After struggling in the preseason opener against the Broncos, the Bears offensive line performed at a much higher level in Saturday night’s 33-31 victory over the Redskins.
“We challenged them all week,” said quarterback
After rushing for just 36 yards on 21 carries and yielding six sacks against the Broncos, the Bears gained 82 yards on 22 attempts and gave up four sacks versus the Redskins.
Rookie tight end
“Whenever you have time and are able to do some things in the running game, they gave us a chance,” said coach Lovie Smith. “You have to of course go back and watch the video. Things are normally not as good as you think when you have some success and things are not quite as bad too. But I think for the most part, from what I was able to see, we did a decent job.”
After mustering 41 yards and three first downs in the first half against the Broncos, the line helped the Bears compile 262 yards and 13 first downs in the first two quarters versus the Redskins.
We knew we had to come out and take a step forward in the right direction, and we did that,” said center
Stepping up: Rookie tight end Evan Rodriguez had three receptions for 62 yards, including key receptions of 15 and 19 yards to set up
“You’ve just got to be ready for your opportunity, and I felt like I made the most of it,” said Rodriguez, a fourth-round draft pick from Temple. “I’m definitely pretty happy.”
After the Redskins turned a 30-10 deficit into a 31-30 lead with three fourth-quarter touchdown passes by rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins, the Bears took over at their own 20 with 2:04 to play.
Undrafted rookie quarterback
“He did great,” Rodriguez said of Blanchard. “The offensive line did a great job protecting and Matt was back there just doing his thing, taking control of the offense.”
Long distance: Had Gould’s kick—which he lined just over the crossbar—come in the regular season, it would have matched his career long set last season in Denver.
“That’s what you’re supposed to do; you’re supposed to go out there and make kicks,” said Gould, who was 5-of-5 on field goals of at least 50 yards last season. “Everyone did a great job from holding, snapping and blocking, and I just got lucky to get it over the bar.”
Coach them up:Rookie receiver
Asked what he would say to the second-round draft pick, Smith said: “Don’t do it. It is kind of as simple as that. We can’t have that.
“I am going to talk to him first about all of those good plays he made,” Smith said. “He has done a lot of great things in training camp and he is taking that over to the games too.”