After generating four takeaways last Friday night in Carolina, the Bears matched that total in a 16-minute span in the first half of Thursday night's 33-28 preseason win over the Chargers.
|Click to view photos from the Bears' 33-28 victory over the San Diego Chargers.|
The first turnover came when safety Chris Conte made a diving interception of a Phillip Rivers pass intended for receiver Keenan Allen at the San Diego 34.
"I was playing the middle of the field, trying to read the quarterback and go get the ball," Conte said. "You can't really say much [about all the takeaways] until the regular season, but it's definitely a good start for our defense, so we want to keep it up."
The second takeaway occurred when defensive end Shea McClellin sacked Rivers, forcing a fumble that safety Major Wright recovered at the Chargers' 35.
"We do that in practice; we work on stripping the ball," said McClellin, who recorded one of four Bears sacks. "I didn't even know I got the ball actually, so that was surprising I got it."
The third takeaway came when Blake Costanzo recovered a muffed punt at the San Diego 26, while the fourth occurred when defensive tackle Corvey Irvin recovered a botched snap at the Chargers' 13. Irvin late left the game with an ankle injury.
Bad start: The Bears offense started slowly for the second straight game, opening with a three-and-out that featured back-to-back sacks of quarterback Jay Cutler.
"Certainly we are not pleased with the start in the first quarter, three-and-out," said coach Marc Trestman. "Two sacks individually. We didn't look clean."
Cutler threw an interception on the Bears' first play from scrimmage in the preseason opener in Carolina before rebounding to complete 6 of 7 passes for 56 yards.
Help wanted: The Bears are expected to sign a quarterback after losing third-stringer Matt Blanchard with a fractured knuckle on his left hand.
"I'm not sure about the time he will be out," Trestman said. "But we are sitting there with two quarterbacks going into next week and that's something we are going to have to repair rather quick, get a third on the roster."
Forced to reinsert Josh McCown back into the game after Blanchard was injured, the Bears altered their plan of attack to make sure they escaped with at least two healthy quarterbacks.
"We really limited what we were going to do offensively," Trestman said. "We were going to run the football, try to use as much clock as we could, try to keep Josh as safe as we could through the second half and really get out of the game without losing [another] quarterback."
Roster notes: Bears players who did not play Thursday night due to injuries included running back Armando Allen (hamstring), linebacker D.J. Williams (calf), long-snapper Patrick Mannelly (rib), defensive tackle Henry Melton (concussion), tackle Jonathan Scott (knee) and receiver Earl Bennett (concussion). Defensive end Julius Peppers also will not play.