NFC North: 2013 Report Cards

Report card: Bears at Eagles

December, 23, 2013
12/23/13
1:37
AM ET

Week 16 Report Card: Bears vs. Eagles

Forte
F

Rushing Offense

The Bears completely abandoned the run game when the Eagles jumped out to an early lead. Matt Forte finished with only nine carries for 29 yards. Michael Bush had seven rushing attempts for 20 yards in garbage time. This is especially disappointing because Forte had topped 100 rushing yards in each of the last three games leading into Sunday night.

Cutler
D+

Passing Offense

Jay Cutler had a handful of beautiful throws, but overall he connected on just 20-of-35 passes for 222 yards and one touchdown, with one interception that Philadelphia returned for a score. Cutler's quarterback rating was 73.8. In defense of Cutler, the Bears' pass protection was miserable. Cutler got sacked five times and was hit countless others. Forte had a particularly bad night picking up the blitz, an area he had really thrived in for the bulk of the season.

McCoy
F

Rushing Defense

Philadelphia ran for 289 yards and four touchdowns. Both LeSean McCoy (133 yards, two touchdowns) and Bryce Brown (115 yards, one touchdown) had monster nights versus the Bears' 32nd-ranked rushing defense. The Bears haven't been able to stop anybody on the ground for much of the year. That is not expected to change.

Foles
D-

Passing Defense

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was near perfect in the passing game: 21-of-25 for 230 yards, two touchdowns and a 131.7 passer-rating. The Bears did sack Foles twice, but on most occasions he had way too much time to stand in the pocket and survey the field. Foles is a master of the check-down. The Bears could never figure out how to stop him.

Hester
D-

Special Teams

The Bears had one of the worst special-teams sequences in recent memory in the first quarter when Adam Podlesh had a 25-yard punt on the game's opening drive that gave Philadelphia the ball on the Bears' 43-yard line, and then Devin Hester fumbled a kickoff return. Both times, the Eagles scored a touchdown thanks to the short field the Bears' mistakes provided. Robbie Gould did kick a 50-yard field goal.

Trestman
F

Coaching

Even with the opportunity to win the NFC North outright, the Bears came out flat and looked totally unprepared to deal with whatever the Eagles threw at them on both sides of the ball. When that happens, the coaching staff will shoulder a large chunk of the blame.

 

Report Card: Bears-Cowboys

December, 10, 2013
12/10/13
2:10
AM ET

Week 14 Report Card: Bears vs. Cowboys

Forte-McCown
A-

Rushing Offense

The Bears offensive line opened up large holes for Matt Forte, who rushed for 102 yards on 20 carries (5.1 yards per attempt). Michael Bush even tasted success on the ground with 39 yards on eight rushing attempts. Quarterback Josh McCown provided the second most emotional moment of the night -- next to Mike Ditka's halftime retirement ceremony -- when the QB leapt into the end zone on a 7-yard run to fire up the troops.

Alshon Jeffery
A

Passing Offense

McCown lit up a terrible Cowboys' defense for 348 yards and four touchdowns for a 141. 9 quarterback rating. He got sacked only one time in 36 passing attempts. Alshon Jeffery continued his march toward the Pro Bowl with another circus catch in the back of the end zone, while Brandon Marshall bounced back with six receptions for a team-high 100 yards. Forte also contributed seven receptions out of the backfield. And tight end Martellus Bennett had five grabs for 43 yards against his old team.

DeMarco Murray
D

Rushing Defense

The Bears still can't stop the run. Dallas tailback DeMarco Murray ran all over the Bears defense for 145 yards on just 18 carries. Joseph Randle, the Cowboys No. 2 tailback Monday night, carried the ball nine times for 54 yards and one touchdown. On the bright side, the Cowboys failed to reach 200 total yards rushing. Dallas finished with 198.

Dez Bryant
B+

Passing Defense

Tony Romo walked out of Soldier Field with impressive numbers -- three touchdown passes and a 109. 2 quarterback rating. But the Cowboys only threw the ball for 144 yards, with much of the damage coming in garbage time. Star wide receiver Dez Bryant was basically a non-factor, catching only two balls for 12 yards and a score. The Cowboys appeared to be disinterested on offense when it didn't involve one of their two running backs.

Robbie Gould
B+

Special Teams

The Bears did surrender a 43-yard kickoff return to Dwayne Harris. But Robbie Gould went 3-for-3 in field goal tries, and Adam Podlesh didn't need to attempt a punt. This was a major rebound by the special teams after the rough loss in Minnesota.

Mike Ditka
A

Coaching

While Ditka stole the show, Marc Trestman called an efficient and creative game on offense. Trestman also clearly had his players ready to go after a difficult week of being second-guessed and now has the club right back in playoff contention following Detroit's loss to Philadelphia. Mel Tucker got sneaky on defense with some of his blitz packages. Overall, it was a good night for Trestman and his entire coaching staff.

Report Card: Bears-Packers

November, 5, 2013
11/05/13
2:45
AM ET

Week 9 Report Card: Chicago Bears 27, Green Bay Packers 20

Forte
A

Rushing Offense

Matt Forte carried the load for the Bears, running for a season-high 125 yards and one touchdown. Even No. 2 tailback Michael Bush got in the act, carrying the ball seven times for 25 yards. The Bears seemed to be able to run the ball at will most of the night, especially on the final 18-play drive that consumed 8:58 worth of clock.

McCown
A-

Passing Offense

Josh McCown was on target almost the entire game, completing 22 of 41 throws for 272 yards and a pair of touchdown passes to receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. McCown went to the air several times on Monday night to move the chains in critical situations, and the pass protection was outstanding: one sack. Marshall topped 100 yards receiving (seven catches, one TD) for the third time in 2013.

Starks
F

Rushing Defense

Green Bay pounded the Bears defense on the ground with 199 total rushing yards on 29 attempts. Rookie Eddie Lacy lit up the Bears for 150 yards and a touchdown and likely would have done more damage if the Packers had continued to feed him the ball in the second half. James Starks had a 32-yard touchdown run.

McClellin
B

Passing Defense

Once Aaron Rodgers left the game, Green Bay had little chance to pass the ball effectively with Seneca Wallace at quarterback, who finished 11-of-19 for 114 yards and one interception. Wallace was never a threat to throw the ball deep down the field. The Bears also registered five sacks and finally found a way to pressure the opposing quarterback.

Podlesh
D

Special Teams

Green Bay managed to block an Adam Podlesh punt and then recover an onside kick in the second half, two costly mistakes by the Bears special teams that, under certain circumstances, could have cost them the game. Devin Hester was OK in the return game, and Robbie Gould nailed both of his field goal attempts.

Trestman
A-

Coaching

Marc Trestman\'s offense continues to flourish, even without No. 1 quarterback Jay Cutler. Trestman had excellent rhythm to his play calling and showed guts going for it on fourth-and-1 deep in his own territory late in the game. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker coming down from the coaches box to work from the sidelines had little effect on his unit.

Report Card: Bears-Saints

October, 6, 2013
10/06/13
7:09
PM ET

Week 5 Report Card: New Orleans Saints 26, Chicago Bears 18

Forte
C

Rushing Offense

Matt Forte averaged a respectable 4.6 yards on the ground, but carried the ball only 12 times as the Bears fell behind for the second straight week. Quarterback Jay Cutler used his feet (27 yards) to move the chains and Michael Bush ran the ball 12 yards on two carries, but there was never a commitment to the ground game. Forte needs more touches, regardless if the Bears dig themselves an early hole.

Cutler
B+

Passing Offense

Alshon Jeffery set the Bears franchise record with 218 receiving yards on 10 catches. Jeffery appears to have all the tools to be a future No. 1 NFL wide receiver. Cutler connected on 24-of-33 passes for 358 yards, two touchdowns and a 128.1 quarterback rating. The Bears' problem was their inability to protect Cutler in the first quarter, when he was sacked twice and fumbled two times. If the Bears had better pass protection in the first half, the grade would be an A. But the blocking upfront has to factor in to the overall passing offense grade.

Thomas
A

Rushing Defense

Even with a depleted defensive line, the Bears still held the Saints to 66 rushing yards on 28 attempts (2.4). Sean Payton's commitment to the run is commendable, but New Orleans couldn't muster anything on the ground against the Bears' defensive line and their linebackers. Lance Briggs had a terrific game with 14 tackles, 1.0 sacks and three tackles-for-loss. D.J. Williams was also tough versus the run with 11 total stops.

Brees
D

Passing Defense

The Bears continue to come up short in the pass-rush department. Drew Brees had way too much time to throw the football for the bulk of the game, going 29-of-35 for 288 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 120.0. As expected, Saints' tight end Jimmy Graham torched the Bears defense for 10 catches for 135 yards. Pierre Thomas also caught a pair of scores, including a screen pass that went for 25 yards.

Gould
A

Special Teams

Bears' punter Adam Podlesh had a major bounce-back game with a 45.3 average and a 44.8 net average on four kicks. Robbie Gould nailed his lone field goal attempt and the Bears' coverage units were solid, with especially nice tackles by Zack Bowman and Craig Steltz. Eric Weems did have a bad penalty that backed up the offense.

Trestman
C

Coaching

The Bears were unprepared for the early pressure applied by the Saints. That's a problem. However, the Bears were able to adjust after the opening two series, but the damage had been done. The Bears' defense did a respectable job, but Graham still had a monster day which is an indictment on the players and the coaching staff. The Bears came up short following their first bout of adversity, although it was not an embarrassing performance by any means.

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