Quarterback Jay Cutler made it through Friday's trip to New Jersey without a concussion -- last time he was in Jersey, he did get a concussion -- but it was about the only positive for the Bears offense during a 20-17 preseason win over the New York Giants.
Cutler completed 9 of 21 for 96 yards, including a TD pass to WR Brandon Marshall, but the offense's inability to run the ball and achieve any consistency left them down 17-7 at halftime.
"We just looked off tonight," Cutler said. "Our communication was lacking. We missed some stuff we should have hit. We left a few plays out there. I thought the offensive line did a good job pass-blocking. We have to get the run game going a little bit. So there is work to be done, but we were right there in the game.”
The Bears' first-team offense produced a drive resulting in a field goal in the third quarter against the Giants' second-team defense, then Jason Campbell came on at quarterback.
The Bears ran for 94 yards on 27 carries, but 24 of those yards came on one Matt Forte third-quarter run against Giants reserves. The Bears had only 9 rushing yards on 6 carries from backs against the Giants' first-team defense in the first half. If not for a 19-yard Devin Hester run on an end-around play, they would have had 7 total rushing yards in the first half.
"For us to be able to pass, we've got to be able to run the football better," coach Lovie Smith said. "It's kind of as simple as that."
Is there a third option? Neither left tackle combatant achieved what offensive coordinator Mike Tice wanted to see. They both struggled, but Chris Williams seemed to have an even worse time against Osi Umenyiora than J'Marcus Webb. Both had plenty of help as running backs or tight ends often wound up on that side of the line in a cautious approach to protect Cutler's blind side. Williams got caught in his stance as Umenyiora rolled right past him twice in the first half.
After the game, Webb said it would be great if the battle was deemed a done deal as the team heads into the fourth preseason game, which, presumably, would mean he had won.
"I would like some resolution, but that's not up to me," he said.
Webb did throw a decent seal block on Forte's 24-yard run around left end, but the play came against a backup Giants defense in the second half.
No pass rush: The first-team defense looked almost as unimpressive as the offense, with Eli Manning completing 17 of 21 passes for 148 yards without really being challenged by the pass rush. Manning achieved a 111.9 passer rating in a half of play.
Proving ground: Punter Ryan Quigley, attempting to show he can be a replacement for injured Adam Podlesh, averaged just 38.1 yards on eight punts, but one was blocked, the result of a completely blown blocking scheme. Personal protector Harvey Unga whiffed on a block attempt to cause the jail break. Unga is in a situation as a backup running back where he needs to show special-teams skills to make the team.
Food for thought: Rookie CB Isaiah Frey, needing to show he can make big plays in order to make the team, produced a game-clinching interception in the end zone. Mark LeGree, a safety acquired this past week, stripped the ball, but the Bears didn't come up with it. With so many injuries at safety, LeGree may get a lot of playing time in the fourth preseason game.
Follow Bears reporter Gene Chamberlain on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLCHI.