Wow... that was the definition of an ugly win.
In fact, I will just come out and say it; the Bears did not deserve to win.
Their defense, while it forced turnovers, was pretty miserable most of the game. They made Seneca Wallace look pro bowl like and Julius Jones shredded through tacklers like it was nothing.
But they won. And a win is a win, whether it is ugly or pretty and I will take it. So lets get to the grades:
Quarterback: Jay Cutler
Maybe a little generous considering that the offense did basically nothing the entire first half, but he led another comeback victory for the second consecutive week. He finished 21/27 for 247 yards three touchdowns and one interception... Not numbers to yawn at.
Cutler has continued to look calm and collected although a few of his passes seem to sail on him. The interception he threw was just out of the reach of Johnny Knox and a few others to the flat seemed to make the receivers jump up for it, as opposed to hitting them in the numbers where they can continue running up field.
Nit picky, but that's me. I have my pet peeves and this one of them. Overall, I liked his performance today.
Running backs: Matt Forte (small addition from A.P. and Garrett Wolfe)
At some point, the Bears are going to have to address the complete lack of a run game. Matt Forte had 21 carries for 66 and six receptions for 40 yards. While it was good to seem him become involved in the passing attack, the 3.1 yards per carry needs to get better.
The grade is a little harsh, but that is just because the Seahawks defense was dominated by Stephen Jackson and Frank Gore in the previous two weeks.
At this juncture, I am not sure if it is the offensive line or Forte himself but something has got to kick in soon because the Bears cannot expect to keep winning this way.
Wide receivers: Earl Bennett, Devin Hester and Johnny Knox
Look at these numbers:
Bennett - six receptions for 80 yards plus a two point conversion
Hester - five receptions for 76 yards and one TD
Knox - one reception for seven yards and a TD
That is pretty good all things considered. They didn't have many, if any, drops and made plays when Cutler got them the ball. They are by no means in the ranks of the best receiving corps but if this is a sign for things to come, than I really like the future.
In my opinion, these three will prove in the future that Chicago is no longer the place where "receivers go to die".
p.s. How is life treating you over there in Carolina Muhsin Muhammad? You enjoy being 0-2? That's what I thought.
Tight Ends: Greg Olsen
Finally, Greg Olsen looked like what everyone thought he would look like coming out of training camp. He has a couple nice catches and a touchdown all though his grade is docked because he was beaten by Seahawks linebacker Aaron Curry who stripped the ball from Jay Cutler.
Kellen Davis did not receive much attention after last week's break out game.
This group just hasn't impressed me overall. The run game finished with a combined total of 86 yards rushing and Cutler was sacked twice.
Although, I will give credit to this unit. Their grade is boosted by the fact that there are less penalties on the line than last year.
I recall only three false starts for the Bears the entire game. Twice on Chris Williams and once on Frank Omiyale, but considering that Qwest Field is the loudest stadium in the NFL, I consider that an achievement.
Cornerbacks: Charles Tillman and Zachary Bowman
This too may seem a little harsh considering that no receiver scored a touchdown and Tillman stripped the ball from T.J. Houshmanzedah. But Nate Burlson had 108 yards receiving and there were players open on nearly every play.
And what really ticks me off... On the Julius Jones touchdown reception, Charles Tillman had the opportunity to make the tackle. But instead of wrapping up and bringing down, he tried to rip the ball loose. Unfortunately, he failed and Jones scampered the remaining 20 yards for the score.
I like his attempt at forcing turnovers, but not if they negative result is allowing touchdowns, that in my mind is totally unacceptable. I know thats the player he is and in works sometimes, the second half strip being a good example, but I penalize him for allowing that score.
Bowman played well once the receiver made the catch as he led the team in tackles with eight.
Safeties: Kevin Payne, Al Afalava and Danieal Manning
I put three in here because each of them seem to see a lot of playing time. While I still blame some of the holes in coverage on this unit, they get this high of grade because Al Afalava is turning into a defensive steal in the sixth round.
Manning had seven tackles in the game and Payne recorded three plus a batted ball, but they always seemed to be just a second late on getting to the receivers.
Linebackers: Lance Briggs, Nick Roach, Hunter Hillenmeyer and Jamar Williams
I put all four in here because Hunter left the game with a rib injury in the second half.
While I wasn't impressed by them in the first half, Lance Briggs is the player of the game in my mind. He finished with six tackles, one pass defended, one interception and a sack. I think he likes his captain status.
Nick Roach played very well when he was forced to play middle linebacker once Hillenmeyer left and Jamar Williams stepped in nicely for Roach when he moved over.
Julius Jones was still open to much but I thought they covered Seahawks tight end John Carlson fairly well as he only had three catches for 28 yards.
They generated some pressure on Seneca Wallace and got to him twice, once each by Anthony Adams and Mark Anderson but where not as disruptive as needed if this defense is to succeed.
The Seahawks finished the game with over 100 yards rushing combined (Jones had 98 yards himself) and Wallace, who finished with 26/44 for 261 yards, generally had enough time to find an open receiver.
Punter: Brad Maynard
He shanked a kick early but of his four punts, two ended up inside the 20, including a 66 yard BOMB that was downed around the six yard line.
Kicker: Robbie Gould
He hit one of two field goals. The miss came when his 53 yard kick fell a little short. His kickoffs generally made it to the goal line but his only touchback came when he kicked off from the 45 yard line following a penalty on one of the touchdowns.
Returner: Johnny Knox/Devin Hester
Knox returned the opening kick off of the game back for 53 yards. The rest of his return's were only average. Hester's only return netted nine yards.
COACHING: Lovie Smith and Ron Turner
I think that these two did not have their team ready for the second week in a row. Turner called just an OK game, with some moments where you just had to sit there and wonder what the hell he was thinking.
And Lovie... whatever Lovie is currently doing with the defensive scheme, it needs to be adjusted. He blitzed more effectively in the second half which is what he needs to do if the defensive line is not generating enough pass rush.
But I will say this, one of my biggest problems the last few years has been the lack of halftime adjustments.
It always seemed that the opposing team would come out and dominate the third quarter because Lovie and the rest of the staff failed to make the necessary changes needed.
But that no longer seems to be the case. In the third quarter, the Bears forced two turnovers with a missed field goal sandwiched inbetween and outscored Seattle 10-0.
So I will say it, touche Lovie... Now get these guys prepared for the first quarter of the games.
Overall Grade: C+
It was an ugly win, but at the end of the day, the Bears are still 2-1.
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