Problems with the offensive line began with the Bears’ first snap from scrimmage and continued, overall unusual for a group whose highest sacks allowed before Sunday was three (Oakland, Washington) and ranked eighth in the NFL in sacks per pass play.
A holding penalty on center Hroniss Grasu on the opening snap nullified a 35-yard run by Matt Forte. Grasu also whiffed on a block of defensive tackle Tom Johnson, from which Johnson took down running back Jeremy Langford for a four-yard loss.
Cutler was sacked on each of the first three possessions, although the first two arguably were perhaps more on Cutler than the offensive line, with Cutler holding the football too long on the first and then being unable to elude linebacker Chad Greenway’s open-field arm tackle.
“We knew he was going to hold the ball and try and go downfield at times,” Johnson said. “We were able to capitalize on that.”
But the sack by defensive end Brian Robison looping around right tackle Kyle Long was disastrous, resulting in a strip-sack and fumble recovered by Robison after the Bears had surprised the Vikings with a successful onside kick to start the second half.
The frustrations were evident “especially the opening drive of the second half,” said guard Matt Slauson. “We knew were going for an onside and we were gassed up and ready to go. We felt good, were excited, just the execution falling apart.”
Moon's Grade: F