Beyond the Locker Room: Bears show pulse in second preseason game

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Bears Tranning Camp Matt Forte 2

The Chicago Bears will take on the New York Giants Friday at 7 p.m. in a game in which the offensive line is expected to be challenged by the explosive Giants defense.

In their second preseason game, Jay Cutler and the Bears offense put fans at ease immediately Aug. 18 en route to a 33-31 win over Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins at Soldier Field.

On the first play of the game, Cutler dropped back and connected with his go-to target Brandon Marshall for a 41-yard completion that ignited the crowd and gave the team more total yards on offense than it had in the entire first half of the previous preseason game.

Cutler sat out the first preseason game following the birth of his first son with girlfriend Kristin Cavallari, but made sure his presence was felt throughout the first half of the game before he was replaced by backup Jason Campbell.

“It was fun to get back out there,” Cutler said. “Last game it was tough to have to only watch. We had a good week of practice, I thought there was a lot more intensity and a bigger sense of urgency from the guys.”

Cutler led the team to three scoring drives on four possessions during the first half, resulting in a commanding 17-3 lead in the second quarter when most of the starters were switched for backups.

The defense also looked to gel as a unit much better compared to the first game, containing the offense of the Washington Redskins and limiting Griffin to 49 passing yards off 5 of 8 passing. Defensive end Israel Idonije forced a fumble, which lead to a recovery by Julius Peppers and an 8-yard touchdown run by Michael Bush.

“We did some things (right),” Idonije said. “And we did some things we’ve got to work on. We had some opportunities to really put them in some tough spots and we let them get away. We played tough. The intensity was definitely better.”

The Redskins came back in the second half to take the lead in the 4th quarter, but couldn’t hold on as Robbie Gould kicked a 57-yard field goal with 31 seconds left to win the game.

While everyone was excited with the overall effort of the starters in the first half, a cloud of concern still hovers over the return of Brian Urlacher. Urlacher underwent a procedure, which the team is calling a minor surgery to repair his left knee, an injury suffered in the final game of the season against Minnesota last year.

The Pro Bowl linebacker underwent an arthroscopic debridement procedure, but sticks by his claim that he’ll be ready in time for the September 9 season opener against the Indianapolis Colts.

“There shouldn’t be any reason to really be concerned,” coach Lovie Smith said about Urlacher. “I feel good that now we’ve gone in and we’ve done everything we could possibly do and we can’t wait to get him back out on the football field.”

Starting free safety Chris Conte and rookie third-round pick Brandon Hardin were also injured during last week’s game. Conte appeared to be in good spirits as he walked off the field with a right shoulder injury, giving a thumbs-up as he walked to the sidelines, but Hardin needed to be carted off in the third quarter after a neck injury.

Follow Royce Strahan on Twitter: @IfFansCouldTalk

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