Bears vs. Packers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Chicago
The Chicago Bears came away with a 27-20 victory in Green Bay on Monday and proved again to be calm and collected under head coach Marc Trestman.
The Bears leaned on the strong play from backup quarterback Josh McCown, and the defense came up with an important stop at a pivotal part of the game.
Here are the full roster report card grades for the Chicago Bears for Week 9...
Despite making his first start in nearly two years and having to make that start at Lambeau Field, Josh McCown looked like he had been in Marc Trestman's offense for nearly a decade Monday night.
McCown finished the game going 22-of-41 for 272 yards with two touchdowns and was only sacked once. He looked poised in the pocket as he stepped up when he felt pressure and showed good accuracy on the majority of his passes.
His first touchdown pass to Brandon Marshall in the end zone was off of a rushed throw that he was able to get just enough on and his second touchdown to Alshon Jeffery he showed off his accuracy, placing the ball high to allow him to go up and reach the ball at its highest point.
McCown's strong game should allow the ailing Jay Cutler more team to rest before he comes back and proved he can one of the league's most solid backup quarterbacks in 2013.
Matt Forte had yet another stellar game as he rushed for 125 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown as well as catching five balls for 54 yards.
He showed his elusiveness and ability to make tacklers miss when he was able to find room in the open field. While he did not have many "wow" plays, he was consistent throughout the whole night. His biggest play only netted a handful of yards when he was able to convert a fourth and one in the fourth quarter after he was initially pushed back off of the line of scrimmage.
Michael Bush saw playing time on Monday night and finished with seven carries for 25 yards and one catch for 15 yards.
Despite the fact that Jay Cutler did not play Monday night, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery again proved to be one of the league's best wide receiver duos.
Marshall finished the night with seven catches for 107 yards and one touchdown and was seemingly all over the field on Monday night.
Jeffery finished the night with five catches for 60 yards including a great catch in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown from McCown.
Both receivers were strong in the run blocking game, as both consistently gave strong efforts to help spring running back Matt Forte.
Earl Bennett and rookie Marquess Wilson both saw playing time, but neither had a reception and Wilson is the only other receiver than Marshall or Jeffery to register a target from McCown.
Martellus Bennett had a 27-yard reception in the second quarter that helped set up Matt Forte's one-yard touchdown run but was mostly non-existent in the passing game the rest of the night, registering just nine total yards on his four other catches.
He was penalized for a questionable holding call near the end zone in the fourth quarter and was otherwise average at best in his run-blocking.
Backup Dante Rosario saw the majority of his playing time on special teams and allowed a lunging Jamari Lattimore to block a punt by Adam Podlesh that was recovered by Chris Banjo at the Chicago 32 in the first quarter.
Any time a team comes into an opposing team's stadium with a backup quarterback under center the offensive line needs to prepare for a barrage of pressure from the opposing defense. The Bears offensive line played great against a Packers team that did its best to try and disrupt backup Josh McCown.
The Bears started the same five guys they've started all season (Jermon Bushrod, Matt Slauson, Roberto Garza, Kyle Long, Jordan Mills) and the have begun to show that they have gelled as unit, regardless of which quarterback they are protecting.
Head coach Marc Trestman praised the offensive line after the game, saying via Chicago Tribune:
They have done a good job of getting better each week. Our guys worked really hard this week to prepare. Dom Capers threw it all at us tonight...coming from different places, different coverages. Josh did a good job of managing, changing the protections when we had to. Overall they hung in there and just kept playing.
The offensive line allowed just one sack of McCown and while they will face another difficult task this coming Sunday against the Detroit Lions, they continue to show week in and week out that they have what it takes to keep their quarterback protected.
After weeks of inconsistent play along the defensive line against both the run and the pass, the Bears were finally able to get pressure on an opposing quarterback Monday night.
Shea McClellin registered three sacks against the Packers, including one that injured Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and forced the team to rely on backup Seneca Wallace.
Julius Peppers got in on the act, registering a sack as well as tipping a pass attempt from Wallace and hauling in and interception.
Corey Wootton helped close out the game with a sack on Wallace in the final few minutes but the defensive line struggled all game to slow down the running game of Eddie Lacy and James Starks.
Stephen Paea was nonexistent at times, often getting pushed around at the point of attack and McClellin struggled to set the edge against the run.
Ultimately, when it mattered the most the defensive line was able to produce and hopefully their play against the Packers can help catapult them into improving their play for the remainder of the season.
Initially this grade was going to be lower, but considering the fact that the Bears were forced to start two rookie linebackers against the Packers, this grade fits.
Greene saw limited action on the first drive as the Bears ran a lot of their nickel package, but following the injury to Aaron Rodgers, the Bears at times tried to stack the box with eight-man fronts.
He and Bostic both tried tackling Eddie Lacy too high on a few occasions, and all around the Bears did a poor job of wrapping up the ball carrier all night.
On the James Starks touchdown run, James Anderson missed his gap completely and left a huge opening that allowed Starks to score virtually untouched. Anderson also whiffed on what appeared to be a surefire interception in the third quarter.
Overall, the biggest struggles for the linebackers came against the run and in order to slow down strong running games, they will need to shore up their assignments and work on their tackling.
The Bears allowed Seneca Wallace to throw for only 114 yards on Monday night and while Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Isaiah Frey all played solid games, they were not faced with as difficult as a task without Aaron Rodgers in the ballgame.
Only seven passes were completed to wide receivers on the night for the Packers as they relied more heavily on their running game.
The Bears tried to blitz Frey early on in the ball game but he failed to make much of an impact but did play Jordy Nelson well at times in the slot.
It is hard to gauge the actual performance of the cornerbacks considering how the Packers tried to lean on their running game but much like the other defensive groups, they need to improve on their open-field tackling if they want this defense to improve in the coming weeks.
Week 7 was a tough week for Bears free safety Christ Conte, as he played one of the worst games of his career against the Washington Redskins. He was constantly out of position and was beaten many different times in the passing game.
Fast forward to Monday night in Green Bay and things did not seem to get much better for Conte. While he was not beat over top for any big pass plays, he once against struggled mightily when trying to wrap up the ball carrier. He has been good at getting himself to the runner but whiffed on various occasion Monday night, including on the James Starks touchdown run.
Strong safety Major Wright did not fare much better, often missing his gaps and his tackling was awful all night.
The assumption was an improved pass rush would benefit the safeties but after a consistent pass-rush all night, it may be time to wonder about a change at the safety position.
Adam Podlesh had a punt blocked and the Bears' special teams unit was unable to recover a surprise onside kick in the third quarter right after the Packers had scored a touchdown.
The special teams unit has struggled under new coordinator Joe DeCamillis this season, and Monday night was another example of poor execution from his units.
Devin Hester was again average at best, and their protection for Podlesh was suspect at best all night. If they cannot get their act together, DeCamillis' tenure in Chicago might not last beyond this season.