5 big takeaways from the Cardinals' loss to the Bears

5 big takeaways from the Cardinals' loss to the Bears
Posted at 10:16 PM, Aug 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-20 12:18:08-04

After Saturday night's performance, the Arizona Cardinals probably didn't do much to assure fans they'll improve upon last season's disappointment.

Nonetheless, fans should be encouraged by some impressive individual efforts in their team's 24-23 loss to the visiting Chicago Bears at University of Phoenix Stadium. 

Here are five big takeaways from the game.

1. Gabbert looks good again.

The Cardinals' third-string quarterback had his second impressive outing of the preseason. After completing 11 of 14 passes for 185 yards in the Hall of Fame Game two weeks ago, Blaine Gabbert completed 14 of 25 passes for 174 yards Saturday vs. Chicago.

Gabbert scrambled for a 4-yard touchdown run in the third quarter...

...and after the Cardinals recovered an onside kick late in the game, Gabbert led the Cardinals down the field for a touchdown, capped by a great throw in the back of the end zone to wide receiver Jeremy Ross. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful, but still -- quite a showing once again by the former first-round draft pick.

2. Great play by the Badger.

As mentioned in our review of the Cardinals' starters, safety Tyrann Mathieu made the best play of the first half for the home team, intercepting this pass by Mike Glennon and returning it 52 yards the other way to set up the Cards' only first-half touchdown.

3. Offensive line struggles.

The Cardinals' starters on the offensive line did not perform well Saturday night, and their reserves didn't do much better.

Arizona's running backs had little room to move (26 yards on 16 carries), and the Cards' quarterbacks often had little time to throw. Yes, it's only the preseason, but this unit simply has to improve before the regular season begins.

4. Brandon Williams steps up.

After inconsistent performances throughout training camp and in the Cardinals' first two preseason games, second-year cornerback Brandon Williams was rock solid throughout Saturday's matchup. He recorded a team-high five tackles and had a pair of crucial pass breakups in the second half, the latter of which almost resulted in an interception.

If Williams keeps it up, he just might supplant veteran CB Justin Bethel for the starting job heading into the regular season, although Bethel had a decent outing of his own Saturday.

5. This crazy play ended the first half.

There's no chance this play would have occurred in the regular season, because there's no chance the Cardinals will allow kicker Phil Dawson to attempt a 63-yard field goal in the regular season.

Nonetheless, we'd be remiss if we didn't include this extraordinary play that ended the first half Saturday. Dawson, whose career-long field goal is 56 yards, came up well short on this attempt, leading to a 109-yard return for a touchdown by Bears wide receiver Deonte Thompson to give Chicago a 17-7 lead at halftime.