Bears' defense steals the show early

2013-08-15T21:00:00Z 2013-08-17T01:39:04Z Bears' defense steals the show earlyAl Hamnik, (219) 933-4154
August 15, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | Bears coach Marc Trestman is so darn optimistic, always upbeat and positive, never a discouraging word to anyone.

Fans and media can't help but wonder if they'll see him "go off" during a game when nothing goes right.

"I think it's a good question," Trestman said before Thursday night's preseason game with the Chargers. "I think practice enables a fan and somebody to see the passion we have out here for the game. But when I'm out there working, I'm trying to focus on managing the game, managing the sideline. I try to handle that in the way that's most comfortable for me.

"I don't think sideline demeanor is necessarily descriptive of someone's passion for the game or what's going on in the headsets, so I guess I'll just leave it at that."

Trestman came away with mixed feelings after his Bears blew a 20-0 lead, then hung on to nip the Chargers 33-28.

"I was disappointed with the second and third units, offensively," Trestman said. "They need to gain better confidence."

Chicago rolled to a 20-7 halftime lead, with 13 points coming off four San Diego turnovers.

But two touchdown passes in the third quarter by reserve quarterback Charlie Whitehurst brought the Chargers to within 27-21 after Michael Bush's short TD scamper had given Chicago a 13-point advantage.

That, by the way, came courtesy of teammate Michael Ford's 100-yard kick return from deep inside the Bears' end zone.

Luckily, Chicago's defense was still hanging around in the final period as J.T. Thomas blocked a Chargers punt and recovered at their 20. Robbie Gould's short field goal provided some breathing room at 30-21.

It didn't last long as Mike Willie caught his second TD pass of the night, a 6-yard toss from third-string QB Brad Sorenson.

Robbie Gould's fourth field goal in the closing seconds accounted for the final score.

Bears' quarterback Jay Cutler wasn't overly impressive. He fumbled on the game's opening play but Chicago recovered. He later was picked off by Donald Butler at the Chargers' 6, wasting a Chris Conte interception of Phillip Rivers.

In between, Cutler and favorite target Brandon Marshall hooked up on a 5-yard score set up by Matt Forte's 58-yard run. Forte made it 14-0 late in the first quarter on a 3-yard run, thanks to a Rivers' fumble that Major Wright pounced on at the visitors' 35.

Forte rushed for 74 yards on eight first-quarter carries.

Cutler played the opening quarter only and was 4 of 5 for 38 yards, with Marshall targeted on all five of his attempts.

Josh McCown took over in the second period.

"Quick quarter. Short field. I would've liked to have gotten more guys involved but it was a short field and Matt was running so well," Cutler said. "He's tough to deal with; tough to bring down."

Cutler was impressed by the play of rookies Jordan Mills and Kyle Long on the right side of the O-line.

"They were fired up," he said. "They ran block well and pass protected just as well."

Chicago (1-1) padded its lead to 17-0 on a fumbled punt return by the Chargers (0-2), which Blake Costanzo recovered at their 26. Gould then added a chip-shot field goal.

Moments later, he nailed a 25-yarder courtesy of a fumbled snap by Whitehurst.

Bears coaches had hoped to see more offense than the 17 points scored at Carolina a week ago -- 10 of it coming on a Gould field goal and Jonathan Bostic interception return.

"The guys are getting better," Cutler said.

Taking the night off for Chicago were running back Armando Allen, linebacker D.J. Williams, long snapper Patrick Mannelly, tackles Jonathan Scott and Henry Melton, wide receiver Earl Bennett and defensive end Julius Peppers.

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