Chicago Bears Grades: Disaster in Carolina
It was a disaster Sunday for the Chicago Bears. The team blew a 14 point lead and fell to 2-3 on the season with their 31-24 loss.
For the second straight week the Bears struggled in the second half. The team scored just three points in the half and gave up 17. Overall it was a poor game that will put a damper on the Bears season.
For the majority of the game we saw the good Jay Cutler.
Then the ‘bad’ Jay showed up and reared its ugly head. Cutler threw a crucial fourth quarter interception that lead to a game tying field goal from the Panthers. Overall Cutler didn’t have a bad game, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for another one. But the mistake didn’t come at a good time.
For the second week in a row Matt Forte was a bright spot for the Bears offense on Sunday. Forte had 61 yards on 17 carries, but hauled in 12 receptions for 105 yards and a touchdown. Forte is proving his worth by having back-to-back games and becoming a safety net for Cutler.
Rookie Ka’Deem Carey had just two yards on two carries as he looks to increase his role in the Bears offense.
Wide receivers/Tight ends
After being a major factor in the first five games this season, Martellus Bennett was quiet on Sunday. The tight end had just three receptions on 17 yards.
The Bears duo of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery combined for nine receptions and 141 yards on the game. Jeffery had a touchdown reception on a short play from Cutler which saw excellent blocking from Marshall and Bennett.
The Bears receivers really weren’t a factor in a game they should have been. Carolina’s secondary was suspect going into the game and the Bears receivers didn’t take advantage.
The Bears offensive line took a big hit earlier in the week when Jermon Bushrod went down with an injury in practice. That forced Michael Ola to fill in at left tackle alongside Matt Slauson who was returning from injury. Even with Slauson back, the line struggled.
It was probably their worst performance of the season after they had been pretty good in the first four games.
Their grade takes a big hit with the two sacks on the final drive, including one where the whole line was beat by a four-man rush.
Willie Young was dominant once again and Stephen Paea reached Newton a few times. Rookies Ego Feguson and Will Sutton turned in solid games, both putting pressure on Newton and batting down some passes.
On the downside, the Bears got nothing from Jared Allen or Lamarr Houston. Allen and Houston have both struggled this season after signing with the Bears in the off-season.
Another position that continues to be inconsistent for the Bears.
The linebackers core has yet to put together a complete game overall this season. However, they weren’t bad today and made some nice plays. Lance Briggs had a good game as he finished with four tackles, two pass deflections and an interception.
Veteran D.J. Williams also had some good plays and wasn’t bad in coverage. Jon Bostic left the game in the second half and was replaced by Christian Jones who had a key facemask penalty.
Rookie Kyle Fuller continued his impressive play as he held his own against rookie Kelvin Benjamin. Fuller made some nice plays by swatting the ball out of Benjamin’s hands. Fuller continues to be the bright spot on this secondary. Benjamin finished with three catches on the day.
Other than Fuller the Bears secondary had a poor day defending the Panthers passing attack. Multiple times Greg Olsen streaked down the field uncovered, including the go ahead touchdown where Danny McCray had no chance.
Chris Conte left the game to be treated for a concussion and didn’t return.
Another week and another performance for the Bears special teams. They had a crucial mistake in the first quarter that led to a Panthers touchdown on a muffed punt. Then they were flagged a few times for blind side blocks and holding penalties on returns.
Robbie Gould also missed a 35 yard field goal towards the end of the second half.
Something has to change here. It was another poorly coached game overall for the Bears and it cost them another win. Coach Marc Trestman seemed to get away from the game plan and couldn’t get his stars the ball late in the game when it mattered. It seems to be a common theme for Trestman this season.
Then there is the defensive side of the ball. For the most part Mel Tucker’s unit had a solid game, but they were still gashed over the seams for big gains. It was open all game long for the Panthers offense.