The Chicago Bears were riding a two game losing streak and needed a strong performance against their divisional foes the Minnesota Vikings. What they got was a solid all-around effort that led to a 28-10 victory.
Jay Cutler made his return to the lineup after missing a game and a half due to a concussion. He showed no affects of the injury as he completed 23 of 31 passes for 188 yards and a touchdown pass. He also scrambled three times.
The Bears were hit hard by the injury bug during the game losing Devin Hester, Matt Forte, Charles Tillman, Chris Spencer and Lance Louis. All will be evaluated and their availability for next week is unknown.
The Bears are now 8-3 and will stay home next week when they play the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle is 6-5 after losing a road game to the Miami Dolphins. The Bears will look to avenge their loss from last season when the Seahawks won a Week 15 matchup 38-14.
Jay Cutler: B
What stood out the most in Cutler's comeback was his ability to extend the play and make a very mediocre offensive line look a lot better. As usual this season, he locked on to Brandon Marshall a ton but wasn't really burned by it except for the interception.
Matt Forte: C+
Two things that will stand out on Forte's day was the fumble early and the injury late. In between he got some tough yards to keep the clock moving on some key drives. Nothing flashy, just hard physical football.
Michael Bush: B+
Like Forte, Bush had some tough physical runs. It is nice to see the team go back to him on short yardage and goal line situations. He was able to get two touchdowns due to his bruising style.
Armando Allen: C
Very limited action for Allen. Nothing special stood out.
Evan Rodriguez: B
Rodriguez was finally able to get his first catch of his career but early on it was his strong blocking the allowed the team to take control of the game clock and move the football.
Brandon Marshall: A-
Another strong performance for Marshall who had 12 catches for 92 yards on 17 targets. He became the first Bears since Marty Booker back in 2002 to go over 1,000 receiving yards in a season. He will tell you he probably should have caught that touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Earl Bennett: B-
Solid job by Bennett especially early on. Throughout the game he kind of disappeared again but was able to catch four passes for 45 yards.
Eric Weems: B
Weems only caught one pass but did a ton to fill in for Hester in the return game and on kick coverage. He provided a couple early sparks with a nice tackle on a punt return and drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Devin Hester: C
Nothing to see after Hester left the game early due to a concussion.
Kellen Davis: C-
Davis gets points for making a tough catch early in the first quarter that led to a touchdown. He then proceeded to be his typical self where we didn't hear from him again until he dropped a pass and you can clearly see Jay Cutler cursing towards his way.
Matt Spaeth: A
Nice job blocking by Spaeth and he showed terrific hands on the only touchdown pass by the Bears.
J'Marcus Webb: B
Well, Jared Allen didn't have a sack and only had one hit on the quarterback. Webb didn't get his name called too much except for his quarterback to tie his shoe. He did a nice job...for him.
Chris Spencer: B-
Early on Spencer had some solid blocks up the middle. The Bears didn't really run the ball too much towards his side and then he left the game with an injury.
Roberto Garza: B
It was a better game for Garza. He was a lot more active in the trenches than last week against the 49ers.
Lance Louis: A
Before Louis left the game, the entire running game flowed through him and the team was doing well. Once he left with an injury it was really down hill from there. Shows you his importance to the team.
John Scott: B-
The veteran played a savvy game. He pretty much did just enough to keep players away from Cutler long enough for him to make a play. That's more than what the team was getting out of the former starter.
Gabe Carimi: A
You have to give Carimi some love for coming in as an extra blocker on short yardage situations and doing a very nice job sealing off linemen. Give him some more love for coming in and playing the guard position when the injuries mounted up.
Edwin Williams: C-
Williams came in after Spencer left to an injury and did the best he could. Unfortunately it wasn't really good.
Julius Peppers: B
Peppers really did a nice job setting the edge and also running stunts allowing other lineman to get pressure on the quarterback. He also had a blocked field goal at a key point in the game.
Henry Melton: B
Melton provided the best pass rush out of anybody all game. His early sack really set the tone for the defense.
Stephen Paea: B-
Has been downgraded to a rotational player but did a solid job in the first half helping to shut down Adrian Peterson.
Nate Collins: C+
Collins was able to get a nice whack on Christian Ponder but that was about it.
Israel Idonije: B+
Very active in the running game all day and had half a sack.
Shea McClellin: B+
The pass rushing specialist was able to get some solid pressure on the quarterback hitting Ponder a couple times and getting half a sack.
Corey Woottoon: B-
The other pass rushing specialist provided some nice speed on the outside almost getting a sack and knocking down Ponder one time.
Brian Urlacher: B
Another solid good disciplined game for Urlacher. Again nothing flashy but it wasn't needed from him.
Lance Briggs: A
Against the 49ers, Brigss was dominated physically. He made sure it didn't happen two weeks in a row. He was laying the wood all game long and really made it frustrating for Kyle Rudolph in the middle of the field.
Nick Roach: A
This was proably Roach's best game of the year. He did an outstanding job shutting down Adrian Peterson and caused the early fumble in the game. He went on to lead the team in tackles for the game.
Charles Tillman: B
Tillman had to leave the game due to an injury but before that he was playing solid football breaking up passes and providing sure tackling.
Tim Jennings: B
The passing game for the Vikings was virtually non-existent largely due to the coverage by Jennings on the outside.
Kelvin Hayden: B
Came in for Tillman and did a nice job filling in at the other outside corner spot.
D.J. Moore: B
Moore had a couple snaps on the field and handled the slot well.
Major Wright: A
Nice rebound game for Wright after a terrible performance in San Francisco.
Chris Conte: A
Like Wright, Conte did a great job in tightening up the back end of the defense. He had an interception but his better play was to break up a touchdown in the end zone on Kyle Rudolph.
Robbie Gould: B
Gould will be the first to tell you that kick shouldn't have been blocked but he rebounded nicely to knock through two field goals.
Adam Podlesh: A
Podlesh had four punts but who cares. He showed nice athleticism on the fake for the two-point conversion.
Lovie Smith: B+
The last two weeks were bad but the past is the past. Smith had his team focused and ready to come out at home against a divisional rival. By stepping on the gas early on, the game felt like it was pretty much under control by the third quarter.
Mike Tice: B
There were some nice subtle changes to the offense. The Bears mixed in the pass more on first down and ran the ball on third down. They were excellent in time of possession and did well with a patchwork offensive line and lack of receivers.
Rod Marinelli: B
Get turnovers and don't let Adrian Peterson beat you. That's what you look for when you coach defense against the Vikings and the Bears achieved that.