Bears Grades vs. Packers: Efficiency, no turnovers get the job done


Bears Grades vs. Packers: Efficiency, no turnovers get the job done


Jay Cutler has had better games statistically, than the 19-for-31 passing for 200 yards, a TD and 90.8 rating. He overthrew Marquess Wilson open behind single coverage on the first possession and later was nearly intercepted by Quinten Reynolds while scrambling. He was long and late throwing to Alshon Jeffery in the end zone in the second quarter when Jeffery had broken open against single coverage.

But Cutler was victimized by two costly drops on high-percentage throws. And he out-played Aaron Rodgers to win the one matchup that the Bears rarely do vs. the Green Bay Packers. Cutler kept his composure under pressure from a Green Bay blitz, stepping out of an ankle grab and buying time for Zach Miller to work open for a TD in the second quarter.

[MORE: Bears' victory in Green Bay more than just a 'W' for Cutler]

“He was able to stay poised and mentally tough through all that, leader of the offense,” said tackle Kyle Long. “It really wasn’t going our way early but just to stay the course was a testament to Jay’s mental toughness and leadership abilities.”

Moon's Grade: A 

Running backs

The Bears committed to the run, just didn’t do it especially well, again not getting 100 rushing yards out of their tailbacks, although both Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford did solid work in blitz pickup against a Dom Capers defense that brought myriad blitz packages at Jay Cutler and his protections.

Forte returned to the starting lineup and played 37 of the Bears’ 67 snaps, vs. 30 for Langford, the two combining for 92 rushing yards in a workmanlike but not particularly dominant offensive game. Langford was the more effective, with 48 yards on 12 carries vs. Forte’s 44 on 15 (2.9 ypc.).

Langford’s pass receiving was a problem. The rookie dropped a third-down pass with running room in front of him in the second quarter, and juggled away a screen pass in the third, bobbling the ball up in the air and nearly into the hands of Packers.

But Langford was in the game at pivotal points and has moved into what is effectively a shared role with Forte as the primary back.

Moon's Grade: C+

Wide receivers

Operating without injured tight end Martellus Bennett and Eddie Royal (again, fourth straight game), Bears receivers gave a creditable performance overall with second-tier personnel making key contributions at crucial times.

“You look at a Marc Mariani, I mean he’s a guy who just stepped in and made big catches, big plays on third down,” said coach John Fox. “You know, Jay does a great job of buying time to let guys come free. Getting Alshon [Jeffery] back was big, you know, looking at guys in that locker room who maybe not had great success here, they included, were fun to watch.”

Jeffery was a game-time decision (groin, shoulder) but caught 7 of the 11 balls thrown his way, with a long of 22 yards and 90 yards total against physical press coverage particularly from cornerback Sam Shields. Jeffery also had a 21-yarder in the third quarter that was undone by a succession of penalties and breakdowns but gave the Bears some field position on their first drive of the second half.

[RELATED: Could Bears' win over Packers become a turning point?]

Zach Miller scored on a three-yard pass in the second quarter, working into open space on a delayed route out of a three-receiver grouping, giving the Bears a much-needed answer to Green Bay’s first-quarter touchdown.

Khari Lee started in place of Bennett and lost a chance for a first down when he lost his footing with running room on the Bears’ first possession. Lee was flagged for a false start on a first down at the Chicago 10 on the Bears’ second possession, worsening a hole the offense did not need and setting up a second three-and-out to start their game.

Moon's Grade: A-

Offensive line

The Bears weren’t able to gain consistent advantages at points of attack in the run game but pass protection limited a blitzing Green Bay defense to one sack and three other hits on Jay Cutler, allowing Cutler to operate without being forced to run for his life.

Cutler did get into stern words in the third quarter after tripping and holding penalties plus a sack destroyed a promising drive at the start of the third quarter but otherwise the line held up respectably.

Kyle Long was generally solid against Julius Peppers primarily in solo blocking against the Green Bay sack leader. Jermon Bushrod delivered some solid run blocking as a sixth offensive lineman in a “heavy” personnel package.

Charles Leno Jr. held his own against Clay Matthews in rush situations, with the Packers needing a corner blitz to overwhelm the protection on Leno’s side.

The Bears were able to rush for 189 yards and 5.1 per carry in game one against Green Bay but only 101 and 3.3 this time.

Moon's Grade: B-

Trubisky or not, Matt Nagy should be the lead voice on future Bears QB decisions

USA Today

Trubisky or not, Matt Nagy should be the lead voice on future Bears QB decisions

The play of Mitch Trubisky in his season-and-a-half under coach Matt Nagy is, for better or worse, an unfinished work. Whatever the final result, after this season or the next, the latter of which looming as a decision point on a long-term contract for Trubisky, the Bears may be best advised going forward to make Nagy the decision-maker on quarterback calls rather than GM Ryan Pace.

Pace owes his head coach a leading voice and vote in finding a quarterback (or two) in the Bears’ 2020 draft and/or offseason. Because a simple NFL fact is that Matt Nagy deserves a chance to develop his own quarterback, not simply have his tenure defined by a quarterback (Trubisky) that he inherited.

Plus, Nagy has arguably better credentials and experience for quarterback evaluations than Pace.

Nagy learned his craft from Andy Reid, whose head-coaching career began in Philadelphia with the 1999 drafting of Donovan McNabb. Reid also drafted four more quarterbacks during McNabb’s run, including A.J. Feeley (2001) and Nick Foles (2012), as well as bringing in Michael Vick to deepen the depth chart.

When Reid went to Kansas City (and brought Nagy with him) in 2013, the first thing he did was to trade for Alex Smith from San Francisco; Reid (and Nagy as QB coach) groomed Smith into a three-time Pro Bowler. But while Smith was being brought along, the Chiefs also drafted three more quarterbacks in the four drafts following the Smith trade. The third of those quarterbacks was Patrick Mahomes, whom Nagy had a one-year hand in developing before taking the Bears job.

Pace, who said at the outset of his GM reign that ideally the Bears would be able to draft a QB every year, has largely ignored the quarterback pipeline, as noted previously. Trubisky has been the only quarterback among Pace’s 32 picks over five drafts.

Nagy has been involved in acquisitions of Nick Foles, Alex Smith and Patrick Mahomes. Pace’s efforts have been toward Marcus Mariota (the Titans wanted too much for the 2015 No. 2 slot), Jay Cutler, Mike Glennon and Trubisky. Regardless of how Trubisky develops or doesn’t through the rest of 2019, Pace owes his coach a leading place in the quarterback-selection process from start to finish.

The search for depth or an upgrade from Trubisky may circle back to Mariota, who has now been benched in Tennessee and has never been the same player after suffering a broken leg in late 2016. Mariota played for Bears offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich at Oregon and obviously had high grades from Pace coming into the NFL.

Trubisky is largely the same QB he was for John Fox

Trubisky may yet prove to be the solution for the Bears quarterback situation. But results over his three – not just the two in Matt Nagy’s system – seasons say he is pretty much what he looks to be.

The cliché narrative, never particularly refuted by Trubisky, was that the young quarterback was shackled by a combination of John Fox’s conservatism and Dowell Loggains’ supposed incompetence. Two points suggest otherwise:

One, is that his first brace of coaches knew Trubisky’s limitations, both in general as well as those from simply being a uber-green rookie with only 13 college starts. Trubisky was deemed to have accuracy issues in the mid and deeper range, which has repeatedly proved to be the case, as recently as Sunday.

The second is that, in 2017 after his first three rookie games getting settled in, Trubisky in fact threw slightly more passes (31.3 per game) over his final nine starts under Fox/Loggains than he did through his 14 starts under Nagy in 2018 (31.0).

Parenthetically, in those first three in 2017, a governor was in place, with Trubisky throwing 25, 16 and 7 passes. The Bears also won the latter two. 

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

Kurt Warner has no idea what the Bears are doing on offense

USA Today

Kurt Warner has no idea what the Bears are doing on offense

With the city of Chicago still reeling from the Bears recent 36-25 loss against the Saints, everyone from NFL analysts to your co-workers are offering up their hot takes on how the Bears offensive game, particularly QB Mitch Trubisky, could do better.

Kurt Warner, an NFL Hall of Fame quarterback with an illustrious history, took to Twitter to give his two cents on why the Bears offense is struggling.

After twelve years in the NFL, taking both the Rams and the Cardinals to the Super Bowl, Warner might just know a thing or two about offense. However, Warner seems just as confused as the rest of us as to what’s not clicking for the Bears. Here’s what Warner had to say.

We all feel you, Kurt. It’s been a struggle to watch indeed. He later goes in to respond to comments in the thread, defending the much maligned Trubisky by saying that he is not the only thing wrong with offense this season.

It will be interesting to see how the Bears respond to this painful loss and the recent bought of criticism. Matt Nagy insists the team is drowning out all outside noise and focusing on their game, but we’ll see if this loss was the wakeup call the team needed when they face off against the Chargers in Week 8. 

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