Arizona vs. Chicago: Live Game Grades for Arizona

Andrew Nordmeier@@AndrewNordmeierContributor IIIDecember 22, 2012

Arizona vs. Chicago: Live Game Grades for Arizona

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    CHICAGO 28 ARIZONA 13 FINAL

    The Chicago Bears' defense scored a pair of touchdowns and powered the Bears (9-6) to a 28-13 win over the lowly Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals dropped to 5-10 with the loss and close out the season next week at San Francisco

    The lone Arizona touchdown was a blocked field goal return by Justin Bethel late in the fourth quarter. 

    Brian Hoyer replaced Ryan Lindley early in the second half and was able to generate some yardage but no points. 

    A Beanie Wells fumble near his own end zone led to the Bears' first defensive score and the second was an easy interception return. 

    Matt Forte scored on a 4-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter but left the field with an ankle injury in the second half and didn't return. 

    Start the slide show for the final grades from the game. 

Quarterback Ryan Lindley/Brian Hoyer

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    Cumulative Grade: C-  Neither Cardinal quarterback was able to hit the end zone with a touchdown pass. Arizona hasn't had a touchdown pass since week nine at Green Bay. Collectively, Arizona quarterbacks finished 28-of-49 for 219 yards and two interceptions. They absorbed four sacks on the day. 

    4th quarter: C- Hoyer was able to do an okay job of completing passes as he hit on 11-of-19 in the second half for 105 yards but was picked off in the fourth quarter.  

    3rd quarter: D Hoyer replaced Lindley on Arizona's second offensive series of the quarter. Lindley threw an easy pick-six to the Bears' defense. Hoyer hit 4-of-7 passes for 57 yards in the quarter. 

    2nd quarter: C- Lindley showed some inconsistency and was overthrowing open receivers in the second quarter. His stat line is not bad at 17-of-28 at the half but just 141 yards and no scores. 

    1st quarter: B  Lindley did a good job hitting 8-of-11 passes in the first quarter and got the Cardinals moving down the field but didn't put up points. 

Offense

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    Cumulative Grade: D The Arizona offense managed 248 yards on the day. The ground game did virtually nothing as the rushing attack recorded a meager 29 yards on 19 carries. Beanie Wells got benched following his fumble and had four carries for all of three yards.

    The only Cardinal with a good day, statistically, was Larry Fitzgerald with 8 catches for 111 yards. It was his first game with more than 100 receiving yards since Week 3 against Philadelphia

    4th quarter: C Hoyer did a decent job moving the ball east-to-west but the team didn't get much going in a north-south direction. The ground game was almost non-existent as the score dictated more passing. 

    3rd quarter: D Arizona has been doing okay at getting yardage but they're not putting up the points. Beanie Wells has been relegated to the bench after his fumble and it's been almost all passing in the second half. At least Larry Fitzgerald is having a halfway decent day with 6 catches for 95 yards. 

    2nd quarter: D The Cardinals didn't put up the yardage and the fake field goal fell woefully short of getting the necessary yardage. The ground game is still averaging less than two yards per carry. Arizona still hasn't found the end zone yet and has scored a touchdown in one of the last three and a half games. 

    1st quarter: D  The offense didn't do much in terms of yards and Beanie Wells' fumble in the shadow of his own goalposts really hurt the offense. 

Defense

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    Cumulative Grade: D Arizona's run defense didn't do the team many favors as Forte gained more than seven yards per carry before leaving hurt. A misfiring Jay Cutler made the defense's job easy early on. Cutler finished 12-of-26 passing for 145 yards and a touchdown. He started the game 1-for-11. 

    The Cardinals didn't much penetration into the Chicago backfield. They recorded just one sack and three tackles for losses for the game. Chicago doesn't have an electrifying offense but the Cardinals' defense didn't do enough to slow them down in this one. 

    4th quarter: C- The Cardinals were torn up on the ground by the Bears' backup running backs as Chicago was able to move down field and nearly scored more points in the final minutes of the game. 

    3rd quarter: C Arizona held the Bears' offense off the scoreboard in the quarter but they are still getting hit on the ground game. The Cardinals have had little pressure on Cutler as they have racked up one sack and one quarterback hit in three quarters. 

    2nd quarter: D  The Cardinal defense had issues with containing Matt Forte on the ground. The only thing going for the defense is that Jay Cutler can't complete a pass. Cutler was 1-of-11 passing and has thrown to Brandon Marshall nine times before the Bears marched down the field on the final drive of the half. 

    Forte has rushed for 85 yards on 11 carries in the first half and Arizona continues to get gashed on the ground game. 

    1st quarter: C+  The Arizona defense didn't allow a point and did an okay job bottling up Matt Forte until the last play of the quarter. It also helped that Jay Cutler misfired on his first six passes. 

Special Teams

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    Cumulative Grade: B The blocked field goal was exciting and finally got Arizona into the end zone. Dave Zastudil did his best to keep the Bears pinned down. He punted eight times and dropped six of them inside the Chicago 20-yard line. The special teams unit was the best unit on the field today for Arizona. 

    4th quarter: A Adrian Wilson blocked a field goal and Justin Bethel returned it for a touchdown in the final minutes of the game for Arizona's only score of the game. That was the only bright spot in an otherwise dreary day for the Cardinals. Peterson didn't get any real chances to run back punts because of the good coverage Chicago had all day. 

    3rd quarter: C The bad news is that Arizona didn't get anything going in the return game. The good news is that Patrick Peterson didn't try to play hero and instead called for fair catches at the right times. Peterson has fumbled the ball seven times on kick returns this season and is smartly not taking any risks here. 

    2nd quarter: C  The fake field goal fooled no one and was the low point of the Arizona offensive effort. It's not a bad idea to try a gadget play but that wasn't the one to run.


    The Cardinals made up for it by recovering a muffed fumble at the Chicago 36-yard line to get themselves into good field position. Michael Adams made the heads-up play for Arizona and it led to Feely's second field goal. 

    1st quarter: C   Jay Feely hit a field goal and the kick return game is faring okay.

Coaching

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    Cumulative Grade: C- Whisenhunt and company finally pulled the plug on Lindley early in the second half and that may have been the best decision all day. The running plays were ineffective and both quarterbacks had problems air mailing their passes over their receivers' heads. The coaches need to get the quarterbacks calmed down because there were chances to keep drives going. 

    Arizona finished just 3-of-15 on third down and has converted barely 20 percent of third downs over their last five games. The offense needs to be able to try and stretch the field with passes that are more than 15 yards deep. 

    Defensively, the schemes needed to be adjusted to play hide-and-go-seek with the pressure and confuse the Bears' offensive line. Arizona needs to find ways to be more disruptive on plays. 

    4th quarter: C Again the coaches didn't dial up any plays other than simple pounding with the run game and dink-and-dunk passes. Defensively, they weren't able to get the right plays in to get any pressure on Cutler. 

    3rd quarter: C The Cardinals aren't calling anything overly exciting. The offense keeps plodding down the field two yards at a time. Bringing in Hoyer was a good move but it still hasn't resulted in points. 

    2nd quarter: D The playcalling hasn't fooled much of anyone as the Cardinals are barely gaining more than a couple yards a play. Arizona needs to find ways to keep the Chicago defense guessing if they want to get back into the game in the second half. 

    1st quarter: C Whisenhunt and crew stuck to their game plan and were able to come out of the quarter trailing by four points.