Week 2 takeaways: Justin Fields sharp in lone drive as Bears cruise

Sports

The Seattle Seahawks and Chicago Bears kicked off Week 2 of the preseason Thursday in Seattle.

Second-year quarterback Justin Fields looked sharp for the Bears in his lone drive to begin the game, while Seahawks starter Geno Smith and the offensive unit struggled to pick up first downs in their first couple of drives.

Chicago was able to set the tone early to earn its second win in the preseason, while Seattle went the entire first quarter without getting a first down. The Seahawks were finally able to get one on their third drive, before punting the ball away for a third time.

Smith, vying for the starting job once the season starts, played the entire first half in an attempt to make his case.

Week 2 will continue Friday with three more games before wrapping up on Monday Night Football with the Atlanta Falcons at the New York Jets (8 p.m. ET, ESPN).

Here are the biggest takeaways from the Thursday night game, along with the rest of the Week 2 preseason schedule:

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NFL preseason game Thursday, Aug. 18

Bears: The Bears’ starting offense saw limited action on a short week and was done after 10 plays in Seattle. Fields strung together an opening drive that culminated in a field goal — the first-team unit’s first scoring drive of the preseason — after he went 5-for-7 for 39 yards. Fields didn’t have more than three completions on any of his first offensive possessions in 2021 and threw for 39 (or more) yards on an opening drive only once (Week 6 against the Green Bay Packers), a sign that his execution and operation of the offense are coming along.

Fields is being pressured at one of the highest rates in the NFL (44% of his dropbacks) while Chicago is still trying to sort out its offensive line, notably with Teven Jenkins now in the mix to start at right guard. But we can already see the tendencies of this new-look Bears scheme take shape. The expectation of a heavy dose of play-action and bootlegs showed up Thursday with two of Field’s pass attempts coming on designed rollouts, including his 19-yard completion to tight end Cole Kmet. Last season, Fields had only 18 attempts on designed rollouts, and he completed 78% of those with two touchdowns. — Courtney Cronin

Next game: at Cleveland, 7 p.m. ET, Aug. 27

Seahawks: The Seahawks’ quarterback competition seems no closer to being decided after their ugly loss to the Bears. With COVID-19 sidelining Drew Lock for what would have been his first start of the summer, Smith had a chance to widen his lead but he didn’t do anything with it.

Seattle’s six full possessions (excluding the final one in the closing seconds of the first half) with Smith under center ended with five punts (three of them after three-and-outs) and a missed 47-yard field goal. Not that it was all Smith’s fault. He was victimized by three drops and several penalties. He also had Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf on the field for just one possession, then lost starting left guard Damien Lewis to an ankle injury.

Smith then watched the second half with an ice wrap over his right knee. Lock’s bout with COVID was a significant setback in his quest to overtake Smith, but Smith’s underwhelming night keeps the door open. Lock will need a strong showing in next week’s preseason finale at Dallas to convince coach Pete Carroll that he’s the guy — and he probably needs Smith to struggle again as well. — Brady Henderson

Next game: at Dallas, 8 p.m. ET, Aug. 26

NFL preseason games Friday

Carolina Panthers at New England Patriots: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers: 8 p.m. ET
Houston Texans at Los Angeles Rams: 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network

NFL preseason games Saturday

Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills: 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts: 1 p.m. ET
Washington Commanders at Kansas City Chiefs: 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Tennessee Titans: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Las Vegas Raiders at Miami Dolphins: 7 p.m. ET
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings: 7 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars: 7 p.m. ET
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers: 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network

NFL preseason games Sunday

Philadelphia Eagles at Cleveland Browns: 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants: 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals: 8 p.m. ET, Fox

NFL preseason games Monday

Atlanta Falcons at New York Jets: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

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