Julius Peppers getting to Lions reserve QB Shaun Hill
So the way the Bears vs Lions game ended may have been questionable... OK, lucky. But let us at least break down how each position performed in the opening week.
Quarterback - Jay Cutler: B
Cutler went 23/35 for 372 yards two touchdowns, one INT plus five carries for 22 yards, which are pretty solid numbers all things considered. But he gets the B grade because the one interception was thrown into triple coverage, he fumbled the ball away once and at least two if not three of the sacks the Lions had were more of a result of Cutler holding on to the ball a second to long.
Running back - Matt Forte/Chester Taylor: B+
Forte and Taylor combined for 26 carries for 79 yards rushing (an average of about three yards a carry). And Forte did have two fumbles, one he lost. But the simple fact that Forte had two fabulous touchdowns makes up for a lot. Seven receptions for 151 yards and two touchdowns are pro bowl caliber RECEIVER numbers. He has his speed back and Taylor complimented him with some solid runs and a couple nice catches.
Tight ends - Greg Olsen/Des Clark/Brandon Manumaleuna: C
Clark and Manumaleuna blocked pretty well and Olsen had a couple first down catches, but Olsen had a big fumble and no other TE recorded a catch. So, just about average.
What grade would you give the Chicago Bears?
Wide receivers - Devin Aromashodu/Johnny Knox/Devin Hester: B-
Aromashodu and Knox had some nice catches (although Aromashodu dropped an easy touchdown catch) and Hester's one reception was for 17 yards. Combined, the three had eight receptions for 140 yards. Should have been better, but when your running back has 151 yards receiving by himself, that doesn't leave a lot of chances.
Offensive line: C-
Some of the sacks were a result of Cutler holding on to the ball for too long, but Cutler was constantly under pressure and the fact that Forte and Taylor could only muster 3.0 yards per carry against a Lions team that Forte gashed for 100 yards in both games last season, forces a poorer grade. Multiple holding and false start penalties doesn't help the cause
Defensive Line: A-
Julius Peppers earned his paycheck. He recorded one tackle, one sack and one forced fumble... Oh and one QB knocked out of the game (to be fair, I hope Stafford recovers quickly. I actually kind of like him when he is not facing the Bears).
Tommie Harris actually showed up for a couple plays and the Mark Anderson/Israel Idonije tandem played spirited.
Linebackers - Pisa Tinoisamoa/Brian Urlacher/Lance Briggs: A
This is what the Bears were expecting from their linebacking corps last season before Brian Urlacher and Pisa Tinoisamoa got hurt.
Urlacher was all over the field, sideline to sideline hitting people and making tackles. He finished with eight tackles and a sack and Lance Briggs led the Bears with nine tackles and a forced fumble.
Cornerbacks - Zackary Bowman/Charles Tillman: A-
If you hold Calvin Johnson to four catches for 45 yards, you get a good grade. They get the minus because CJ's non touchdown reception really should have counted.
Safeties - Chris Harris/Danieal Manning: B+
Neither safety played that bad. Although neither seemed to be outstanding. That said, any game where Manning doesn't get burned deep is a good game in this writer's book.
Punter - Brad Maynard: B+
Maynard only averaged 25.6 yards per punt but of his five punts, four ended up inside the 20 yard line.
Kicker - Robbie Gould: A-
Robbie hit both field goal attempts and got the ball close to the endzone on the kickoffs. What more can one ask for?
Kick/Punt returners - Hester/Manning: C
Hester had five punt returns with a three yard return average. Manning had three kick returns for an average of 23 yards. Just an average day.
O/C - Mike Martz: B+
Called a pretty good game with the exception of the four straight failures inside the one yard line.
D/C - Rod Marinelli: A-
With the exception of the final drive, Marinelli did very, very well.
Head Coach - Lovie Smith: C
While the defense played well, the decision to go for a touchdown when all you needed was a field goal to take the lead really makes you scratch your head.
Overall grade: C+
While the Lions are a better team than they were last year and the Bears dominated the game in terms of yards and time of possession, if you need a fluke rule to win the game, you can't score any higher than a C+.