GLENDALE—Mike Glennon was better – not great, but better – in the Bears’ 24-23 preseason victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday night.Glennon, just 2 for 8 for 20 yards last week in the Bears preseason opener, played the entire first half in Arizona, completing 13 of 18 passes for 89 yards.
”I thought it was a big improvement,” Bears coach John Fox said. ”I thought the whole offense responded, including Mike.”
Glennon was picked off by Tyrann Mathieu as the Bears were threatening to score but bounced back to throw his first touchdown pass of the preseason.
”The turnover wasn’t a good thing but the way we responded was more important,” Glennon said. ”I thought all our guys responded well, bounced back and got that touchdown drive.”
Mitchell Trubisky, the Bears’ rookie who had an outstanding debut in the preseason opener, played most of the second half. He wasn’t quite as spectacular this time but a solid 6 for 8 for 60 yards and a score. He was sacked once and had a would-be interception dropped.The biggest play of the night came from Deonte Thompson, who returned a missed Arizona field goal 109 yards for a touchdown as the first half ended.Phil Dawson, who has never kicked one longer than 56 yards in his 18 NFL seasons, attempted a 63-yarder with a second to play in the half and was short and wide right.
”Phil kicks 65-yard field goals every day in practice so why not try one in the game?” Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. ”That one’s on me.”
Thompson fielded the miss a step inside the end line and dodged tackles all the way downfield for the score.
”I’ve never had one returned like that, that I can remember off the top of my head,” Dawson said.
The Cardinals nearly pulled out the win behind Blaine Gabbert.After Arizona recovered a late onside kick attempt, Gabbert threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ross with nine seconds to play, but the two-point conversion try fell incomplete.The Bears were up 3-0 and had driven to the Arizona 11 when Mathieu stepped in front of intended receiver Kendall Wright, picked off Glennon’s pass and returned it 52 yards to the Bear 43.
”It was just a ball I shouldn’t have thrown,” Glennon said, ”just a bad decision.”
The Cardinals needed 11 plays to drive for the touchdown. Chris Johnson was stuffed on third-and-goal from the 1 but Arizona went for it on fourth down. Palmer found tight end Jermaine Gresham in the back of the end zone and the Cardinals led 7-3.After the Bears held Arizona’s second offensive unit deep in its own territory, Glennon directed the Bears on a six-play, 44-yard drive, capped by a 7-yard touchdown pass to Wright to make it 10-7 with 36 seconds left in the half.David Johnson barely played for Arizona, gaining 3 yards in three carries.
”He doesn’t need to get tackled that much,” Arians said. ”Get the feel for the game, he and Larry (Fitzgerald) both, and get him out.”
Palmer was 9 for 14 for 67 yards and a touchdown.
”Carson was not as sharp as he’s been,” Arians said. ”We didn’t get a lot of work against these guys for him and it showed.”
Gabbert played the entire second half, completing 14 of 25 for 174 yards with one interception. He ran 4 yards for a score.With Jordan Howard and Jeremy Langford out with injuries, rookie Tarik Cohen started at running back for the Bears and was impressive. The 5-foot-6, 181-pound fourth-round pick out of North Carolina A&T carried 11 times for 77 yards.
”That’s the mainstay of my game, being a speedy back with a low center of gravity,” Cohen said, ”so I’m hard to tackle.”
Arians said his starters ”tackled really poorly.”
Robert Aguayo, a 2016 second-round draft pick released by Tampa Bay earlier in the week, missed a 49-yarder wide right in his first field goal try for the Bears.The Bears were without 14 players to start the game due to injuries. The most recent additions were defensive end Akiem Hicks (Achilles) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring).