CHICAGO (AP) -- Matt Leinart had one request for his head coach.
"Call anything," he told Dennis Green.
The rookie clearly was confident.
Leinart showed why the Arizona Cardinals selected him with the
10th pick in the draft, and the Arizona Cardinals beat the Chicago
Bears 23-16 in Friday's preseason game.
He took over for Kurt Warner in the second quarter and completed
15-of-21 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown.
"I feel comfortable with the offense for the most part right
now," Leinart said. "So they called a lot of stuff, and I just
went out there and tried to execute."
He entered the game with 5:13 left in the second quarter and
completed 12 consecutive passes at one point, while leading the
Cardinals (2-1) to a field goal at the end of the first half and a
touchdown early in the third quarter.
Leinart completed all six passes on his second possession as the
Cardinals drove 54 yards in the final minute of the half, Neil Rackers' field goal extending their lead to 10-6.
After Antrel Rolle intercepted Rex Grossman on the opening
possession of the third quarter, Leinart went 4-for-4 as the
Cardinals drove 42 yards against the Bears' first-string defense
for a touchdown that made it 17-6.
"It's awesome," Leinart said. "It's good reps and experience
for me just in case I'm thrown into the mix or if something
happens. I can play at a high level, like Kurt plays at."
Warner wasn't bad, either, going 8-for-11 with 73 yards and
As expected, the Cardinals' Edgerrin James did not play much. He
carried three times for minus-2 yards on the game's opening
possession and did not return. In three preseason games, he has 1
yard on seven attempts.
Grossman was 13-of-21 for 117 yards and an interception after
two rough preseason games for Chicago (1-2) but did little to end
the quarterback debate among fans.
Grossman was booed, and backup Brian Griese was cheered when he
entered with about five minutes left in the third. Then, he went
10-for-14 for 131 yards and a touchdown, and heard a "Griese!
Griese!" chant late in the game.
"Every time he's in there, I see the same looks and he makes
nice passes," Grossman said. "I congratulate him, but as far as
looking over my shoulder, you can't. You just can't. As soon as you
do that, you're done."
Coach Lovie Smith said there's no reason for Grossman to look
over his shoulder.
"He's our No. 1 quarterback," Smith said.
Bears running back Thomas Jones did little to distinguish
himself, rushing for 3 yards on four attempts in the first half
after missing the first two preseason games with a pulled
Jones, who rushed for 1,335 yards last season, was dropped from
No. 1 on the depth chart for missing voluntary offseason workouts.
But the anticipated competition between him and Cedric Benson hit a
snag before the first practice at training camp.
Jones pulled his hamstring while running during a physical on
Benson, meanwhile, got hurt and got into trouble.
The No. 4 overall draft pick in 2005, he missed his third game
with a sprained left shoulder and is questionable for the
preseason-finale at Cleveland. And the Bears disciplined Benson for
leaving the sideline last week against San Diego and missing a
mandatory postgame meeting.
After completing 10-of-25 passes for 130 yards in the first two
preseason games, Grossman hit his first five and led a first-team
offense that was scoreless in the preseason to a field goal on the
Bears' first possession.
The Cardinals took a 7-3 lead early in the second quarter, the
67-yard drive culminating with Warner's 4-yard pass over two
defenders to a leaping Leonard Pope in the right corner of the end
Chicago's Robbie Gould kicked his second field goal -- a
39-yarder -- with 5:21 left in the half to make it 7-6, and he lined
up for a 32-yarder with 1:00 left in the half. But the Bears called
time, went for it on fourth-and-1, and Adrian Peterson got hit for
Leinart, who reported late and passed for 45 yards against New
England last week in his preseason debut, hit Larry Fitzgerald for
a 27-yard pass that helped set up Rackers' 49-yard field goal.
Leinart's 4-yard touchdown pass to Bryant Johnson made it 17-6
early in the third.
"Matt had a lot of poise going in there," Green said. "When
they gave him time, he stood in there and delivered. When they were
all chasing our guys, he stood in there and scrambled for yardage
at some key times. He had a good, solid performance."
Bears defensive end Alex Brown left with a dislocated
shoulder after being taken down by two Cardinals while chasing
James on the game's second play from scrimmage.
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