Colts vs Bears: Final Report Card, Player Grades for Chicago
The Chicago Bears opened their regular season with a 41-21 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Bears offense was firing on all cylinders after a slow start and the defense did everything they could to make rookie Andrew Luck's first game a difficult one.
The blowout victory allowed the Bears to give linebacker Brian Urlacher most of the second half off who came into the game missing all of the preseason due to a lingering knee injury. The team did not miss a beat as they outscored the Colts 17-7 in the second half.
The new look Bears figured to make a statement as they get ready for a short turnaround. The team will head to Green Bay on Thursday to take on the division rival Packers.
Jay Cutler: A-
It was not a good start for Cutler. He came out 1 for his first 10 including a pick six in the first quarter. He was backed up in his own zone the first couple of drives and was on the move quite a bit fleeing Colts defenders.
From then on Cutler really turned it on. He finished the game with 333 yards on 21 for 35 passing with two touchdowns. His quarterback rating was 98.9 as he spread the ball around to six different players.
After the first quarter Cutler seemed to settle down from his initial erratic play. His only mistake as the game went on might have been targeting Brandon Marshall too many times often throwing into double and triple coverage. Still Cutler had a very good game and had the offense looking sharp.
Matt Forte: A
Matt Forte was very efficient on the ground racking up 80 yards on just 16 carries. He ended the game averaging 5.0 yards per rush and had a touchdown on the ground as well.
Forte added three receptions for 40 yards including an impressive one handed catch that set up the Bears inside the five-yard line in the third quarter.
Forte looked fast and quick cutting all over the field making guys miss. Having him under 20 carries is a plus too as the team looks to keep him fresh throughout the season.
Michael Bush: B
Michael Bush proved to be the perfect change of pace back and goal line guy today. His two touchdowns were around the goal line and he was productive when giving Forte a breather. Overall he finished with 42 yards on 12 rushes ripping off a 20-yard run late in the game.
Brandon Marshall: A-
Brandon Marshall proved he is ready to be the number one guy and take on a heavy workload. Marshall had 15 targets hauling in nine receptions for 119 and a touchdown.
Marshall was his usual physical self bouncing off guys making catches inside the hash marks and out. He was often targeted by Cutler even when double or triple covered showing the trust the quarterback his in his receiver.
Alshon Jeffery: B+
The rookie got on the board with his first touchdown grab and it was an impressive one. He showed off his size and long stride ability by blowing past the defense for a 42-yard touchdown from Cutler. Overall he was targeted five times and made three catches for 80 yards. Overall a nice first game for him.
Earl Bennett: B
When you have big tall guys on the outside who can make plays down the field all you can do as a little guy is make the tough catches up the middle. Earl Bennett continued to do just that as he finished the game with three catches for 50 yards. Bennett knows his role well and this game proved that.
Devin Hester: C+
It's not that Hester had a bad game but you would have thought he would have been able to shake loose a little more against a shaky Colts secondary. Still he finished with two catches for 27 yards and had a pass interference penalty called against him in the end zone.
Kellen Davis: D
Kellen Davis did a whole lot of nothing finishing the game without a catch. He also whiffed on an early block allowing a sack on Cutler.
Kyle Adams: C
Kyle Adams had himself a catch which is about what you can expect from him every game.
Matt Spaeth: B
Matt Spaeth was a part of that group that was able to settle in nicely and give Cutler some protection throughout the game. He also accounted for some of the blocking on the three rushing touchdowns.
J'Marcus Webb: B
It didn't start pretty but J'Marcus Webb surely benefited from the injury to Dwight Freeney. As the game went along he pass protected nicely and was able to make some key blocks to spring Matt Forte in the running game.
Chris Spencer: D+
Chris Spencer might be the worst lineman of the starting group. He was terrible early and his poor play was masqueraded by Jay Cutler's mobility throughout the game.
Roberto Garza: B-
Tough snap early on when in shotgun as the Bears were backed up against their own end zone. The Colts were able to get some pressure up the middle which Garza and the guards are going to have to fix soon enough.
Lance Louis: B
Lance Louis was the best lineman on the inside for the Bears he got quality push off the ball in the running game especially at the goal line. The Bears had success when running on his side throughout the game.
Gabe Carimi: C
An early penalty and quick Robert Mathis were low points for Gabe Carimi. He like the rest of the line settled in to play better but albeit it was against a weaker opponent who lost their best pass rusher early.
Julius Peppers: B
Julius Peppers had a couple solid pass rushes but finished with no sacks. He had three tackles and was the beneficiary of a forced fumble he recovered.
Henry Melton: A
Henry Melton is poised to be the team's breakout star this year. He started off strong with two sacks on Andrew Luck causing him fits the entire game. Add in a couple tackles for loss and Melton was a defensive star.
Stephen Paea: C
Not much push today from Stephen Paea who might still be fighting injury and conditioning issues. He looked tired and somewhat out of shape. Not much of a game for him although he was able to get a hit on the quarterback.
Israel Idonije: C
If Israel Idonije is going to want to stay on the field this year he is going to have to get to the quarterback a little better. Not much of a pass rush from him and he finished the game with one tackle.
Corey Wootton: B
Corey Wootton had a big sack in the game causing a fumble on Andrew Luck in which Peppers recovered. As a rotation guy you just ask for one big play like that a game from him.
Shea McClellin: C
The rookie Shea McClellin had one standout play with an impressive spin move to hit Andrew Luck just as he threw the football. Other than that he remained quiet the rest of the day.
Matt Toeaina: B
Matt Toeaina was impressive against the run, had a couple of tackles and was able to tag Andrew Luck pretty good at one point.
Brian Urlacher: C+
Brian struggled to move on those Cover 2 linebacker deep zones which was to be expected. Still his experience and energy on the field was what was most important. It was good to see him get most of the second half off as the game got out of hand.
Lance Briggs: C+
Pretty quiet today for Lance Briggs. He only had two tackles and was pushed back a couple times on some running plays. Nothing major and everybody expects him to play better going forward.
Nick Roach: C+
Nick Roach moved from outside to inside as the game progressed. When he moved inside his depth on passing downs was not that great and he was pushed off the ball at times in the running game. Still it's tough to switch positions mid game and be effective in a blowout.
Geno Hayes: C
When called upon Geno Hayes was able to fill a role on the field. He didn't stand out much but then again he didn't have to.
Charles Tillman: Incomplete
Charles Tillman was forced to exit the game too early due to injury to give him an accurate grade.
Tim Jennings: A
For the last couple of years the knock on Tim Jennings was his inability to create takeaways. He started off the season right grabbing two interceptions often baiting Andrew Luck into poor throws. He also made a nice play tipping a Luck pass that was picked off by Chris Conte
Kelvin Hayden: C+
Kelvin Hayden came in for the injured Tillman and didn't do a bad job. Reggie Wayne made some catches on him that were just unbelievable and tough to defend for anybody. He made a very good special teams play to force a fumble on a kickoff.
D.J. Moore: B+
D.J. Moore is one of the best nickel backs in the game and it was tough for Luck to even throw in his area. Moore finished with two tackles and two pass deflections as well.
Chris Conte: B+
Chris Conte was Johnny On The Spot for a ball tipped to him by Tim Jennings that led to an interception. He also had a couple of pass deflections and finished with five tackles.
Major Wright: B
Major Wright was able to stay healthy all game and play mistake free football. That alone gets a high grade for him. He led the team with seven tackles while keeping good lane discipline.
Robbie Gould: A
Robbie Gould was very good on kick offs and was perfect in the kicking game. He further proved he is one of the more reliable kickers in the game.
Adam Podlesh: C
Adam Podlesh came back from injury and you can see his kicks didn't have quite the distance or elevation on them. It will take him some time to get back into the swing of things again.
Lovie Smith: B
Lovie Smith managed the game well. He was able to get rest for Brian Urlacher and won a key challenge on the Corey Wootten sack/fumble. He lost the second challenge on Brandon Marshall's stretch for a first down but you would think he would let that go in a closer game.
Mike Tice: B+
Mike Tice's offense started very flat and ugly but he had his group rebound with a terrific game. As play went on Tice put together a terrific blend of running and passing plays. Punching the ball in on the ground when close to the goal line will always earn you extra points.
Rod Marinelli: B-
There were times when Rod Marinell's defense looked great forcing turnovers and getting to the quarterback and then there were times when they let Reggie Wayne run free and Donald Brown gash them a couple times. Overall all though the group did well playing with a big lead but they will have to tighten up against more formidable teams.
Dave Toub: B+
As usual Dave Toub's group were well disciplined and ready to go. The special teams players had good gap responsibility and was even able to force a fumble.