Bears

Barber's gaffes bring down offensive grades

610172.png

Barber's gaffes bring down offensive grades

The Bears got the kind of game they wanted with the Denver Broncos, close and with chances to win in the closing minutes. Marion Barbers mistakes, however, were again crushing, more significant this time than simply failing to line up properly as he did against the Kansas City Chiefs.

QUARTERBACK C

The simple fact is that Caleb Hanie was unable to create game-winning plays for the third week in a row. He completed 12-of-19 passes for 115 yards with neither an interception nor a TD pass, for a rating of 79.9. Hanie was sacked four times but also did his line no favors with slow reactions to obvious pressure and failed on more than one occasion to get rid of the ball on time. His overthrow of a wide-open Marion Barber on a fourth-quarter third down cost the Bears a golden chance to sustain a drive.

Hanie did have the Bears moving into position for the win in OT with completions to Johnny Knox, Roy Williams and Marion Barber in succession, the last a touch pass over coverage.

RUNNING BACK F

Marion Barber rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries, one for a nine-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. But his errors were catastrophic. Barber failed to pick up a Denver blitz to allow a third-down sack of Hanie in the first quarter. Most significantly, he committed the defining gaffes of the game by stepping out of bounds on the Bears final possession, giving Denver time that would result in a tying field goal. Then he fumbled the ball inside the Denver 35 with the Bears going for the winning field goal in overtime.

Kahlil Bell was solid in relief with 40 yards on nine carries and caught a team-high five passes with a long of 13 yards.

RECEIVERS C-

Johnny Knox caught three passes for 37 total yards, 18 of them on the first play of what should have been the Bears winning drive in overtime. But receivers were consistently failing to gain separation from defensive back in a game that needed quick-release opportunities given the Denver pass rush.

OFFENSIVE LINE C-

Lance Louis and Chris Spencer was flagged for a false starts on third downs in the first half and Louis on another third down on the opening possession of the third quarter. Louis was beaten for a third-quarter sack by Von Miller although his blocking technique suggested that Hanie was supposed to have gotten rid of the ball quickly.

The protection allowed four sacks of Caleb Hanie but not all were the lines fault. And Bears running backs gained 148 yards on 36 carries.

COACHING A-

Hard to fault coaching when the game plan went right at a strong Denver defense and ran the ball reasonably well despite everyone in Colorado knowing what was coming. And no amount of coaching at this point in his career will get Marion Barber to get out of bounds or hold onto the ball.

Former CFL star Tre Roberson has chance to emerge in Bears' secondary

Former CFL star Tre Roberson has chance to emerge in Bears' secondary

The Chicago Bears' decision to release veteran cornerback Prince Amukamara has created a void in the starting lineup on defense, one that recent CFL free-agent signee Tre Roberson will be given a chance fill. The Bears are expected to add more candidates for the job over the next couple of months, but Roberson (who was courted by nine teams this offseason) will have his shot.

“I just feel real comfortable there,” Roberson told Bears All Access about why he chose Chicago. “When I came on my visit to the Bears, my workout just felt like I was at home. They made sure I was real comfortable in every aspect of the trip. I just feel like a great place to be is close to home. I’m from Indianapolis, so it’s not too far away.

"We’ve been to Calgary, so it’s a long way from home. So I just feel like it was the best place for me, and I feel like I can help the organization get to the next level, which is winning the Super Bowl.”

Roberson's two-year, $1.235 million deal is a low-risk, high-reward transaction for GM Ryan Pace. At worst, Roberson turns into a contributor on special teams and a solid depth cornerback. But if the Bears catch lightning in a bottle and Roberson emerges as a legitimate and reliable starting cornerback, his contract will turn into one of the biggest bargains in the league.

Roberson had 10 interceptions during his two seasons in Canada, including seven in 2019. He was considered the top CFL free agent making the jump to the NFL this offseason and was rewarded with the most lucrative contract a Canadian League star has received since Cam Wake.

Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine (slot) have two of the three cornerback gigs locked up, and Kevin Toliver will likely get the first crack at replacing Amukamara (assuming the Bears don't add a veteran free agent this March). Even if they select a rookie early in the 2020 NFL draft, Toliver should have the first opportunity to prove he belongs in the starting lineup. He logged 175 snaps in 2019 and looked like an ascending talent.

By the time the regular season rolls around, however, it could be Roberson who goes from starting in Calgary to lining up as a starter in Chicago.

Taylor Gabriel says goodbye to Chicago in two-part Twitter post

Taylor Gabriel says goodbye to Chicago in two-part Twitter post

The Bears parted ways with wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, releasing him and cornerback Prince Amukamara on Friday.

Gabriel, who played two seasons with the Bears, took to Twitter to thank the fans and the city of Chicago as a whole for his time with the squad. His kind message came attached to video clips of two of Gabriel's six receiving touchdowns as a Bear.

Over his two years and 25 games with the Bears, Gabriel racked up 96 receptions, 1,041 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.