Bears show dynamic offense in win over Titans
Jamie Sabau - USA Today Sports

Bears show dynamic offense in win over Titans


by - Senior Writer -

CHICAGO - At long last, football is back in the Windy City as the 2023 preseason schedule kicked off for the Chicago Bears. Up first were the Tennessee Titans as they made the trek to Soldier Field for game one of their three-game slate.

After a rough season in 2022, the 2023 season is filled with excitement as the Bears did a phenomenal job transforming their roster this offseason. Virtually every position will look differently this season, and that could be a good thing depending on how things transpire. Despite the changes, the team's overall success will fall on Justin Fields and how much he improves this season.

If this game was any indication of what is to come, this Bears offense will not only be exciting but could be one of the better big-play offenses this season as the Bears kicked off their preseason slate with a 23-17 victory over the Titans. With all the talk about the offense and how different they will look this season, the defense also needs to step up after having statistically one of their worst seasons in franchise history.

Things didn't look much better in the Bears opening drive as second-year QB Malik Willis got the start over Ryan Tannehill and played well. Willis completed 16 of his 25 pass attempts for 189 yards while also picking up 22 yards on the ground. Willis wasted no time moving the ball as he hooked up with Chris Moore for 30 yards on the first play from scrimmage. That was one of the few passes on that drive as Tyjae Spears began to take over with his legs before Willis capped things off from two yards out to put the Titans in front 7-0.

After hearing all the talks about how much the Bears offense struggled during the past two weeks of training camp, Fields was eager to prove those struggles were more about improving the Bears' defense than struggles themselves. Perhaps hooking up with DJ Moore for 62 yards will give the fans a sense of relief as his first play as a Bears player goes for a long TD to bring things to 7-7.

"When you add a playmaker like that to your football team, there's excitement," Bears coach Matt Eberflus said to reporters about Moore. "I mean, just automatic excitement in the whole building.

"You know this guy is special and he can make a lot of things happen. I would say his attitude and his personality are very infectious. He kind of lights up a room when he comes into it.

"He brings all that energy to the team."

Quick strikes and large chunk plays were the themes for the Bear's offense as Khalil Herbert took over on the second drive of the game with a nice run to kick things off before he and Fields hooked up for the 56-yard touchdown to put the Bears in front 14-7.

Fields may have thrown just three passes, but he was a perfect 3-3 for 129 yards and two TDS, as he looked outstanding in his first preseason tilt.

"When you have guys that can take a three-yard pass 50 yards, that just makes my job easier," Fields said after the game. "It's always good to have playmakers like that on the team.

"As a quarterback, it's always good to have playmakers like that."

Not only did the Bear's offense look great early on, but so did their defense after the initial drive, as they forced consecutive punts to get the ball back. Unfortunately, Velus Jones Jr continues to struggle to field punts and puts one on the deck to give the ball back to the Titans. One play later, it was the Defense coming through again as AJ Thomas picked off Willis at the goal line and returned it 17 yards.

That momentum didn't last long, with PJ Walker giving the ball right back to the Titans one play later as his pass to Equanimeous St. Brown was intercepted. Six plays later, it was back to even as Will Levis helped orchestrate a short 31-yard drive capped off by the Hassan Haskins one-yard TD run.

The rest of the first half was your typical preseason game, as both teams had their share of miscues. Each team fumbled the ball, with the Titans fumbling twice, but the Tyler Scott fumble late in the first half proved to be the most costly one of them all. After putting the ball on the ground inside the Tennessee 25, Levis and the offense began driving down the field and needed nine plays to get 50 yards. The result was a 41-yard field goal late in the first half as the Bears trailed the Titans 17-14 after one half of play.

Those would be the final points of the day for the Titans as the Bears took over in the second half. The Titans touched the ball four times in the second half with two drives combining for 22 yards and two punts. The other two drives saw the Titans move the ball exceptionally well, but nothing to show for it as Trey Wolff missed a 48-yard field goal as time expired in the third quarter.

Unlike the Titans offense, who struggled to get going, Nathan Peterman and the Bears did a much better job moving the ball as they moved the ball 50 yards on their opening possession of the second half. Roschon Johnson played a huge role in picking up 33 yards on four carries, which helped result in the 28-yard Cairo Santos field goal to tie things back up 17-17.

The ground game continued to set things up as the second half rolled on, with Travis Homer getting some touches ahead of the Isaiah Ford 37-yard hook-up to move the ball inside the Titans' 30. The drive would stall out there as Homer and Johnson couldn't get much of anything going, but the 29-yard field goal from Santos put Chicago in front for good, 20-17.

Santos would add another field goal early in the third to extend the lead to 23-17, as those would be the game's final points for either side. With just over a minute to go regulation and the ball in their hands, Levis was looking to leave his first mark with the Titans, and he did. Unfortunately, it wasn't a mark he wanted to leave as Bralen Trahan intercepted Levis to end the game as the offense took a knee to close things out.

Fields set the tone through the air, but the rest of the QBs were solid, as Walker, Peterman, and Tyson Bagent combined to go 12-19 for 208 yards. Johnson led what should be a dominating rushing attack again this season with 44 yards on 12 carries, with Homer adding 25.

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