Bears blank Browns
Published 3:11 am Friday, September 4, 2015
CHICAGO (AP) — David Fales made his case to be Chicago’s third-string quarterback, throwing two touchdown passes, and the Bears closed out the preseason with a 24-0 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night.
The Bears (3-1) head into their first season under coach John Fox with some big holes and a long list of injuries, particularly at receiver.
Fales completed 14 of 18 passes for 131 yards with Jay Cutler getting the night off and backup Jimmy Clausen recovering from a concussion.
The defense had seven sacks and three takeaways, helping Chicago prevail on a night when both teams held out almost all their top players.
“I think guys made cases for themselves and made it harder on us, which I think’s a good thing,” Fox said.
Observations from the game:
Terrelle Pryor, trying to secure a roster spot as a receiver for Cleveland (1-3), did little to help his cause.
The former Ohio State quarterback started the second half and got called for an illegal formation — which was declined — on the second play from scrimmage. He took a few snaps at quarterback in the wildcat formation, but did not have any passes thrown his way.
“I think we have a pretty good sense of who he is and where he is right now in his transformation for a lack of a better word,” Browns coach Mike Pettine said. “It will obviously be an item on the docket to be discussed.”
Thad Lewis had a difficult night filling in at QB for Josh McCown and the injured Johnny Manziel. He got sacked six times and had an interception returned 25 yards for a touchdown by Chicago’s Sherrod Martin in the third quarter.
FALES MAKES HIS CASE
Fales hit veteran Marc Mariani, also trying to secure a roster spot, with a 19-yard touchdown in the second quarter after Cleveland turned the ball over deep in Chicago territory.
In the third, Fales made it 14-0 when he found Ify Umodu in the corner of the end zone for an 11-yard TD right as a blitzing Tank Carder took him down.
“It’s nice to get into a rhythm,” Fales said. “You don’t have just one series or two series and you kind of feel it out and make your plays when it’s time to make your plays. But it’s definitely good to get comfortable and see what’s going on.”
The question for the Bears is whether they have the flexibility to keep three quarterbacks. If so, do they go with Fales? Or with Zac Dysert, who signed Tuesday with Chicago and played for Fox and offensive coordinator Adam Gase in Denver. Dysert came into the game in the fourth quarter and completed 1 of 4 passes.
“We’ve got tough decisions to make and we’ll have to work through that,” Fox said.
Alshon Jeffery sat out all four preseason games because of a strained left calf. His status for the opener against Green Bay is in question, and Fox wasn’t giving any hints.
“We’re gonna probably say as little as we can because we don’t really want to help our opponent,” Fox said.
Rookie Kevin White, whom the Bears were counting on to help make up for the loss of Brandon Marshall, could miss the season because of a shin injury.
Chicago was also without Eddie Royal and Marquess Wilson, who were nursing sore hamstrings.
BOWE GETS A LOOK
Pettine made it clear that Dwayne Bowe is in no danger of being cut after the veteran receiver played the first half.
“He just needed to work, that was why he was out there,” the coach said.
Bowe, who had one catch for 8 yards, called it a “mutual” decision to give him an extended look. A hamstring injury kept him out of the first two preseason games so he got another chance to knock off some rust.