Grading the Chicago Bears after a week one loss
It wasn’t the start the Chicago Bears were looking for in 2014.
The Buffalo Bills marched into Soldier Field and stole a win from the Bears, leaving question marks about a team that many thought had a chance to win the NFC North. There are still 15 games left in the season obviously, but is it too early to panic?
Here is how the Bears graded against the Buffalo Bills:
The Bears took their first possession and marched right down the field for a touchdown. After that? Well, I don’t know what to say other than they struggled. The offense got too cute at times and two Jay Cutler interceptions ended up costing the Bears some points.
The second one was the most crucial. On a third and one in field goal range, Cutler forced a pass on a designed rollout which was intercepted by defensive lineman Kyle Williams.
Cutler did throw for 300+ yards and two touchdowns, but the mistakes hurt his grade.
The only position worthy of a A grade thanks to another good game from Matt Forte. The Bears running back was effective in both the rushing and receiving game, giving the Bears a big weapon on offense.
Why he only ran the ball 17 times is beyond me, but it happened.
Rookie Ka’Deem Carey got one carry in the game, finishing with four total yards.
Wide receivers/Tight ends
Despite losing Alshon Jeffery for most of the second half, the Bears receiving core put together a solid game. The one fumble by Brandon Marshall was costly, but that shouldn’t be an issue the entire season.
Santonio Holmes saw limited action due to him not knowing the full playbook, but he is expected to see more action as the season progresses. The team missed Jeffery but inserted Michael Spurlock and Josh Morgan with his loss.
The receiving core finished with 17 receptions and a touchdown in the game.
As for the tight ends, Martellus Bennett had a solid game minus the mis-communication with Cutler on the first interception. Bennett finished with 8 receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown. He was targeted 10 times by Cutler.
Dante Rosario caught one pass for 12 yards.
Despite losing two starters to ankle injuries in the first half, the Bears offensive line actually played well. Michael Ola and Brian de la Puente filled in at left guard and center, replacing Matt Slauson and Roberto Garza.
Both played very well, stepping in and picking up blitzes. That’s not an easy job especially against a good defensive line. As a unit they only gave up 2 sacks to the team with the second most sacks in the NFL last season.
The Bears slim depth at offensive line could be a problem moving forward and worth keeping an eye on.
The new-look Bears defense took the field for the first time this regular season, highlighted by the additions of Lamarr Houston, Jared Allen and Willie Young.
It didn’t go so well in their first game.
The Bears recorded just one sack on E.J. Manual and lost contain several times throughout the game. It was embarrassing and very similar to last seasons defense that was historically bad.
Another part of the defense that needed to play better this season was the linebacking core. Like the defensive line, the linebackers played just as bad.
Jon Bostic, D.J. Williams, Shea McClellin and Lance Briggs all saw action in the game and the four combined for just 8 tackles according to ESPN. That’s just simply pathetic.
The Bears linebackers were gashed by the running game and failing to fill their gaps multiple times.
Chris Conte had an interception that turned into a touchdown by the Bears offense. But Conte missed two tackles on two runs of 30+ yards including getting thrown around like a rag doll in overtime.
Ryan Mundy wasn’t bad but was caught out-of-place on a few plays.
The Bears cornerbacks weren’t terrible as Jennings had some trouble with Robert Woods, but the Bears were very rarely burned on any pass plays and did a good job of covering.
I thought the special teams unit would be a big problem for the Chicago Bears this season. So far through one game, it hasn’t been.
The special teams unit actually had a very solid game. Robbie Gould converted on both field goal attempts and there were no bad snaps.
Punter Pat O’Donnell had nice game as well averaging near 40 yards a punt with one punt downed inside the twenty. There is still room for improvement however.
This was simply one of the worst, if not the worst, called games in Marc Trestmans 17 games as the Bears head coach. The play-calling was very confusing at times as the Bears tried to get “too cute” at points in the game.
Matt Forte carried the ball just 17 times, failing to get a touch on that 3rd and 1 designed bootleg which was very upsetting. I trust Trestman, but this game was very odd in terms of his play-calling. Trestman did admit he made some mistakes after the game.
Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker continues to get heat as the Bears failed to contain the read-option, something that has been a problem since Tucker arrived in Chicago. It needs to be fixed because the Bears will continue to see it until they prove it can be stopped. The Bears gave up close to 200 yards rushing, a problem that continues to haunt them.