Bears report card: Grades for offense, defense in preseason win vs. Seahawks

·5 min read

Grading Bears' offense, defense in preseason win vs. Seahawks originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

SEATTLE – With just four days in between their preseason opener and Thursday's game in Seattle, the Bears gave most of their regulars limited work at Lumen Field against the Seahawks.

Outside of new right guard Teven Jenkins and right tackle Larry Borom, the first-team offense played just one series. Defensive veterans Eddie Jackson and Robert Quinn also spent most of their night on the sideline.

The Bears were mediocre on both sides of the ball in their preseason win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday. Things got a little better in Seattle, but it's hard to tell how much of that is due to the Seahawks' overall ineptitude.

On the day, the Seahawks had 13 penalties accepted for 92 yards, went 4-for-19 on third down, and averaged just 4.3 yards per play. The Bears weren't much better, going 4-for-13 on third down while averaging 3.9 yards per play.

Overall, the football was not good in the Pacific Northwest. Passing marks were given, but there's a lot of room for improvement with just one preseason game remaining.

Here are our grades for each unit in the Bears' 27-11 win over the Seahawks:

Passing offense

Cole Kmet's return was a boon to the Bears' passing offense Thursday night.

The third-year tight end caught two passes for 31 yards from quarterback Justin Fields in his lone series of work. The Bears opened the game by hitting Kmet on a tight end screen for 12 yards. Later in the drive, Fields bootlegged left, squared his hips, and ripped a laser to Kmet for 19.

Kmet's absence was noticeable during the Bears' starter's three drives against the Chiefs. The passing game had a little more teeth in one drive in Seattle. The starting offense's lone drive ended with a 35-yard Cairo Santos field goal.

"Cole's a great tight end," Fields said after the game. "He can pretty much do it all. He can block. He's a great route runner, he has great hands. He definitely brings another weapon to our offense, for sure, so I was just glad to see him out there today."

Fields went 5-for-7 for 39 yards and an 84.8 rating. He didn't make any big-time throws, but he operated the offense efficiently and showed poise under near-constant pressure.

The Bears' lone passing touchdown on the day came when Trevor Siemian hit Jake Tonges for a 2-yard score.

The screen game was effective Thursday in Seattle. Fields hit Kmet for 12 and 6 more on a screen to Mooney. However, on third-and-4 at the Seahawks' 15-yard line, Fields skipped a progression and dumped it off to Khalil Herbert in the flat for a loss of 2, ending the drive.

"I should have worked to the middle of the field," Fields said. "So that was my fault for sure."

The Bears moved the ball through the air, but the passing attack, especially the protection, needs to get much better.

Grade: C

Rushing offense

While you could argue the passing attack improved from Game 1 to Game 2, the same can't be said of the run game.

Against the Seahawks, the Bears rushed 33 times for 117 yards, good for 3.5 a clip.

The first-team offense ran the ball twice. Khalil Herbert picked up 7 on his lone carry, and Fields gained 1 yard on a scramble near midfield.

The longest run of the day was an 11-yard scamper by Darrynton Evans. Rookie Trestan Ebner, who was electric in his debut against the Chiefs, gained 29 yards on nine carries before leaving the game with an injury.

With David Montgomery and Khari Blasingame not suited up, it's hard to give a fair grade to the Bears' rushing attack. But a lack of explosive runs and less than 4 yards per carry doesn't lend itself to high marks.

Grade: C-minus

Passing defense

After getting shredded by Patrick Mahomes during the Chiefs star's lone series Saturday, the Bears' pass defense surely welcomed the sight of anyone else under center.

That someone else came in the form of Geno Smith and Jacob Eason on Thursday. Smith went 10-for-18 for 112 yards, while Eason completed 17 of 35 passes for 141 yards. Neither found the end zone through the air.

Bears top draft pick Kyler Gordon made his debut Thursday, playing exclusively in the nickel. The Washington product allowed one catch on two targets for 12 yards and received a 90.0 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus.

Gordon admitted to having some "happy feet" early in his debut, but it was a good day for the Bears rookie, who looks like he will be the starting nickel in Week 1.

Grade: B

Run defense

Now, the Bears' run defense had somewhat of a tough night.

The Seahawks ran the ball 19 times for 96 yards (5.1 yards per carry). Travis Homer ripped off a 33-yard run in which he made Gordon and several other Bears miss before being tracked down by Al-Quadin Muhammad.

During the third quarter, Seahawks running back Darwin Thompson recorded the highlight of the night when he hurdled cornerback A.J. Thomas in the red zone.

Starting three-technique Justin Jones didn't suit up Thursday, so the Bears' run defense was without a key cog in the middle and got pushed around a bit at the point of attack.

We're not going to hang this one on the fridge at Halas Hall.

Grade: C

Special teams

For three quarters, Richard Hightower's unit was special.

There was the 48-yard punt return by Velus Jones Jr., the 58-yard kickoff return by Nsimba Webster, and a muffed punt recovered for a touchdown by Hicks.

But the wheels came off a bit near the end of the game.

De'Montre Tuggle ran into Dazz Newsome on a punt return which caused the wide receiver to muff his second punt in as many weeks. That led to the Seahawks' only touchdown of the night.

Then, with two minutes remaining, Seattle executed a successful onside kick. Tball bounced right to Isaiah Coulter, but the ball short-hopped off the receiver's chest, and Seattle recovered.

We were headed toward an A-plus, but things got dicey late. More work to be done.

Grade: B

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