Grading Da Bears: Chicago takes one on the road in New York
It may not have been pretty, but the Chicago Bears are 2-1 after a 27-19 win in New York Monday night.
The Bears jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead after a defensive touchdown and a Martellus Bennett touchdown reception in the first quarter. The Jets stormed back however pulling to within five points in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie the game late in the quarter. The Bears held on for the victory and earned another win heading into week four.
With the Green Bay Packers coming into town Sunday, this win was big for the Bears who have the chance to go up two games on their rivals from the north.
Here is how the Bears graded during Monday night’s game:
Jay Cutler turned in another solid performance as he threw for two touchdowns and zero interceptions. This is the second week in a row Cutler has not thrown an interception after throwing two against the Bills in week one. Cutler looked sharp out there connecting with six different receivers.
Whats more impressive is he didn’t have a healthy Brandon Marshall for three quarters. Instead, Cutler targeted Alshon Jeffery 13 times and Martellus Bennett eight times. In his last five Monday Night Football Games, Cutler is 4-1 with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.
While there was some bad throws by Cutler near the goal line and his lone mistake being a fumble, the 31-year-old quarterback looked sharp.
If Cutler continues to play like this, the Bears will be in good shape moving forward.
Again it was the running back position that turned in another poor performance this week. Okay, it wasn’t all their fault but they still struggled. The Jets defense completely shut the door on any running attack the Bears were going to throw out there.
Matt Forte finished with 33 yards on 14 carries and played more of a role in the receiving game where he 6 receptions for 43 yards. Forte often had little running room to work with, but was tripped up a few times when he had some holes.
Rookie Ka’Deem Carey got one carry that resulted in no gain.
Chicago will need a better running attack as the season moves forward to compliment their impressive passing attack.
Wide receivers/Tight ends
The Bears receiving core and tight ends had another solid game Monday Night, despite not having a healthy Brandon Marshall for most of the game. Yet, the Bears figured out a way to get it done with Alshon Jeffery and some help from Martellus Bennett.
Jeffery had eight receptions for 105 yards being the teams leading receiver. Bennett finished with five receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s becoming clear that teams won’t be able to stop the Bears passing attack. They may be able to slow down one receiver, but the Bears have weapons all over the field to counter.
I thought the lined played well the first two games of the season but last night was a different story. The line couldn’t help get the run game going and struggled against the blitzes from the Jets.
Okay, the Jets have a solid front and threw a ton of different blitzes at the Bears but the O-Line still struggled. They allowed four sacks and eight quarterback hits in the game.
Overall I think the Bears offensive line will be fine this season, but games like last night can’t happen often.
The Bears went into Monday’s game without one of their best defensive players in Jeremiah Ratliff. Instead, rookies Will Sutton and Ego Ferguson saw significant time and played well aside from a few blunders.
Willie Young continued to be the best defensive lineman on the team as he recorded another sack to give him the NFL lead with four. Young has provided a big boost to a defensive line that has struggled, especially against the run. Despite not recording a sack, defensive end Jared Allen had a big impact by Young’s production thus far.
Stephen Paea had another nice game slowing down the Jets run game and getting pressure on Geno Smith a few times.
I don’t want to write entirely about Jon Bostic in this section but the second year linebacker played a much better game and has looked better as the season goes on. Yes, he dropped what would have been a game-ending interception but Bostic looked good last night. He was in his correct gap and played well in coverage reading what was in front of him.
With the injury to Shea McClellin, the Bears had D.J. Williams and Lance Briggs starting alongside Bostic. Both turned in solid games against the run but struggled in coverage for a majority of the game.
The Bears secondary is depleted after Monday’s nights game saw injuries to Chris Conte, Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray. However, the secondary held their own and turned in a solid performance led again by rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller.
Fuller had another interception and dropped what could have been at least two more. He recorded seven tackles, two forced fumbles and had two pass deflections as he did a nice job in coverage all night. Pro Football Focus graded Fuller as the highest cornerback after week 3 in the NFL.
Alongside Fuller was Tim Jennings who also had a good game and recorded just one tackle. Jennings was solid in coverage.
Before their injuries both Conte and Mundy were playing very well in coverage. At one point in the game the Bears had Ahmad Dixon and Brock Vereen at the safety positions with almost no NFL experience between them. The two held their own on the teams final drive.
Once again the Bears kick return game is a problem. Rashad Ross got his first chance to impress coaches as the teams kickoff returner, but couldn’t get anything going.
If it wasn’t for a solid performance from Robbie Gould who connected on field goals of 24 and 45 yards, the unit would have another bad grade. Punter Pat O’Donnell had five punts which resulted in just 10 total return yards for the Jets, but didn’t find any land inside the 20.
The game plan for Mel Tucker’s defense was a lot of Cover-2 and Cover-3 with blitzes mixed in at the right times. Tucker’s defense played well and the plan worked but what was alarming was the Jets five chances inside the 20. The defense made some adjustments in the second half and played better.
For coach Trestman, the team made the adjustments needed to win the game on the road for the second straight week. An important turnaround after a disaster to open the season against the Bills.
Trestman had all of the right adjustments and put his team in position to win the game.