mizzell scores a touchdown during Thursday's first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. Associated Press

By Kyle Nabors
Pro Football Weekly
Updated 8/10/2018 1:52 PM

Breaking down the Bears' 30-27 preseason loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday:

Three moments that mattered


1. Guard Kyle Long only played one series, but it's a positive sign after the Bears were extremely cautious with him to start training camp. Long has played in only 18 games over the last two seasons, and he played at less than 100 percent for most of, if not all, of 2017 before undergoing three separate offseason surgeries (neck, wrist and shoulder).

2. Former first-round pick Kevin White had a chance to make a good impression with Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel sitting out. Instead, White flat-out dropped the only catchable ball thrown his way. He's likely to make the roster regardless of his preseason performance, but it would be nice to see him show something.

3. All of the Bears' projected Week 1 starters who played came off the field healthy. We're still a month away from the regular season, and the Bears have made it through two meaningless games without a major injury. Just ask Washington, which watched rookie running back Derrius Guice leave with a knee injury Thursday, if staying healthy is half the battle.

Three things that worked

1. Kyle Fuller doing Kyle Fuller things. There's no shame if a small part of you worried that Fuller's 2017 breakout was a fluke. His transformation is still hard to believe, but he once again showcased his ability to break on the football with a pick-6 in the first quarter.

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2. Adam Shaheen working over the middle. It was clear that the 6-foot-5 tight end was going to be a project when the Bears selected him out of Ashland University in the 2017 draft. Maybe Shaheen is ready to bust out in his second pro season, because he sure looked comfortable splitting out wide and running routes over the middle Thursday. He hauled in three passes for 53 yards.

3. James Daniels shows potential. The rookie lineman sat out last week's Hall of Fame game but played center with the second unit against the Bengals. Daniels, a second-round selection, showed why some analysts had pegged him as a first rounder with a great block on Taquan Mizzell's 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Three things that didn't

1. Tackling Joe Mixon. OK, it's early August and tackling mechanics are going to be rusty. That being said, watching linebacker John Timu and safety Adrian Amos fail to even force Mixon out of bounds on his 24-yard touchdown catch and run was still rough.

2. Moving the ball early. Keeping in mind that the first-team offense ran only eight plays, the line didn't perform particularly well. Bengals DT Geno Atkins absolutely blew past Eric Kush for a sack, Cody Whitehair was flagged for holding and Bobby Massie was beat inside on a run block that resulted in a tackle for loss. The Bears' first-team offense finished with minus-1 yard.

3. Perfecting the RPO. Quarterbacks often mention getting comfortable with the mesh spots as one of the most difficult aspects of using RPOs. That showed Thursday as Mitch Trubisky and Mizzell clearly weren't on the same page on a run play that resulted in a two-yard loss.

What's next?

The Bears head to Denver for a pair of joint practices before taking on the Broncos on Aug. 18. After only playing two series against the Bengals, expect the starters to play close to a full quarter against Denver.


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