Jay Cutler gave Bears fans every reason to be optimistic in his first game of the preseason Saturday night at Soldier Field.
Cutler threw a 41-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on the Bears' first offensive play as the Bears' first-team offense drove 81 yards on eight plays in less than three minutes as the Bears took a quick 7-0 lead against the Washington Redskins.
The opening drive was almost everything the Bears' "explosive" offensive is purported to be this season. Cutler hit Marshall for a 20-yard gain, then connected with rookie Alshon Jeffery on a 16-yard gain to the Redskins' 1-yard line. On first-and-goal, running back Michael Bush followed Tyler Clutts, Kyle Adams and Roberto Garza and went into the end zone virtually untouched for a 7-0 lead. Even in the best of times, it might have taken two or three cracks at it in recent years.
Cutler was 7-of-13 for 122 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bears took a 17-0 lead in the first quarter.
''It's fun to get back out there,'' Cutler said. ''Last game [the opener vs. the Broncos] it was tough to have to only watch. We had a good week of practice. I thought there was a lot more intensity and a bigger sense of urgency from the guys. We threw the first one to [Marshall] and we started rolling a bit.''
Marshall had the two receptions for 61 yards. Jeffery added three receptions for 62 yards. Bush gained 21 yards on five carries, but scored two touchdowns.
''We have a lot of guys who can play football,'' Cutler said. ''You bring in the second-team running back and he's making guys miss in the hole and scoring touchdowns. W have rookie wide receivers out here playing and we have our regular guys, so we have some guys who can play,
''The offensive line knows it starts with them and if they play well we'll take care of the rest.''