CHICAGO – Not exactly a dominant performance by Derek Anderson. Not quite redemption, either, for Matt Leinart, but a win for Arizona.
Anderson and Leinart each threw for a touchdown while delivering solid if not spectacular performances to help the Cardinals beat the Chicago Bears 14-9 in a preseason game Saturday night.
Anderson started after the first-team offense struggled with Leinart, and he responded by completing 7 of 12 passes for 94 yards for Arizona (2-1).
Leinart came in late in the second quarter and was 9 of 10 for 84 yards, with a touchdown pass early in the third that made it 14-0 and sent Chicago (0-3) to another loss.
Lance Briggs sprained an ankle early in the second quarter and sat out the rest of the game, another blow to a linebacking corps already missing Brian Urlacher because of a strained left calf.
It was also a rough night for Jay Cutler, who was sacked four more times after being taken down five times the previous week. He simply fell down on one of them and got intercepted twice, while completing just 10 of 20 passes for 129 yards.
Anderson led the Cardinals to their first touchdown after Calais Campbell blocked Robbie Gould's 38-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in the first quarter. He converted three third-down passes on a 72-yard drive, and Stephen Williams turned a slant underneath into a 27-yard touchdown.
Leinart came on after Cutler's second interception with just over two minutes left in the first half near midfield. Leinart had the Cardinals in position to score after going three-and-out on all three series in a loss to Tennessee on Monday night.
They were on the 15 when Beanie Wells lost a fumble at the 6 after being stripped by Danieal Manning with 52 seconds left, stopping what could have been their first scoring drive of the preseason for Leinart. Leinart finally broke through midway through the third when Steve Breaston caught a 13-yard pass, flying over Chris Harris at the goal line to make it 14-0.
The TD had to feel good for Leinart, who was on the defensive this week after Whisenhunt made the switch. In an interview with the Arizona Republic on Friday, the former Southern California star said he's been "efficient" and "accurate."
Even so, it's been a trying preseason for a quarterback who was penciled in to take over for the retired Kurt Warner. He's been labeled a bust. His arm strength has been questioned, as has his accuracy downfield.
It doesn't help that the receivers have been hit hard by injuries, most notably Larry Fitzgerald.
The four-time Pro Bowler sprained his right knee in the first preseason game against Houston on a nasty hit from Eugene Wilson while catching a pass over the middle from Leinart. He is not expected back until the season opener, leaving the Cardinals without their top target, and the rest of the receiving corps isn't a picture of health.
Early Doucet was back after missing a game with an abdominal strain and caught a 2-yard pass, but Darren Mougey (broken hand) and Andre Roberts (shoulder) were out. So was tight end Ben Patrick (knee), who missed his third game.
Notes: The Bears got a 22-yard field goal from Gould and a 3-yard TD pass from Dan LeFevour to Juaquin Iglesias in the fourth quarter. Gould also had a 48-yard field goal hit off the left upright midway through the second quarter. ... Hunter Hillenmeyer started at middle linebacker in Urlacher's place. ... The Bears had Israel Idonije start at left defensive end over Mark Anderson. ... Chicago closes out the preseason at Cleveland on Thursday. ... Arizona FB Nathan Broughton sprained his knee in the second quarter.