Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals: Final Game Grades and Player Analysis

Ross ReadContributor IIIDecember 23, 2012

Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals: Final Game Grades and Player Analysis

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    In a game the Bears needed to have to keep their playoff hopes alive the defense set the tone early and paced them on the way to a 28-13 victory over the Cardinals

    Zack Bowman and Charles Tillman had defensive touchdowns to give the team a total of nine for the season. They are now one away from the NFL record set by the 1998 Seattle Seahawks

    Jay Cutler started the game just one for his first 11 throws but went on to complete six passes to Brandon Marshall including one for an 11-yard touchdown. 

    Matt Forte had 88 rushing yards on 12 carries and a touchdown before leaving the game with an ankle injury. 

    The Bears will wrap up the regular season on the road next week in Detroit. They need to win the game and get some help to make the playoffs. Their easiest route would be a victory by the Green Bay Packers in Week 17 over the Minnesota Vikings

Quarterback

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    Jay Cutler: C-

    From the start of the game Cutler could not get into any rhythm. His throws were erratic and off target. He managed to come up with a couple nice completions to Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall including one for a touchdown but overall it was an ugly game for him.   

Running Backs

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    Matt Forte: A

    It's too bad Forte left the game with an injury because he was on his way towards having a terrific ball game. He still finished with nearly 100 yards on the ground averaging 7.3 yards per rush and had a touchdown. 

    Armando Allen: B

    Allen is a good change of pace back who always runs hard and hits the hole well. He made the most out of his five carries averaging nearly five yards a rush. 

    Kahlil Bell: B

    It's a tough task to put up big rushing numbers when the running plays are straight forward and the defense knows you are just killing the clock. Bell kept the ball in bounds and held on to the football. He did a nice job grinding out the clock in the fourth quarter. 

    Evan Rodriguez: B

    Another solid lead blocking effort by Rodriguez who has turned himself into a quality fullback. 

Wide Receivers

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    Brandon Marshall: B+

    Brandon Marshall became the most prolific wide receiver in a single season for the Bears in this game. He had six catches and a touchdown on 14 targets. 

    Alshon Jeffery: C

    Jeffery had just one catch and is still struggling to get separation from the defender. Missing time this season due to injuries has stunted his growth during his rookie year. 

    Earl Bennett: C- 

    Just one catch in Bennett's return from a concussion that knocked him out two games. He should have been a little more active with so much attention to Marshall. 

Tight Ends

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    Kellen Davis: C

    Two catches for Davis is usually two more than he has contributed lately. 

    Matt Spaeth: B

    Very good blocking game for Spaeth. He was effective in the running game and pass protection. 

Offensive Line

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    J'Marcus Webb: B+

    Webb did a nice job keeping Cutler's blindside clean. The Cardinals bring a lot of pressure off the edge but he held his own all game. 

    James Brown: B

    Holes in the running game were opened up on Brown's side. He did a good job sealing off defenders to allow for running lanes. 

    Roberto Garza: B+

    Garza was very effective in the running game. Like Brown he did an excellent job making sure Forte had lanes to run through early on. Forte's touchdown run was due to an impressive block by Garza. 

    Chris Spencer: B-

    Spencer settled in at the other guard spot today and played about as well as he has all year. 

    Gabe Carimi: B

    A couple weeks at guard seemed to have helped Carimi's footwork. He was moving a little cleaner and more fluidly this week. 

Defensive Line

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    Julius Peppers: A

    The Bears needed a big game from Peppers and they got his best of the season. He had three sacks and was dominant the entire game. 

    Israel Idonije: B 

    Very nice game for Idonije playing from the tackle position. He had a sack and did well filling in for Henry Melton. 

    Stephen Paea: B

    No tackles for Paea but he was good in stuffing the middle. The Cardinals running game was non-existent. 

    Corey Wootton: B

    Wootton plays the speed rusher role very well. He would have had a sack or two if not for a couple holding penalties. 

    Shea McClellin: B

    Like Wootton, McClellin comes off that edge so fast and it really puts pressure on the quarterback to get rid of the football quickly. 

    Amobi Okoye: C

    One tackle in limited action for Amobi. 

    Nate Collins: B

    Nice job stuffing the run for Collins. 

Linebackers

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    Lance Briggs: A

    Another outstanding game by Lance Briggs who was all over the field again making play after play. 

    Nick Roach: B+

    By far his best game of the season and dare we say the best game by a Bears middle linebacker this year? 

    Geno Hayes: B+

    A veteran of the Cover 2 scheme knows his role well. Funnel the runners towards the other linebackers and corners. 

Secondary

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    Charles Tillman: A

    Another pick six for Tillman who should be on his way to his second Pro Bowl. 

    Tim Jennings: A

    Jennings is the leading vote getter at his position for the Pro Bowl and it was good to see him back on the field with his usual physical style. 

    Chris Conte: B

    It was a nice solid start for Conte in the back end before he left the game with an injury. 

    Major Wright: B

    It's clear Wright does his best work right around the line of scrimmage. He had a tackle for a loss and a pass deflection on a blitz. 

    Kelvin Hayden: B

    Having Jennings back means Hayden slides back to his nickel spot where he has excelled all season. He had an interception in the game. 

    Anthony Walters: B

    Did a nice job securing the back end in relief for Conte. 

Special Teams

9 of 10

    Special Teams Unit: F

    Other than Eric Weems and Zack Bowman and Adam Podlesh it was an ugly effort for the entire special teams. Muffed punts, blocked field goals and an array of other mistakes including a lack of communication could have cost them the game against a better opponent. 

Coaching

10 of 10

    Lovie Smith: B

    Smith's team needed this game and his group came out and put their foot on the Cardinals' throats early to make sure the game was never in doubt. 

    Mike Tice: D

    A lack of commitment to the run early and his inability to get other receivers involved really stood out in another poor offensive playcalling. 

    Rod Marinelli: A

    The defense got back to what got them to a 7-1 start. Putting pressure on the quarterback, forcing turnovers and scoring on defense. 

    Dave Toub: F

    Tons of mental mistakes by the special teams unit. Very uncharacteristic for a Toub coached unit.