Pro football

Bears' first-team offense shines against Oakland

2013-08-24T17:00:00Z 2013-08-24T21:02:22Z Bears' first-team offense shines against OaklandJosh Dubow AP Sports Writer nwitimes.com
August 24, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

OAKLAND, Calif. | Jay Cutler and the Bears look ready to start the season.

Cutler led five first-half scoring drives, Matt Forte gained 109 yards from scrimmage and the Bears beat the Raiders 34-26 Friday night in the final big dress rehearsal for the regular season.

"It was a good outing for everybody, but it is preseason," Cutler said. "You can't get caught up in that. I don't think we can get too high on this game. We made some mistakes and we need to go back and look at them. But it's a good barometer of where we're at and where we can go."

Cutler and Forte connected on a 32-yard touchdown pass, former Raiders running back Michael Bush added a pair of touchdown runs and Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 77 yards as the Bears (2-1) broke out to a 27-0 lead in the first half.

This was likely the last full test for Chicago's first-team offense before the season as the top stars will play sparingly – if at all – in the exhibition finale Thursday against Cleveland.

The Bears came into this game looking to show their passing offense was more than just Brandon Marshall after he was targeted on all five throws by Cutler last week against San Diego. Cutler managed to do that on the first drive with long completions to Jeffery and tight end Marcellus Bennett that set up a field goal by Robbie Gould.

"We just called more of our packages and everybody got a chance to get the ball," Bennett said.

Both those completions came against Raiders rookie D.J. Hayden, who played his first game since a near fatal practice collision last November in college at Houston. Hayden recovered from that scare and was picked 12th overall by Oakland, but was not cleared for contact until this week. He missed a tackle on Jeffery's 22-yard gain, but later on the drive broke up a pass to Marshall.

Cutler continued to spread the ball around on the second drive after a Tim Jennings interception. Forte took a swing pass on the next play and went in for a 32-yard touchdown.

Cutler led three more scoring drives in the half and finished the night 12 for 21 for 142 yards with the touchdown. He completed passes to five players with none going to Marshall on four attempts in that direction.

"It was kind of imperative to do that, come out there and get everything going efficiently," Forte said. "We started off fast. It was good to get that continuity going."

NOTE: Bears CB Zach Bowman tore his hamstring.

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