Hanie: Room for improvement
CHICAGO – Bears backup quarterback Caleb Hanie described his performance as average in Saturday’s 10-3 win against the Buffalo Bills.
Hanie scored the game’s only touchdown on a 4-yard run in the second quarter, but he also made a couple of mistakes. He finished the game 3 for 7 for 32 yards and was sacked three times.
“It’s kind of a middle-of-the-road performance for me,” Hanie said. “I had a good drive there, but I missed a couple of throws I’d like to have back. I was just a little bit off on some of the throws.”
Hanie replaced starting quarterback Jay Cutler after the Bears’ first series and played the remainder of the first half. He finished the game with a 56.8 passer rating.
Bears coach Lovie Smith praised Hanie for leading the Bears on a nine-play, 52-yard scoring drive in the second quarter. Hanie split the middle of the Bills’ defense for a 4-yard touchdown.
“I thought he did a great job on that touchdown drive,” Smith said.
Staying back: The Bears ignored a new NFL rule that pushed kickoffs from the 30-yard-line to the 35-yard-line, opting to kick from 5 yards back at the 30-yard-line throughout the game.
Smith said the Bears’ coaching staff wanted to challenge its kickoff coverage teams.
“We know Robbie Gould can kick it from the 35, [and] he can kick it out each time,” Smith said. “We would not really get a good evaluation of what we could do coverage-wise. That’s what we were trying to get done with it.”
Early exits: Three Bears players left Saturday’s game early because of injuries.
Bears defensive end Corey Wootton injured his knee on the opening kickoff and did not return to the game. The injury was a tough break for Wootton, who has impressed coaches during training camp and figured to receive plenty of work during the preseason opener.
Bears defensive tackle Marcus Harrison (shoulder) and cornerback Zackary Bowman (head) also left the game because of injuries. Both players walked off of the field under their own power.
Quiet start: Twelve Bears players caught at least one pass against the Bills, but free agent acquisition Roy Williams was not one of them.
Williams received limited playing time in the first quarter and was not targeted for a pass.
“You always wish for more, but at the end of the day, we got done what we had to get done,” Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. “We’ll go to practice Monday and keep working.”
Bears bits: Defensive tackle Anthony Adams, linebacker J.T. Thomas and linebacker Chris Johnson did not play Saturday because of injuries. … The official attendance for the Bears’ preseason opener was 46,073 fans. There were 13,262 unused tickets for the game.