With some of the worst protection (five sacks and a sixth QB hit) of his 2015 season, Jay Cutler managed a respectable game in which myriad mistakes throughout doomed a decent performance.
Cutler posted his 10th game with a passer rating of 88 or above (93.4), completing 26 of 37 passes for 231 yards and touchdown throws of 10 yards to Alshon Jeffery in the second quarter and four yards to Matt Forte late in the fourth. He threw an ill-advised screen pass that was telegraphed a bit and intercepted by Minnesota defensive end Justin Trattou in the fourth quarter.
[MORE BEARS GRADES: Offensive Line ¦ Linebackers]
“I was trying to find the back [Matt Forte],” Trattou said, “but I didn’t have time to find him so I look into the quarterback’s eyes and I saw where he was throwing it.”
But the protection issues were more a problem than Cutler mistakes, which consisted of perhaps that throw and an overthrow of Eddie Royal in the end zone. Cutler was sacked on the Bears’ second play when he held the football far too long and allowed defensive tackle Tom Johnson to drag him down for an eight-yard loss. He was sacked in the second possession when he was unable to elude an open-field dive by linebacker Chad Greenway.
[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear right here]
To his true credit, Cutler was able to shake off those two sacks and a third on the third possession to direct a 52-yard drive for a touchdown pass to Jeffery at the point where the Vikings had gone up 10-0 and the Bears were generating less than zero on offense.
“Same stuff as most of the year,” Cutler said, shaking his head. “Big [penalty] call on a big run. Interception with a big sack. Our protection was a little shaky today. Some more penalties… .
“It doesn’t matter who you play. You do those things consistently through a game and it’s going to make it really hard on yourself.”
Moon's Grade: B+
The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.
It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.
Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.
Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.
Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.
On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.
Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.
Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.
Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams.
Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs?
The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD.
Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week?
You can take a look here and see where they landed.