OAKLAND — Even after targeting Brandon Marshall with all five of his passes last week against the Chargers, Jay Cutler vowed that the Bears would spread the ball around on offense.
On Friday night, Cutler completed 12 of 21 passes for 142 yards to five different receivers—none named Marshall—in the first half of a 34-26 preseason win over the Raiders in Oakland.
|Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 77 yards in the first half Friday in Oakland. Click to view photos from the game.|
Alshon Jeffery caught seven passes for 77 yards, Matt Forte had two receptions for 33 yards, and Martellus Bennett (16 yards), Marquess Wilson (14) and Kyle Adams (2) had one grab apiece.
"We're going to throw it to the open guy, whoever it is, if it's Alshon, if it's 'B,' if it's Marty, whoever it is," Cutler said. "That's how we're going to operate. Obviously the more plays you play out there, there's a better chance those other guys have of catching the ball. The first two preseason games we were kind of limited in our play selection and our time out there, so it didn't work out how we wanted it to. Tonight it did and hopefully it continues that way."
Jeffery starred in the first half, producing first downs on six of his seven receptions. He turned a quick slant into a 22-yard gain on third-and-one by spinning away from a defender and later sustained a drive that resulted in a touchdown with a 12-yard catch on third-and-nine.
"He worked with 'B' in the offseason down in Miami, and he's got another year under his belt in the NFL and [knows] what it takes," Cutler said of the 2012 second-round draft pick.
"The guy's hungry. He wants to make it in this league. He knows he's in a great opportunity opposite 'B.' He knows he'll get a lot of single coverage, and he's in a great system with [Marc] Trestman and the guys out there calling plays. So it's a good spot for him. I think he's in a really good place mentally and tonight he had a great showing."
Forte also had a great showing Friday night, turning a short swing pass into a 32-yard touchdown and rushing for 76 yards on six carries, including a 35-yard scamper that set up a TD.
"He's scary out there," Cutler said. "He's doing a good job for us. I think he's getting more and more comfortable with the running lanes and the blocking schemes we're putting him in. I think Marc's done a great job of getting him outside and finding ways to get touches outside the box."
Few if any running backs are as versatile as Forte, the first player in NFL history to compile at least 900 yards rushing and 400 yards receiving in each of his first four seasons.
"Matt's an all-purpose player," Trestman said. "He's a three-down player. He can run, he's a very good pass receiver and it just helps spread the field even more with the players that we have."