Chicago Bears: Report Card

Report Card: Bears-Jets

September, 23, 2014
9/23/14
3:22
AM ET

Week 3 Report Card: Bears at Jets

Forte
D

Rushing Offense

Matt Forte scuffled for the second consecutive week with 33 yards on 13 carries (2.5 yards average per rush). Forte didn't have much room to run against a powerful New York Jets front seven. The highlight of the rushing attack occurred when Jay Cutler scrambled for a 16-yard gain. The ground game amounted to an afterthought on Monday night.

Cutler
B+

Passing Offense

A sore ankle limited Brandon Marshall to only one catch for six yards on six targets, but Alshon Jeffery led the offense with eight receptions for 105 yards. Tight end Martellus Bennett hauled in two touchdowns. Cutler finished 23-of-38 for 225 yards. He had no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 94.7. The Bears wanted to exploit a poor Jets secondary. Mission accomplished.

Bears' defense
A

Rushing Defense

New York's dual backfield threat of Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory was contained. Neither running back cracked 45 yards. As a team, the Jets managed to rush for 114 yards on 26 attempts. Rookie defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton stepped up in place of veteran Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion). Stephen Paea played well. So did linebackers Jon Bostic, D.J. Williams and Lance Briggs. The improvement in the run defense since Week 1 is nothing short of remarkable.

Fuller
B-

Passing Defense

The Bears' secondary intercepted a pair of Geno Smith passes, including a Ryan Mundy pick-six on the opening drive of the game. Smith threw for 316 yards (one touchdown), but the secondary battled despite suffering numerous injuries at safety. The Bears' pressure up front (three sacks) -- and Smith's bad decision-making -- contributed to a decent effort defending the pass.

Bears celebrate
B

Special Teams

Another major improvement here. The Bears committed a couple of silly penalties and continue to struggle on kickoff returns, but the coverage units were fantastic the entire night. Special teams even forced a turnover when Ahmad Dixon recovered a muffed Jets punt return. Robbie Gould was 2-for-2 on field goal attempts.

Trestman
A

Coaching

Winning back-to-back road games in the NFL is not easy. The Bears looked prepared to play at MetLife Stadium. And despite losing multiple starters to injury, they find themselves at 2-1 with a Week 4 home date versus the Green Bay Packers. Whatever buttons the Bears pushed leading up to the Jets game worked.

 

Report Card: Bears-49ers

September, 15, 2014
9/15/14
2:07
AM ET

Week 2 Report Card: Bears vs. 49ers

Forte
C-

Rushing Offense

The Bears basically abandoned the run when they fell behind by 17 points. Matt Forte gained only 21 yards on 12 rushing attempts (1.8 yards per carry). The lone highlight came when Cutler scrambled 25 yards. The team tallied just 46 total yards on the ground.

Cutler
B+

Passing Offense

Jay Cutler & Co. hardly moved the ball until Cutler found Brandon Marshall for a 17-yard touchdown late in the first half. Marshall made a remarkable one-handed grab on the play. But Cutler heated up in the final 30 minutes to finish 23-of-34 for 176 yards and four touchdowns (119.2 passer rating). Marshall (three touchdown catches) and Alshon Jeffery gutted out injuries to make serious contributions down the stretch.

Bostic
B+

Rushing Defense

The 49ers had a few long runs (Frank Gore's 54-yard touchdown run was nullified due to a penalty), but the Bears battled in the trenches. Gore finished with a modest 63 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. Carlos Hyde failed to gain a single yard on four attempts. Colin Kaepernick also rushed for 66 yards, but, compared to Week 1, the Bears made enormous strides defending the run.

Allen
A

Passing Defense

The Bears intercepted Kaepernick three times. Two picks came courtesy of rookie Kyle Fuller, who stepped in full time at cornerback in the base defense after Charles Tillman suffered a right triceps injury. Before leaving the game with a shoulder injury, safety Chris Conte had a remarkable diving interception. The Bears also sacked Kaepernick four times.

Lynch
D+

Special Teams

The Bears had a punt blocked and committed a ton of penalties on special teams. It doesn't appear to be an intelligent group at the moment. However, punter Pat O'Donnell had a good night with a 47.6-yard average and a long kick of 52 yards.

Trestman
B+

Coaching

The Bears seemed out of sorts in the first half, but give the team credit for not folding. Head coach Marc Trestman and his staff found a way to squeeze out a victory after being upset last week at Soldier Field by the Buffalo Bills. The season is far from over. The players and coaches both deserve praise for finding a way to win on the road. Never an easy accomplishment in the NFL.

 

Report Card: Bears-Packers

December, 29, 2013
12/29/13
9:50
PM ET

Week 17 Report Card: Bears vs. Packers

Forte
A

Rushing Offense

Two-time Pro Bowler Matt Forte had a fabulous game with 110 rushing yards and two touchdowns (5.0 yards per carry). Forte closed out his 2013 season with 100-plus rushing yards in three of his final four games. The offensive line also deserves its share of the credit for opening up holes, while head coach Marc Trestman contributed to the effort with creative play calls that kept the Packers defense on its heels for a good portion of the second half.

Cutler
B

Passing Offense

Quarterback Jay Cutler finished the game 15-of-24 for 226 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception (on the final play of the game) and a 103.8 passer rating. Overall, it was a fairly good day at the office for Cutler, who was sacked only one time. Alshon Jeffery hauled in a 67-yard reception but failed to snare a deep ball on third-and-17 with 6:38 left in the game that would have sealed the victory for the Bears. Brandon Marshall led the team with six catches for 74 yards.

McCoy
C

Rushing Defense

Believe it or not, this marked an improvement for the Bears run defense. Green Bay rushed for a total of 160 yards and one touchdown on 34 carries (4.7 yards per carry), although no single Packers rusher broke 100 yards. The Bears allowed two runs of more than 17 yards throughout the game (James Starks had a 41-yarder, Eddie Lacy had a 17-yarder). At least the Bears made the Packers earn it on the ground for most of the afternoon.

Foles
D

Passing Defense

The Bears intercepted two Aaron Rodgers passes in the first half (Chris Conte, Tim Jennings), but the Green Bay quarterback still threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns. The second touchdown, the game winner to Randall Cobb, occurred due to a busted coverage. In Week 17, that kind of mental mistake is inexcusable. The Bears sacked Rodgers three times, but Julius Peppers whiffed on the final pass to Cobb, who found himself wide open en route to the end zone.

Hester
B

Special Teams

Devin Hester ran back a punt 49 yards and handled five kickoffs for 127 yards, while the Bears coverage teams limited Green Bays return men to next to nothing. However, Adam Podlesh averaged only 34.3 yards on four punts, just one of those pinning the Packers inside their own 20-yard line.

Trestman
D

Coaching

The Bears had two chances to clinch the NFC North title and failed both times to do so. The 8-8 record represents a two-win decline from 2012, when the Bears went 10-6 in Lovie Smiths final season. Its extremely difficult to give the Bears' coaches high marks when the season ends in such disappointment. The defense ranked near the bottom of the NFL for the majority of the season, and the unit made several key mental mistakes that contributed to Sunday's defeat.

 

Report card: Bears-Vikings

December, 1, 2013
12/01/13
7:40
PM ET

Week 13 Report Card: Minnesota Vikings 23, Chicago Bears 20

Forte
B

Rushing Offense

Despite hyperextending his right knee in last week's loss to the St. Louis Rams, Matt Forte rushed for 120 yards on 23 attempts and became the Bears' second career all-time leader in yards from scrimmage. Michael Bush even made the most of his lone rushing attempt by gaining 15 yards. However, the Bears are still having a difficult time in short-yardage situations and were just 2-of-11 on third downs versus the Vikings.

Jeffery
B+

Passing Offense

Josh McCown didn't play his best game of the season, but he finished with 355 passing yards, two touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 114.9. He was lucky not to have a couple of throws picked up. Alshon Jeffery broke his own franchise record with 249 receiving yards on 12 catches, two for touchdowns. There wasn't a ton of production after Jeffery, with Brandon Marshall finishing second on the team with four receptions for 45 yards.

Peterson
D

Rushing Defense

The Bears sold out to stop Adrian Peterson, especially safety Craig Stetlz -- who recorded a team-high 12 tackles in place of injured starter Major Wright -- but Peterson still crushed the Bears with 211 rushing yards. Bears defenders appeared to be in the correct spot for most of the game, but their tackling was subpar. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson gashed the defense for a 33-yard touchdown run, on which both Steltz and linebacker Khaseem Greene had legitimate shots to bring him down but came up empty.

Cassel
C

Passing Defense

Under no circumstances should Matt Cassel be allowed to enter the game and pass for 243 yards and one touchdown. The Bears had success rushing the quarterback with five sacks, but veterans Greg Jennings, John Carlson and Jerome Simpson had too much room to operate on numerous occasions. Maybe the worst thing to happen to the Bears was Christian Ponder leaving the game with a concussion.

Gould
C-

Special Teams

Robbie Gould is basically automatic from almost any range, but he missed a potential game-winning, 47-yard field goal in overtime, although Marc Trestman made a curious decision to kick it on second down instead of trying to run more plays to give Gould a shorter kick. Devin Hester had an impressive 57-yard kickoff return at the end of regulation, but his decision-making was suspect for most of the afternoon. Punter Adam Podlesh had a 33.7-yard net average. The Bears kicked the ball away from Patterson the entire afternoon, a sound strategy.

Trestman
D

Coaching

Again, it's tough to understand Trestman's decision to attempt the overtime field goal on second down. Forte was averaging 5.2 yards per carry, and the Bears have the luxury of the best long snapper in the NFL, Patrick Mannelly, on the roster. The odds of the Bears screwing up on second or third downs seem remote. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker definitely set a more aggressive tone with his unit, but the results were largely the same.

Report card: Bears-Ravens

November, 17, 2013
11/17/13
8:11
PM ET

Week 11 Report Card: Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens

Forte
B-

Rushing Offense

The Bears did an OK job on the ground versus a physical Ravens defensive front that played without starting nose tackle Haloti Ngata (inactive). Matt Forte carried the ball 18 times for 83 yards, and the Alshon Jeffery end around, a staple in the Bears' offense, gained 17 yards on three attempts. Considering the opposition, the Bears shouldn't be ashamed by their hard-earned 104 rushing yards.

McCown
B+

Passing Offense

Taking into account the conditions on Sunday, Josh McCown's 216 passing yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions -- 92.9 quarterback rating -- look impressive on paper. McCown stepped up in overtime and delivered a 43-yard strike to Martellus Bennett that set up the eventual game-winning field goal. The veteran backup continues to display a knack for protecting the football. McCown hasn't tossed a single interception in 101 pass attempts on the season, and his poise in the pocket on Sunday was a major reason the Bears were victorious.

Rice
D

Rushing Defense

Baltimore entered the game averaging 73 rushing yards per contest but found success on the ground versus the Bears to the tune of 174 yards. Ray Rice, written off by many for his below-average play in 2013, carried the ball 25 times for 131 yards and one touchdown. One of the few saving graces for the Bears' defense was their goal-line stand at the end of regulation that forced the Ravens to kick a field goal and extend the game to overtime. But the rushing defense continues to be a serious problem for the Bears.

Flacco
B+

Passing Defense

The Bears limited Joe Flacco to just 17-of-31 for 162 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The middle of the field was open for much of the game but rookie middle linebacker Jon Bostic did pick off Flacco down the middle of the field, while David Bass snared a Flacco pass at the line of scrimmage and returned it for a touchdown. The Bears also sacked Flacco three times -- Julius Peppers with two and Cheta Ozougwu with one. The Ravens' longest pass play went for 17 yards.

Podlesh
A-

Special Teams

Robbie Gould is the master of the Soldier Field kicking conditions, going 3-for-3 on field goal attempts despite the swirling winds. Adam Podlesh pinned Baltimore inside the 20 on two of his six kicks. The Ravens did little in their return game. A couple special teams penalties did hurt the Bears.

Trestman
B

Coaching

In hindsight, Marc Trestman probably needed to use his timeouts on the Ravens' final drive of regulation. That decision would have cost the Bears if the defense hadn't kept the Ravens out of the end zone and forced them to kick a game-tying field goal. But Trestman dealt with the long weather delay to the best of his abilities, and he had his team ready to play when it returned to the field. The Bears could have easily gone in the tank after the loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 10, but Trestman's group responded with a win that likely saved its season.

Report Card: Packers 21, Bears 13

December, 16, 2012
12/16/12
7:12
PM ET

Week 15 Report Card: Green Bay Packers 21, Chicago Bears 13

Forte
C-

Rushing Offense

The Bears tried to incorporate Matt Forte and handed off to him 20 times. Forte finished with a 3.5-yard average after averaging 4.5 yards per attempt in the first half. It's clear Green Bay made adjustments that enabled it to stop the run. Chicago, meanwhile, failed to adjust to what the Packers did on defense to snuff out the run. The majority of Forte's attempts came in the first half (13). As usual, as soon as the Bears fell behind they seemed to go into strictly passing mode.

Marshall
F

Passing Offense

Brandon Marshall turned in a stellar effort after the catch on a 15-yard touchdown in the second quarter. But the group as a whole struggled and should be held almost totally responsible for the offense failing to convert a third down all game in nine tries. The offensive line gave up four sacks, and Jay Cutler threw an interception that eventually allowed the Packers to take the lead just before halftime. The performance led to Marshall saying the offense should be held accountable, "even if that means jobs." We think Marshall is talking about several people associated with the offense, whether it's players or coaches.

Green
C

Rushing Defense

Like Chicago, the Packers didn't put up big numbers with the rushing attack. But they made timely runs that allowed them to dominate time of possession by nearly seven minutes. Green Bay averaged 3.5 yards per rush but ran the ball 32 times for 113 yards. Chicago played the run fairly well but allowed DuJuan Harris to rip off a 21-yard run and surrendered a 14-yard burst to an aging Ryan Grant.

Jones
D

Passing Defense

Aaron Rodgers finished with a passer rating of 116.8 and threw three touchdown passes to James Jones, who caught five passes for 60 yards. Jones did plenty of damage, but so did Randall Cobb, who finished with 115 yards and averaged 19.2 yards per catch. The Bears gave up six completions for gains of 21 yards or more, including two completions of 31 yards. All the long completions certainly aren't representative of Lovie Smith's bend-but-don't-break style of pass defense. Chicago sacked Rodgers three times, but the secondary failed to slow down the Packers' receivers and couldn't generate any turnovers.

Hester
B+

Special Teams

Devin Hester deserves at least a little credit for trying to fight his way out of the slump he's experienced in the return game. Hester averaged 31.5 yards on two kickoff returns and 14 yards on three punt returns, including a 24-yarder that registered as his longest punt return since Nov. 11. The coverage units limited Cobb to an 18.5-yard average on kickoffs and negative average on punt returns. New Bears kicker Olindo Mare connected on a pair of 34-yard field goals, and punter Adam Podlesh finished with a 40.2-yard net average. Anthony Walters also recovered a fumbled punt for the Bears.

Lovie Smith
D-

Coaching

The coaching staff seemed to have prepared the Bears well for the game, judging from the team's performance in the first half. Where the staff's grade falls is in the adjustments made -- or not made -- at the half and throughout the game. Chicago started off running the ball effectively. Then Green Bay adjusted and shut down the run, and the Bears didn't seem to have an alternative plan to go to. As usual, nobody outside of Brandon Marshall made plays on offense. As usual, the Bears did nothing to remedy the situation. On defense, the Bears sacked Rodgers three times in the first half, but never got to him again.

Report Card: Bears-Eagles

November, 8, 2011
11/08/11
3:22
AM ET



Check out our Bears Center for a complete recap of the Bears' 30-24 victory over the Eagles and grades in six key areas of the game.

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