EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's difficult to truly gauge whether the Chicago Bears failed their most significant test of the preseason Friday in a 20-17 victory over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium.
On one hand, the first-team offense struggled to put up points as quarterback Jay Cutler appeared to be out of sync with the receivers, while the rushing attack was virtually nonexistent through the first two quarters. But looking at the performance from a positive perspective, despite the line allowing pressure, it never gave up a sack -- which at least shows some progress from this unit, which was expected to struggle tremendously against an elite Giants defensive line.
It's also important to note the Bears leave MetLife Stadium fairly healthy with no major injuries reported by the team.
“We're doing some things, but not good enough,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said at halftime.
The question now is whether the team can turn things around before the start of the regular season.
Chicago's defense allowed the Giants to convert 43 percent of third downs in the first half, which led to the Bears falling behind 17-7 at the half. Giants' rookie David Wilson averaged 9.8 yards per attempt against the Bears, while Matt Forte -- playing behind an ineffective line -- rushed for four yards on eight attempts in the first half. That's right, 18 inches per carry.
“We're in a good place. We're heading in the right direction,” Cutler said. “We just need to clean up a few things. Really, it's communication things, which (are) the easiest part to clean up.
Physically, we're in the right place. We're doing the right things. We just have to execute a little better.”
What it means: The Bears need to make several corrections and adjustments over the next 16 days with the Sept. 9 regular-season opener against the Indianapolis Colts looming. Realistically, the club exhausted its last real opportunity in the preseason to make live-game evaluations on potential starters because the Bears won't play any of the front-line contributors in the exhibition finale Aug. 30 at Cleveland.
Typically, the bottom of the roster is decided by performances in the final game of the preseason.
What's next: Roster cuts come Monday, with the team needing to trim its current 90-man roster down to the 75-player limit. Over the next few days, the club will engage in preparations for the final preseason game at Cleveland, with roster cutdown to the final 53-man limit coming on Aug. 31.