SEATTLE — A primary question going into Friday night’s game against the Seattle Seahawks concerned the latest in the competition between Jimmy Clausen and Jordan Palmer for the job of Jay Cutler’s backup. How much was added to the debate was not clear amid the carnage of a 34-6 loss against one of the NFL’s top defenses.
Palmer succeeded Cutler for the third quarter, and Clausen took over in the fourth. The offense managed two field goals under Clausen, who completed 6-of-9 passes for 36 yards, while Palmer struggled more at times in his quarter of work but still was able to complete 7-of-10 throws.
Palmer replaced Cutler to open the quarter, was sacked on his second snap and did not appear to advance his case to become Cutler’s backup. He did manage one drive of 28 yards to the Seattle 29 in the third quarter but threw high to an open Josh Morgan for a failed third-down conversion (the Bears missed a 47-yard field goal on the next play).
Palmer finished with a passer rating of 80.4.
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“You want to put points on the board, and when you don’t, it’s frustrating,” Palmer said. “We got the ball, a chance to get some momentum going and weren’t able to complete drives. A couple of plays I wanted back, but we’ll come back next week and see about completing some of those drives.”
The offense also was called twice for delay of game penalties in Palmer’s third possession, and he badly missed a short throw in the flat to running back Shaun Draughn.
Clausen, as he did in the preseason opener against the Philadelphia Eagles, worked with the No. 3 offense and accounted for the Bears’ only scoring of the game. He maneuvered the offense into the red zone but overthrew receiver Amanti Edwards in the end zone against tight coverage on a pass that gave his receiver or no one a chance at the catch.
“You’re just trying to put the offense in position to score,” said Clausen, who finished with a 74.3 rating.
The Bears, scoreless under Cutler and Palmer, then managed a 30-yard Robbie Gould field goal. That was followed by another drive inside the Seattle 20 that came up short and resulted in a second Gould field goal, this time from 38 yards.
A secondary question did arise during the first half, however, as to how much help the Bears failed to give Cutler.
Dropped passes and protection breakdowns (two sacks) combined with Cutler’s own accuracy issues to produce zero points in his two quarters of play, finishing with 12-for-20 passing for 157 yards, his first interception of the preseason and a passer rating of 64.0. But that’s for another time.