Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Streaking and Slumping: Week 2
By Michael C. Wright
Robbie Gould is 5-for-5 on field goals while Kellen Davis didn't protect Jay Cutler very well Sunday.
1. Matt Forte, RB: Forte comprised the majority of Chicago's offense for the second consecutive week. He's responsible for 52 percent of the team's net yardage over two games, and generated 67.5 percent of the team's offensive production Sunday in a dismal showing against the New Orleans Saints. The running back continues to put up numbers worthy of the lucrative extension he seeks, despite playing for $600,000. Look for Forte's rushing numbers to increase with coach Lovie Smith making the declaration on Monday the Bears will be more balanced with the pass/run ratio in the coming games.
2. Robbie Gould, K: Gould is 4-for-4 on extra-point kicks, and more importantly 5 of 5 on field goals, including 2 of 2 on attempts from distances of 40 to 49 yards. With the Bears struggling in the red zone, Gould has been the team's saving grace thus far this season. On kickoffs, Gould has allowed just three returns this season because most of his balls sail through the end zone for touchbacks. Gould currently ranks seventh in the league in scoring (19 points) among kickers, just three points away from the league lead.
3. Lance Briggs, LB: Briggs took heat for his demands for a raise heading into the season, and the scrutiny increased when the veteran contributed just three tackles in the opener against the Atlanta Falcons. While Briggs pieced together a solid performance against the Falcons, critics pointed to the low tackle totals in trying to justify the linebacker producing a bad game. But against the Saints, Briggs quietly racked up 11 tackles (10 solo), and appears well on the way to his eighth-straight 100-plus tackle season.
1. Kellen Davis, TE: Playing in a contract year, Davis hasn't provided enough evidence for the Bears to sign him to another contract. Two weeks in a row missed blocks by Davis resulted in quarterback Jay Cutler taking punishing shots, including a sack against the Saints that led to a fumble. The team lauded Davis' pedigree as a blocker coming into the season, but he hasn't justified it with his play. On the receiving end, he's been targeted six times, coming up with just two catches for 23 yards.
2. J'Marcus Webb, OT: It's not that he's playing horribly. But Webb has been mediocre at best through the first two games, which isn't good enough when you're protecting Cutler's blind side. Webb gave up two sacks in the opener, and played a role in the quarterback's tough outing against the Saints. Given Webb's tremendous physical gifts, the second-year veteran should be playing better. Webb will continue to improve with experience, but the truth is Cutler and the Bears' offense doesn't have time to wait.
3. Major Wright, S: Wright drew skepticism during the preseason with some missed tackles, and compounded that with a couple of mistakes Sunday against the Saints. Wright played a role in the 79-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter from Drew Brees to Devery Henderson. But in Wright's defense, the team was in a nickel 2 look on the play, and Henderson blew past D.J. Moore without the nickel corner so much as laying a hand on the receiver to slow him up, and give the safety time to get over the top.