CLEVELAND – One of the Bears' players believed by many to be on the roster bubble may have improved his chances of earning a job in Thursday night's preseason finale against the Browns.
Second-year defensive end David Bass recorded the Bears' only sack, forcing a Johnny Manziel fumble that Cleveland recovered, and registered a second sack that was nullified by a penalty.
"It was exciting to make some plays tonight," Bass said. "I did get after the quarterback, but there were other times where I felt I didn't rush as good or maybe I should have taken an inside move when I stayed outside and got pushed past the quarterback. I've still got a lot of things to work on."
Bass showed his versatility late in the first half when he was credited with a quarterback hit on Manziel while rushing from the defensive tackle position.
"This past week in practice I got some chances in one-on-ones to rush the QB from a three technique," Bass said. "This was my first time in a game."
Asked about the difference between playing end and tackle, Bass said: "It's pretty much the same thing. At end I probably get two or three more steps before I have to create contact or make a move and at three technique I've probably got one step and they're going to jump on me fast."
On the sideline: Only 35 of the 75 players on the Bears roster played in Thursday night's game. All the starters sat out as did the team's top five draft picks: Cornerback Kyle Fuller, defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton, running back Ka'Deem Carey and safety Brock Vereen.
"It's more of what was in the best interest of the team tonight; who did we need to play tonight and see and who did we need to sit," said coach Marc Trestman. "Obviously all the young players need work and need to get out and play. We made the decision that we felt was best taking everything into consideration. That's why it came out the way it did tonight with the guys who played."
Playing safety Chris Conte wasn't even an option due to the concussion he sustained in last Friday night's preseason game against the Seahawks. Conte is still going through the concussion protocol and has not yet been cleared to play. The Bears list his status as day-to-day.
Return derby: While Santonio Holmes showed explosiveness on a 30-yard punt return, none of the kickoff returners stood out Thursday night in Cleveland.
Chris Williams averaged 27.0 on three returns with a long of 29 yards, Senorise Perry had a 23-yard return and Josh Bellamy had a 17-yard return. Three other kickoffs resulted in touchbacks.
Micheal Spurlock, who appears to be a top contender for the kick-return job, did not play.
"He'll be heavily involved in this decision certainly as a returner as we move forward," Trestman said. "We feel good about Micheal and where he's at. We needed to get a look at the other guys. We didn't get as much as we'd like, but we did get a little bit of a look at some alternatives as well."
Johnny Football: Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel completed 6 of 17 passes for 83 yards with one touchdown and a 71.4 passer rating. Manziel, who replaced starter Brian Hoyer in the second quarter, also rushed for 55 yards on four carries including a long of 22 yards.
Manziel was replaced by former Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, who connected on 4 of 8 passes for 80 yards and an 85.4 rating before yielding to rookie Connor Shaw in the fourth quarter.