So it was an ugly win, but I will take it.
First off, "Good as Gould" is the greatest clutch kicker in Chicago Bears history. The man is money... Takes notes Jeff Reed.
Second, whatever was up with Soldier Field, either they need to fix the turf or the Bears should have been wearing longer cleats because people were slipping and sliding as if they were on an ice rink.
Third, THAT IS THE JAY CUTLER WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR. God that was nice to see.
On to the grades:
Like last week, I go overboard except this time it is for the better. The first couple drives were pitiful and caused some personal anxiety.
After that though, Cutler really picked it up. He seemed to see the field better than last week and used some check down options. He also managed to avoid the rush and make good decisions under pressure.
And he led them down the field with three minutes left to set up the winning field goal. He gets an A in my book.
Running back: D+
Listen, I know that the Steelers run defense is amazing, but Forte/A.P. were mostly invisible.
A.P have one nice run but also dropped a pass and Forte was shut down for the most part but on the one play where he took the screen pass pretty far, he fumbled.
There isn't to much to say here. Hopefully we can get it going next week in Seattle but it seems to me that Ron Turner is pretty much intent on getting off the bus throwing the football.
Wide Receivers: B+
There were some drops but overall this unit made plays when it needed to.
And by this unit, I mean Johnny Knox. If we were grading players, Knox would have gotten and A/A- and the rest of the receivers would have gotten a C.
The game ball goes to Knox in my opinion. He was open all over the field, he made some difficult catches and he just looked ridiculous. Knox finished with 70 yards and a touchdown.
Hester had a key first down reception on the final drive but heard little from both him and Earl Bennett this game.
Tight Ends: B-
Olsen had SEVERAL drops but made up for it with a couple nice catches on both the last touchdown drive and the winning field goal. Kellen Davis' touchdown was huge and he stepped right in and filled the void left by Dez Clark's injury.
This could be the changing of the guards in terms of the tight end position. Davis looked solid and reliable as a competent No. 2 next to Olsen. As long as his blocking improves, he should be in the tight end rotation consistently.
Offensive line: C+
Another fairly unspectacular performance. While they managed to give Cutler just enough time to throw the ball, the lack of a running game falls mostly on their shoulders. Pace still looks a step to slow at times and there were a couple more penalties on the O-Line then there were last game.
On the flip side, Cutler was sacked only once. Against the Steelers D, that is a major success.
I know Tillman had the interception and that they played the cover two for most of the time, but Santonio Holmes and Hines Ward were open a lot.
Zachary Bowman, in his first pro start, was not overly impressive but he did not give up the big play, so that's a plus.
It just seems that this soft cover two leaves much to be desired... and by that I mean, it sure seems like wide receivers are open on almost every play.
OK, seriously for that first half I was screaming at Danieal Manning through the TV. It wasn't even funny. If you watch the replay of the first Steelers touchdown, he bit hard on the play action and let the tight end, his only responsibility, run right past him. Unacceptable.
Kevin Payne looked alright although he missed a couple tackles in the secondary.
Al Afalava still looks like a stud. He was unable to shed a block every now and then, but he fills the hole nicely.
Grade would be higher if it wasn't for the fact that the Steelers peeled off some big runs there in the second half.
I give a B because this group stepped up and played big despite missing two starters. Hillenmeyer showed emotion and played hard.
Lance Briggs was the Bears leading tackler and Nick Roach did pretty well considering that Steelers tight end Heath Miller only had three receptions.
While the Steelers did eclipse 100 yards rushing, you still didn't hear a lot from "Fast" Willie Parker. I will say that Rashard Mendenhall looks to be dangerous for the next couple of years.
Defensive line: B-
I know this might be a little harsh. We held the Steelers to 14 points. We chased Big Ben around a little but really, the Bears front four should have been all over him. There were plays when Roethlisberger had all day to throw. I mean he could go through his progression and had enough time to look at every receiver twice before he got rid of it.
Props to Alex Brown for two big sacks before he got hurt. That marks the second week in a row when a Bears defensive end recorded two sacks.
Points did get taken off for several penalties including a couple offsides and a bad unnecessary roughness call on Mark Anderson after a play was dead which was also inexcusable.
Maynard was his usual reliable self although some of his punts did not get the hang time needed because Steelers return man Stefan Logan had a couple decent returns.
Robbie nailed the winning field goal and also kicked the ball nearly out of the end zone. "Good as Gould"
Hester/Knox didn't make in insane plays. But they didn't cough the ball up either and for the most part ran the ball forwards.
As I said, Logan had a couple decent returns but Rashied Davis has the strip on the final kickoff and Craig Steltz recovered, so all is forgiven.
The defense started on their heels and when Big Ben had time, he normally found the right guy to throw the ball too. But they held fast and admittedly, got lucky when Jeff Reed missed two field goals.
The offense started slow but picked up as the game progressed. But the lack of run game is still a little disturbing. Turner needs to make this a focal point in this weeks practice.
It was a tough, hard fought win, with a little luck to boot. But a victory against the defending champs is a plus in my book.
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