A game with such high expectations for the Chicago Bears turned into a night that can’t be forgotten soon enough.
Four days ago Bears fans were riding high after a 41-20 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts, a mere 96 hours later, the feeling is a 180-degree difference.
The Bears were thoroughly whipped by the Green Bay Packers despite a heroic effort by the defense, which seemed to quit after yet another crucial Cutler INT.
Momma said there’d be days like this, so let’s cut to the chase and hand out some week two grades from the game against the Packers.
Quarterback Jay Cutler
This is the type of game that completely divides a fanbase because there are so many fans who are enthralled with Jay Cutler’s abilities.
Cutler has elite physical talent, elite receivers—but he lacks elite blockers. Most Bears fans will insist that Cutler’s poor play was the result of his offensive line's inability to block.
Tonight’s game was equal parts the fault of Cutler the starting front five assigned to protect him. Cutler threw four INTs in this game and could have tossed another three had they not been dropped by Packer defensive backs. Make no mistake Cutler played crappy in this game, it was a very typical bad game for the Bears' franchise QB.
At the end of the day, it’s games like this that will prevent Cutler from reaching the elite level of NFL quarterbacks.
Most Bears fans however will continue to insist that Cutler is a great QB who plays behind an awful offensive line.
That is partly true. However, Cutler is still a very talented QB who all too often makes arrogant passes because he completely overvalues the strength of his right arm.
There might be some people who would argue this group deserves a higher grade.
Nope. Sorry. The effort was average.
Pure and simple this group did what it was supposed to do and nothing more. Michael Bush had 14 carries for 54 yards, good for 3.9 yards a carry, with a long of eight yards. Forte, before his ankle injury, was only slightly better at seven carries for 31 yards.
Much more was expected from these two against what has been a porous Packers defense.
If you would have predicted that the Bears wide receivers would have had this bad of a game people would have thought you had gone and lost your marbles.
No one could have predicted this pathetic of an effort from this talented group. Brandon Marshall struggled with double-coverage all night and then when he had a chance to make an impact, he dropped a wide-open touchdown pass.
No receiver caught more than two passes in this game, which represents a failure on a grand scale. This might have been the worst performance by a wide receiver corps in the history of the franchise.
And it was completely unexpected. There's absolutely no excuse for the effort put forth by this level of talent.
This unit played horrendously from the outset of the game and were whipped physically and mentally. All five offensive linemen played poorly, unable to figure out a way to stop the Packers blitzes.
Dealing with the blitz is something this offensive line has been unable to do for a long time. Communication problems, gap protection problems and downright confusion up front led to Cutler being sacked seven times and hit 12 other teams. As I alluded to in watching the Colts tape, Indianapolis didn’t bring as much blitz pressure as the Packers did tonight.
Jay Cutler called out offensive tackle J’Marcus Webb on the sideline. The heat-of-the-moment tirade, caught by NFL Network cameras, was triggered by the same kind of unfocused play we've from Webb time and again.
Webb is very close to earning walking papers.
I evaluated the defensive line's performance with a far more critical eye than most people would suspect—especially given that Bears defense registered five sacks and six QB hits on Aaron Rodgers and kept the Packers offense out of the end zone until the fourth quarter.
The effort by this defensive line was average, not spectacular, primarily because it was simply the type of effort we have come to expect from this defensive line. The Packers don’t protect the passer well, so this match up was already tilted in the Bears favor.
More importantly, though, was the inability to stop the Packers' rushing attack. Cedric Benson racked up 81 yards on 20 carries—many yards coming in critical situations— which hurts this grade considerably.
Simply put, there wasn’t a good enough effort from this group in terms of slowing down the run game. Brian Urlacher had eight tackles, but struggled to attack gaps and get off of blocks. Urlacher isn’t playing anywhere near full strength and it shows.
Lance Briggs dropped a crucial INT that would have helped the Bears in the turnover battle. Other than that, his game was just average as he finished with 10 tackles on the night. This group bit a lot in the play-action passing game as well, which allowed Rodgers to complete some key passes and put points on the board.
Tim Jennings had a good game and Charles Tillman forced a key fumble on Jermichael Finley.
The Bears secondary played well against the level of talent they faced tonight. No Packer receiver went over 100 yards receiving in the game and they held Green Bay to a 29 percent third-down conversion rate.
Overall I think the secondary played the best of any of the units tonight; they shut down the passing game and kept the Packers receivers in check. The one major blemish was the Donald Driver touchdown pass, but other than that, it was a decent effort by this group.
Devin Hester didn’t get going in the return game. The Bears special teams also gave up a touchdown on a fake field goal and, in general, just didn’t have a good game. The Packers had three punts downed inside the 20, while the Bears had just one from Adam Podlesh. Podlesh racked up a decent 46.8 yard average on six punts which kept Randall Cobb in check, but it wasn’t much more than an average effort there for this unit.
Lovie Smith only kept three defensive tackles active for this game, essentially announcing to the Packers that they could run the ball and wear out his DTs. Combined with going no-huddle and getting a good running game from Cedric Benson, the Packers managed to win the field-position battle.
Mike Tice was schooled tonight as he was unable to attack the Packers’ two man-under coverage and the constant double-coverage of Brandon Marshall. Packers' defensive coordinator Dom Capers had Tice’s number from the opening drive until the very end, and the Bears were whipped on offense as a result.
When your team looks this ill-prepared to play there’s no possible way the coaching staff can come away with a good grade for their efforts.