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Back in action: Bears RB Jordan Howard happy to get live contact vs. Broncos

Bears running back Jordan Howard finds some room against the Broncos. | Jack Dempsey/AP

The Bears had a plan for running back Jordan Howard against the Broncos, and he was all for it. For the bruising back, it was refreshing to get tackled again.

“Yeah, it was because it has been awhile since I’ve had live contact,” said Howard, who played in his first preseason game Saturday. “But I didn’t mind it. It was just good getting back out there with the guys.”

It wasn’t exactly a good night, though, for the Bears’ running game. An aggressive Broncos defense, led by pass rusher Von Miller, linebacker Brandon Marshall and defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, proved to be too much on some plays.

Howard gained only 32 yards on nine carries. He did have runs of 17, 15 and 12 yards, but his 15-yarder was called back because of a holding penalty on left tackle Charles Leno Jr.

On the Bears’ first play from scrimmage, Howard was stopped for no gain by Wolfe, who beat left guard Eric Kush. He also was tackled twice for losses.

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But a preseason game and two practices against the Broncos were “good for us,” Howard said. He was on the field for 21 snaps. Howard left the game when quarterback Mitch Trubisky was replaced by backup Chase Daniel late in the second quarter.

“It felt good getting back out there, getting to run the ball against a different defense, get some hits,” Howard said. “It felt good to get back in rhythm.”

Howard did feel that he failed to make a big play or two, saying the offensive linemen blocked their “butts off.” He singled out Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb’s tackle on his three-yard gain on his second carry.

It was a zone-read option play with Trubisky in which Chubb’s actions were read. A broken tackle against Chubb would’ve turned into a significant gain. Howard had plenty of room to run beyond Chubb.

“That’s what preseason is for — to work on stuff and just get back into the groove — so when the regular season comes, it’ll be full throttle,” Howard said.