Bears

Bears grades: Unsatisfactory marks all around

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Bears grades: Unsatisfactory marks all around

Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011Posted: 9:05 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The offense cut its sacks-allowed total in half but also saw its rushing yardage slashed by nearly 80 percent in a game that was there to be won but was never in the Bears control primarily because of offensive issues.

Of the Bears 14 possessions, they had zero or only one first down on 12 of them.

QUARTERBACK: C-

The numbers were average but too many details were poor. Jay Cutler helped his offensive line initially with mobility in the pocket and quicker releases than in the New Orleans game. He finished with 21 completions in 37 attempts for 302 yards and two touchdowns, respectable enough in a game where he had zero support from any running game.

But Cutler was too often inaccurate with throws, resulting in two interceptions and also in some missed opportunities down the field. He continues to hold onto balls under pressure, although whether it is his receivers failing to gain separation or simply waiting too long looking for a big play is a matter of speculation.

RUNNING BACKS: D

Matt Forte was completely shackled, with 2 total rushing yards in 9 attempts. He caught 7 of 8 passes thrown to him and managed to turn one into a 28-yard gain. The lack of rushing offense remains a deadly noose around the offense and it is far from the fault of Forte, who was being hit too often before reaching the line of scrimmage.

RECEIVERS: D-

Johnny Knox may have established himself clearly as a starter even with Roy Williams back from injury and Dane Sanzenbacher is appearing more adept at hanging onto key passes than Williams or any of the receivers. Sanzenbacher caught his second TD pass in as many weeks with a third-down catch in the second quarter to stop some gathering Green Bay momentum. Knox caught a 24-yarder to created the first-and-goal that preceded Sanzenbachers TD.

Williams returned to the starting lineup, did not play well early and was a non-factor, used only sporadically as the game went on. The first-quarter Cutler INT was not a good pass but Williams did not alter his route on a long throw and should have been in position to challenge for the catch. Williams also dropped a TD pass in the second quarter that was redeemed by Sanzenbachers catch.

Devin Hester gave the offense a desperately needed boost in the second quarter with a 37-yard catch-and-run that set up the Bears first TD. But Hester also was guilty of a stupid dead-ball personal foul in the fourth quarter to cost the offense desperately needed field position.

Tight end Kellen Davis dropped a third-down pass in the third quarter but caught a TD pass in the fourth quarter to give the offense a lift that turned out to be its last gasp.

Receivers continue to drop too many passes, however. Cutlers accuracy is suspect to this point of the season but few of his receivers are establishing themselves as capable of making difficult catches to help him out.

OFFENSIVE LINE: F

The concerning overall is that the Packers do not present the bizarre scheming that the New Orleans Saints did and yet the Bears, even with familiarity, were unable to establish any sort of offensive momentum or continuity. Three different linemen (Frank Omiyale, Roberto Garza, Chris Spencer) were flagged for penalties on successive plays after a Brian Urlacher interception created a game-changing opportunity in the fourth quarter.

Despite missing two starters, the line gave Cutler time to let plays develop deep in the first half. But almost to a man the linemen stated that the team has a back the caliber of Forte but they are not doing what needs to be accomplished to get him any running room.

Cutler was sacked three times and hit unofficially just two times. But the line has yet to establish a shred of dominance through three games against good teams, and until the Bears do, they will not be one of them.

The evidence was there on the scoreboard: 27 Green Bay points. The Bears admitted to being flat to begin the game, inexcusable in a contest of this importance. Two opponents in succession now have put 27 or more points on the Bears.

DEFENSIVE LINE: D

Julius Peppers ended a first-quarter Green Bay possession with a third-down sack but he was offsides twice, once giving the Packers a first down in the second quarter. Peppers more than made up for that by inducing LT Chad Clifton into three false starts. Henry Melton recovered from a poor showing in New Orleans to post a first-half sack.

Melton, who had 3 tackles for loss, and Peppers each had a hit on Aaron Rodgers, the only two hits initially credited against the Green Bay quarterback.

But the interior defense was repeatedly caved in on run plays and the Packers became the third straight team to rush for 100 or more yards on the Bears. Ryan Grant got into the linebackers and secondary repeatedly on his 17 runs (for 92 yards). The Bears expected Green Bay to run and still couldnt stop it.

LINEBACKERS: D

Lance Briggs was initially credited with a game-high 14 tackles, two for losses, but he nullified a first-drive interception with an offsides penalty that allowed the Packers to retain possession on what would be a touchdown drive. Urlacher had an interception at the Chicago 45 in the fourth quarter that the offense wasted and he also broke up a pass.

But none of the linebackers provided any consistent run support and too often were out of position on Grant cutbacks. Nick Roach finished with two tackles but was used sparingly because of Green Bay's offense forced the use of nickel packages.

SECONDARY: D-

Charles Tillman made an end-zone interception that was nullified by a penalty in the first quarter, one of the few plays where the Bears truly beat Rodgers. The Green Bay quarterback completed 28 of 38 passes for 297 yards and a rating of 111.4, the second of three quarterbacks to put up a passer rating above 110.0 on the Bears already this season.

Injuries shook up the safety tandem; Craig Steltz started but was in poor tackling position on Green Bays first-quarter TD drive and was beaten badly on a third-down conversion in the second quarter. The DBs were no match for tight end Jermichael Finley, who caught three TD passes, and wideout Greg Jennings caught nine of the 10 passes thrown his way.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D

A creative touchdown punt return by Knox was nullified by a holding penalty by Corey Graham completely on the other side of the field. The call was bad; the play was worse. Robbie Gould ran his successful field goal string to five and forced touchbacks with all 4 of his kickoffs. Adam Podlesh continued to punt effectively with an average of 42.6 yards on 7 punts.

The return game continues to produce virtually nothing of impact, however. Hester had one return of 21 yards. But no Bears possession started any farther upfield than the Chicago 32 after a kickoff or punt return.
COACHING: F

The Bears called 17 pass plays to six runs in the first half, not running particularly well but effectively taking away a chance at establishing a ball-control offense. Matters played out pretty much as they did in New Orleans and the offense finished with nine rushes by Forte, for a paltry two yards, vs. 43 pass plays (37 attempts, three sacks, three Cutler scrambles). The Green Bay defense had struggled in the first two Packers wins but was never challenged in this one.

The Packers offense was too effective running the ball inside and was only forced into three-and-outs four times.

Special teams planning of the trick punt return was exquisite, well-scouted and executed except for a stupid penalty.

The Bears also were admittedly flat early in the game. If this team could not get up for this game

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

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USA Today

Under Center Podcast: Jarrett Payton "My dad's legacy is still alive!"

Host Laurence Holmes is live in Miami from Radio row for Super Bowl Week. Laurence is joined by WGN's and the late great Chicago Bear Walter Payton's son, Jarrett Payton as they discuss his father's impact on the league, losing his father in comparison to the Kobe Bryant's tragic death, and how the current Bears can improve.

(3:10) - The impact of the Walter Payton Man of the Year award

(6:33) - Compares losing his father to the Kobe Bryant tragedy

(11:53) - Being back in Miami

(13:55) - How can the Bears improve?

(19:20) - Relives the last Bears Super Bowl appearance in Miami

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Under Center Podcast

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Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

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USA Today

Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari to host private event this Valentine’s Day in West Loop

Former Bears QB and current reality TV husband Jay Cutler will be coming back to Chicago this Valentine’s Day. Cutler’s wife, long-time reality TV star Kristin Cavallari, will be hosting a private event at Uncommon James in West Loop and Cutler is coming along for the festivities. A must event for any fans of mid 2000’s football and MTV.

For $200 per guest, attendees will enjoy food and drink, a private shopping experience and a selfie station. The 3-hour event will also include a question and answer session with Cavallari and Cutler. There’s something for everyone!

Cavallarri is on the third season of her E! show “Very Cavallari” which follows her life and growing business. Uncommon James is a fashion, lifestyle and jewelry brand who opened their Chicago location last October. The flagship store is in Nashville, where Cavallari and Cutler reside with their children.

Cutler is seemingly less-interested in the spotlight than his wife. He isn’t particularly active on social media, with Cavallari posting pictures to an Instagram account for him, so any chance to hang out with the former Bears QB is a rare opportunity. According to Instagram, it looks like Cutler is becoming more involved with Cavallari’s business, designing and modelling a bracelet that doubles as a bottle opener. How very Cutler.

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Add jewelry designer to the resume @uncommonjames

A post shared by Jay Cutler (@ifjayhadinstagram) on

If you’re looking to convince skeptics to shell out for the event, here’s some incentive. According to statista.com, the average Bears ticket in 2014 during the middle of Cutler’s tenure on the team was $108 per person, not even including food and drink and access to whatever a selfie station is. So, you’re paying twice as much for a much closer look at Cutler (assuming the store is smaller than Soldier Field) and a chance to ask him and his wife a question! And food! Seems fair when you put it like that.

If you and the K-Cav to your J-Cut are looking for something to do together this Valentine’s Day, the event will be held at Uncommon James in the West Loop, 849 W Randolph St., from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on February 14th. 

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