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Game recap: Bears edged by late Bills rally


The Bears played their fifth and final preseason game Thursday night at Soldier Field, falling to the Buffalo Bills 28-27 in a battle of second- and third-teamers.

More importantly, the Bears concluded their preseason without losing any of their 22 projected starters to a serious injury, which surely bodes well entering the season.

"Proud of our guys right now, what they've done," said coach Matt Nagy. "It's been a long training camp for us. They battled and played hard. Really was good to see these guys come out today and put forth their best effort, these young guys to get some reps. I like where we're at. We've got a lot of depth, and we're going to have some tough decisions here coming up."

The Bears must reduce their roster from 90 to 53 by 3 p.m. Saturday. They will then form a 10-man practice squad Sunday and return to Halas Hall Monday to resume practicing for their season opener against the rival Packers Sept. 9 in Green Bay.

The Bears will enter that Sunday night contest at Lambeau Field not only healthy but well-rested. After 18 of 22 starters sat out last Saturday's preseason game against the Chiefs, all 22 were held out of Thursday night's finale versus the Bills.

"I feel great about where the team is at," Bears starting quarterback Mitchell Trubisky said during the television broadcast of Thursday night's game on FOX 32. "We're very excited with 10 more days to prepare.

"It's always great to play at Soldier Field, but we're excited to get out there against the Packers on Sunday Night Football. I know this teams is very eager. We have a great work week coming up, so we are very excited for everything ahead."

The Bears led Thursday night's game 27-3 entering the fourth quarter before the Bills closed the contest by scoring 25 unanswered points. In the final period, quarterback A.J. McCarron threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth score. His 6-yard TD pass to tight end Keith Towbridge with :13 remaining lifted Buffalo to the win.

In the first half, the Bears were led by a pair of No. 35s—running back Ryan Nall and cornerback Doran Grant. Nall rushed for 79 yards on just four carries, including a 32-yard touchdown scamper around right end, while Grant intercepted a McCarron pass and returned it 33 yards for a TD.

Cody Parkey added field goals from 47 and 23 yards to give the Bears a 20-0 halftime lead—though he hit the right upright on a 39-yard attempt on the last play of the half.

After Stephen Hauschka's 42-yard field goal drew the Bills to within 20-3, Knile Davis' 1-yard TD run widened the margin to 27-3 with 6:06 left in the third quarter.

Playing the entire game at quarterback for the Bears, third-stringer Tyler Bray completed 19 of 29 passes for 180 yards with one interception and a 68.2 passer rating.

McCarron also went the distance, connecting on 13 of 34 passes for 158 yards with three TDs, two interceptions and a 58.0 rating.

With final cuts looming Saturday, Nagy will meet with general manager Ryan Pace in the next two days to finalize the Bears' 53-man roster.

"Ryan and I have gotten together and we've discussed a good majority of it," Nagy said, "because we want to make sure that in certain areas we're thinking the same, or we can prep on to what we know we're going to have to talk about here in the next couple of days. We can already kind of know that ahead of time.

"We've gone over all the positions and talked through different stuff, and now, [Friday], we'll get the coaches involved and we'll listen to all of that. We'll take everybody's input and ultimately Ryan and I will just talk through it and we'll figure out what the best decision is."

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