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Sunday, September 8, 2013
Report Card: Bears-Bengals

By Jeff Dickerson

Week 1 Report Card: Chicago Bears 24, Cincinnati Bengals 21

Forte
C-

Rushing Offense

Rushing yards were tough to come by against the talented Bengals front seven. Matt Forte averaged only 2.6 yards per carry (19 attempts, 50 yards), while Michael Bush carried the ball at just 2.5 yards per clip on six handoffs. Jay Cutler seemed to have the most success scrambling out of the pocket late in the game, although the Bears did convert a key fourth-down run at the critical juncture in the second half.

Cutler
B+

Passing Offense

With the exception of one interception, Cutler appeared to have command of the passing attack, completing 21 of 33 passes for 242 yards and a pair of touchdown strikes, plus the INT. No surprise, Brandon Marshall was again the Bears focal point through the air, catching eight balls for 104 yards and a score. But Cutler also spread the ball around to Martellus Bennett, Alshon Jeffery, Earl Bennett and Forte. The fact Cutler wasnt sacked a single time also contributed to the successful passing offense.

Green-Ellis
A-

Rushing Defense

The Bengals ran the ball just 21 total times but the Bears surrendered next to nothing on the ground outside of a BenJarvus Green-Ellis five-yard touchdown. The longest run of the day for Cincinnati came on a 14-yard end around to Marvin Jones. The Bears linebackers filled their gaps nicely. Lance Briggs played like the Pro Bowler he is versus the run, and middle linebacker D.J. Williams showed little rust after missing the entire preseason due to a calf injury. Strong side linebacker James Anderson was also solid.

Green
D

Passing Defense

A.J. Green took what he wanted against a dehydrated Charles Tillman, torching the Bears secondary for nine catches for 162 yards and one touchdown. Green also drew a pass interference penalty that gave Cincinnati the ball inside the Bears 5-yard line. Green was dominant. The only saving grace for the Bears is that Tillman intercepted two passes and Tim Jennings forced and recovered a fumble. Otherwise, the pass defense was non-existent for much of the afternoon. So was the pass rush against Andy Dalton. That didnt help matters.

Gould
B+

Special Teams

Robbie Gould gave the Bears a lift going into halftime when he nailed a franchise record 58-yard field goal. Gould also put all five of his kickoffs into the back of the end zone and the coverage units limited Adam Jones to a single 13-yard punt return. Adam Podlesh punted well for the Bears and Devin Hester ran back a kickoff 31 yards. The Bears were unable to get anything going on punt return.

Trestman
A-

Coaching

Head coach Marc Trestman made a gutsy call to go for it on fourth down in his NFL debut and it turned out to be the right call. The Bears also did an excellent job helping up front against the Bengals highly paid defensive line and the overall offensive attack had balance (33 passes, 28 rushing attempts). The Bears were slow to adjust on Green but eventually managed to apply some defensive pressure late in the game. Trestman looked like Vince Lombardi compared to Marvin Lewis. If we were grading the Bengals coaching staff, they would get an F.