Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP) — Those expecting Jay Cutler to immediately
transform the Chicago Bears into a pass-happy offense had better be
Cutler came out throwing against Buffalo in his Bears'
preseason debut Saturday night, but missed as many attempts as he
completed — not including the one he had intercepted in a 27-20 loss.
So much for the much-anticipated buzz — including all the No. 6 Bears
jerseys sold — that centered on the Pro Bowl quarterback Chicago
acquired in a blockbuster offseason trade with Denver.
offense, even minus Terrell Owens, out nursing a sprained toe, was much
more efficient in 80-plus-degree and muggy conditions. And Buffalo got
plenty of help from its defense, which generated four turnovers,
including two interceptions by rookie Ellis Lankster.
starter Trent Edwards finished 10 of 10 for 79 yards, and backup Ryan
Fitzpatrick went 13 of 16 for 143 yards. The Bills broke open the game
early in the fourth quarter by scoring twice in 34 seconds, both scores
set up following Lankster's interceptions of third-string quarterback
Bills third-stringer Gibran Hamdan hit rookie
Shawn Nelson for a 3-yard touchdown to put Buffalo ahead 20-13. Then
Bruce Hall scored on a 4-yard plunge. Combined, Buffalo's four
quarterbacks went 29 of 34 for 265 yards.
Chicago for only the second time in 14 preseason meetings (2-11-1), and
bounced back from a 21-18 loss to Tennessee in the Hall of Fame game
It was an uninspiring performance from a Bears
offense counting on Cutler to provide a spark. He went 5 of 10 for 64
yards and an interception on a poorly under-thrown pass up the left
sideline that was picked off by Leodis McKelvin. Cutler nearly threw
another interception, but cornerback Reggie Corner dropped the ball
that hit him squarely in the chest.
Cutler keyed mostly on Devin
Hester, who caught only two of six passes thrown his way for 22 yards.
Cutler's best throw came when he hit Desmond Clark in stride up the
right hash mark for a 30-yard completion that set up Robbie Gould's
opening 23-yard field goal.
Cutler couldn't take advantage
against Buffalo's second-string defense and facing a short field after
the drive began at the Bills' 43 after Dominic Rhodes muffed a punt.
Give it time, said Cutler, who noted the Bears rested starting running back Matt Forte and starting tight end Greg Olsen.
just calling base stuff and seeing what happens out there right now,"
Cutler said at the half. "As soon as we start getting into the game
plan, really nailing stuff down, that's when it's really going to
Bears coach Lovie Smith wasn't entirely impressed.
a start," Smith said. "There are some things we would like to have
back, but you have to have a starting spot. ... We'll build from here."
backup Caleb Hanie had a better outing, finishing 8 of 11 for 87 yards,
including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Will Ta'ufo'ou. Basanez bounced
back, hitting Juaquin Iglesias for a 10-yard touchdown. Gould hit two
field goals, including a 50-yarder.
Bills safety Donte Whitner was impressed with how the defense limited Cutler to three points and only two first downs.
excited to come out here and start fast and clean up all the mistakes
we've made," Whitner said after the defense gave up two touchdowns on
the first two series against Tennessee.
Rhodes scored on a 3-yard run, while Rian Lindell hit two field goals.