CHICAGO — On his first third-down rush in a Bears uniform, Jared Allen bent the edge, appeared to have a clear step on Jaguars left tackle Luke Joeckel and closed in on quarterback Chad Henne.
It was about to be the most apt of beginnings to his Bears career, but…
“I know,” lamented a grinning Allen in the locker room following the Bears’ 20-19 preseason victory over the Jaguars. "I still think it was a holding call – I think the one penalty they didn’t call tonight. All I know is, everything was in like slow motion, and I’m like, ‘oh I’m going to smash this dude in the back of the neck,’ and then all of the sudden he kind of bailed out and I was on the ground.”
Allen might not have registered a sack in his Chicago debut, but he said there were plenty of positives to build on. He generated a few solid rushes – and even pursued down the line like his hair was on fire for a stop behind the line of scrimmage.
If there were any first-game jitters with a new club, Allen wasn’t about to share with us after the game. He laughed off a question regarding any anxiety, saying “I don’t get nervous – I get excited. Football’s a fun game.” Allen said. If anything, he was more focused than usual to gauge his place with a new club.
Allen appeared to be having a blast with his new teammates Thursday night. He praised the inside guys, who he admitted make his life easier out on the edge. Defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who was in on the only sack of the evening, appeared equally excited to have Allen and the whole unit intact for the first time.
“If you look from left to right, we have Pro Bowl players in there,” Paea said. “I’m just excited because I believe we can be a great defense.”
Allen and Paea agreed the continued emphasis of the officials on littering the field with laundry – the two teams combined for 21 penalties for 206 yards – was frustrating, but Allen quipped that the roughing the passer flag that helped position the Bears for the game-winning score is one he didn’t necessarily agree on.
“Granted, I’m glad they called the roughing the passer for us, but looking at that replay, in my opinion that’s not a roughing the passer call. And if it is, I’m hosed – because I’m going to get about 20 of those this year.”
Allen took a few minutes to joke with reporters, but it didn’t take long for his attention to turn to Seattle next week, and the home opener against Buffalo just three weeks from now. Allen said he doesn’t have to feel bad about missing a sack tonight, in a game that didn’t mean much.
Paea expressed the ultimate confidence his near rush will lead to different results in Week One.
“He has 120-plus sacks in his career,” said Paea. “He knows how to get home. And I know come Buffalo, he’ll do it.”