Bears Grades: Some very good, then...some disaster


Bears Grades: Some very good, then...some disaster

Some very good, then…some disaster. A situation where a serviceable performance was undercut by a major mistake at a pivotal moment in a game that could be decided by one play.

Matt Forte was workmanlike through the first half with 35 yards on eight carries, then was starting to assert himself in the second before taking a hit to his right knee from Vikings safety Harrison Smith that knocked Forte out of the game. Forte finished with 41 yards on 10 carries and caught all four of the passes Jay Cutler threw him, for another 28 yards.

[MORE GRADES: Cutler makes solid plays, team fails to finish]

Jeremy Langford took over for Forte in the third quarter and delivered a spark, with a run of nine yards among his 25 yards on five third-quarter carries as the Bears took the game slowly away from the Vikings. Langford picked up an additional 21 yards on seven carries in a tough fourth quarter.

But with the score tied at 20 and the Bears facing third-and-5 from their 25 with 1:17 to play – a situation with the potential of a game-winning drive – Langford ran a left-to-right crossing pattern with yardage for the first down. Cutler scrambled to his right away from pressure and flipped a short pass to Langford, who juggled and dropped the ball in his haste to turn upfield.

“That’s on me,” Langford said. “I’ve got to do a better job catching the ball first before starting to run. Cutler did a great job of getting out of the pocket and getting the ball to me. That’s on me.”

[SHOP BEARS: Get your Bears gear right here]

The result was the Bears being forced to punt and the Vikings capitalizing on breakdowns on special teams and defense to push downfield for a winning field goal.

“I talked to him,” Cutler said. “He’s going to be a heck of a player for us. I told him that one play doesn’t win or lose a football game. I don’t care what game it is, and that one didn’t lose or win our game. I thought he did a really good job of stepping in for Matt.”

For the rookie running back, “[teammates] told me to keep my head up; there are lot of plays in a game. That one didn’t help us, but it didn’t make us lose.”

But not making a play at a tipping point of a game is the stuff losses are made of.

Moon's Grade: D+

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

USA Today

Power Ranking Roundup: The bye week didn't do the Bears any favors

The Bears didn't play last week, but did that stop them from falling in Power Rankings across The Web? It did not! Going into the bye on a loss never fails to stoke the panic. Here's what they're saying: 

NBC Sports Chicago -- #16
Their power rankings slide is because of how well other teams performed Sunday; Chicago doesn't feel like a top-15 team when compared to the rest of the NFL. -- #9
The Bears do have a player who's good at all that stuff when given a chance -- that would be running back Tarik Cohen, who already had nine such "big plays" through five games a year ago. In 2019? He has just one, despite being healthy and available each week. Bears coach Matt Nagy needs to get Cohen involved.

ESPN -- #16
Their vertical passing attack is limited with Mitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel at quarterback. The offense has been equally ineffective on the ground. Chicago has gained eight or more rushing yards on just 10 running plays through five games.

Bleacher Report -- #10
Chicago had best make good use of this week off and get things figured out. Four of the team's next five games after the bye are against teams that made the postseason a year ago, including trips to face the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams.

Sports Illustrated -- #17
A Vikings win this week and strong starts from the Lions and Packers suddenly raises the stake Sunday’s game against the Saints. Unfortunately, New Orleans has a similarly great defense and a much better offense than the Bears.

CBS Sports -- #13
They come off the bye looking to generate more on offense. But it was the defense that also had some issues in London. That unit needs to pick it up as well.

USA Today -- #14
Coming out of bye, club currently just outside playoff picture hits brutal stretch with just two of final 11 opponents currently below .500.

Yahoo Sports -- #11
The Bears have only two games left against teams who are currently under .500. They face the Chargers and Giants, who are both 2-4 and not totally incapable. If the Bears make it back to the playoffs, it’ll be impressive.

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Bears reportedly expect Akiem Hicks to come off injured reserve in eight weeks

Bears reportedly expect Akiem Hicks to come off injured reserve in eight weeks

The Bears expect to activate Akiem Hicks off injured reserve as soon as they can — which would be for their Week 15 game against the Green Bay Packers — according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

The NFL requires players placed on injured reserve to spend eight weeks on it before they can be activated. While losing Hicks for half the season certainly presents a significant challenge to the Bears’ defense, that he does not need surgery and is expected to return in 2019 is at least a silver lining. 

The Bears officially placed Hicks on injured reserve Tuesday and promoted offensive lineman Alex Bars from their practice squad. 

While Hicks won’t be on the field for a while, he will be present around Halas Hall and Soldier Field as the Bears, defensive line coach Jay Rodgers said. 

“He’s going to be with us throughout the gameplanning, he’s going to be with us on game day, he’s going to be on the sidelines, all those kinds of things,” Rodgers said. “You’re going to feel the presence of him on the sideline and everything we do from here to whenever that is.”