KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Bears may have learned more about quarterbacks Erik Kramer and Steve Walsh on Monday night than they did about their ancillary players, at least 10 of whom must be cut to reach Tuesday's 60-man roster limit.
The Bears climbed to 3-0 for the preseason with a 21-18 comeback victory over Kansas City before a crowd of 75,114, largest to watch a Chiefs exhibition since 1973. They saw the first contest played on the new natural grass surface at Arrowhead Stadium.
Walsh rallied the Bears from an 18-13 deficit with a four-play, 80-yard drive featuring his 32-yard touchdown pass to Tyrone Williams for a 19-18 Bears lead. Then Walsh passed to tight end Ryan Wetnight for the first two-point conversion in club history.
The Bears stopped the Chiefs at the 4-yard line when Steve Bono tripped as he dropped back on fourth down, and linebacker Myron Baker was credited with a sack with :46 remaining.
"Steve Walsh performed the way he is capable of performing," said coach Dave Wannstedt. "And if you take away one play from Erik (a Mark Collins interception for a TD), you can look at things from a different perspective."
Starting Chiefs quarterback Joe Montana and receiver J.J. Birden teamed up to keep the Bears' defense off balance in the first half as Kansas City took a 15-3 lead.
The defense allowed its first touchdown of the preseason when Montana guided the Chiefs on a 12-play, 92-yard first-quarter drive that consumed 5 minutes, 41 seconds. It culminated with an 8-yard TD pass from Montana to Birden.
"I looked over at Joe and said, `Hey, take it easy, this is only the preseason,' " said Bears cornerback Donnell Woolford, who was proud that the defense was not burned for a big play.
The Chiefs then added a two-point conversion when Bono passed to tight end Jimmy Johnson. Montana was 5 for 7 on the drive and ran once for 9 yards.
In the second period, the Bears salvaged a long penalty-revived march lasting 8:39 with a 32-yard field goal by Kevin Butler.
A 50-yard attempt by Butler was blocked earlier in the series, but the Chiefs' Neil Smith was offside, giving the Bears a first down at the 27. They advanced to the 15 before Kramer (11 of 16 for 120 yards and one interception) missed a wide-open Tom Waddle in the end zone. Butler then converted the three-pointer.
"We saw a lot of good things in the game," said Wannstedt. "We made some sloppy plays, had some drops and made some penalties, but we're going to look for the good things."
The Bears got the ball right back when Chris Zorich forced a fumble by Kimball Anders and Alonzo Spellman recovered at the K.C. 15 with 8:02 left in the half.
A holding penalty on Mark Bortz set the Bears back to the 25 before Tim Worley caught a 14-yard screen pass. Worley rushed to the 6 on second down, had no gain on third down and lost two yards on fourth down.
The Chiefs took advantage of a Bears miscue to take a 15-3 halftime lead. Kramer's pass intended for Williams was intercepted by cornerback Collins and returned 30 yards for a touchdown.
"It was a learning experience," Kramer said. "I just made the throw to the wrong guy."
The Bears' first-team defense was picked apart by Montana, who was 13 of 20 for 141 yards and one TD. Stops by Carl Simpson, Trace Armstrong, Zorich and Spellman prevented more scores.
The Bears closed to 15-6 at 8:40 of the third period when Butler booted a 42-yard field goal after Kramer led a 10-play, 64-yard drive, including passes of 12 yards to Waddle and 17 to tight end Chris Gedney.
Lin Elliott booted a 37-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the Chiefs ahead 18-6. It was set up by an interception when Walsh's toss bounced off the hands of receiver Greg Primus and into the hands of Jay Taylor at the Bears' 24.
Walsh pulled the Bears within 18-13 with 8:37 left when he passed 4 yards to tight end Keith Jennings to cap an 11-play, 67-yard drive. It included an impressive 10-yard run by tailback Robert Green and passes of 17 yards to Williams, 7 to Wetnight and 10 to rookie back Antonio Carter.