The Chicago Bears are on a two game win streak after they beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Soldier Field. The Bears have beat two teams they should have beat, and have now started to scratch the surface of the NFC Playoff race.
While the game started off sloppy for the Bears, they made the adjustments they needed in the second half to pull out the win. Here’s how they graded Sunday against the Buccaneers.
Jay Cutler and the Bears offense struggled int he first half, leaving fans frustrated going into halftime. But the team turned it around with a 21-point half to give them a win. Cutler did turn it over once in the first half on a fumble, but was pressured by the Bucs for the majority of the game.
The Bears are going to need the Cutler that showed up in the second half if they want to make a playoff push.
Matt Forte continues to be excellent for the Bears this in both the rushing and receiving game. He’s now passed 1,400 yards from scrimmage this season, making him just the third player ever to do that in each of his first seven seasons. The others? Curtis Martin and Ladanian Tomlinson. That’s pretty good company.
Forte finished with 89 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Wide receivers/tight ends
The Bears receiving core struggled all game and especially in the first half. Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Marquess Wilson and Martellus Bennett combined for just 11 receptions all game. They had a few key drops including one from Wilson and Bennett in the first quarter. Jeffery did catch the lone touchdown pass on the game for the Bears.
Forte was the leading receiver with five receptions.
The offensive line was a mess in the first half but rebounded nicely to help lead a second half surge. Multiple times the pocket collapsed on Cutler and the Bears couldn’t establish any rhythm at all.
In the second half, it was a different story. Powering behind some solid offensive line play Forte found the end zone twice to help lead the comeback.
For the second straight week the Bears defensive line played better than they have all season. The unit continues to be the best unit on this defense, led by Jeremiah Ratliff, Willie Young and Stephen Paea.
Former Viking Jared Alen played well for the second street week, recording 4 quarterback hits and some disruption in the backfield. David Bass forced a key fumble that lead to a Bears touchdown in the second half.
Despite a solid performance from the defense as a whole, the linebackers unit didn’t really play great. Now the unit could be without Lance Briggs, depending on the severity of his injury.
The linebacker unit is going to be one to pay attention to over the next few weeks as the younger players may get a shot. The linebackers combined for 16 tackles on the game.
It looked like it was going to be a long game for the Bears secondary in the first half after they gave up a few big plays to Buccaneers receivers. But after that the play improved in the second half, although it was not by much.
There are now injury concerns with rookie Kyle Fuller dealing with a knee injury, something to keep an eye on.
Just signed last week, Marc Mariani helped give the Bears some good field position with two kickoff returns totaling 46 yards and making the right decisions not to bring the ball out. Mariani is certainly an upgrade
Kicker Robbie Gould continues to have struggles as he missed his only field goal attempt. Punter Patrick O’Donnell also remains inconsistent with his punting, shanking two out-of-bounds in the fourth quarter.
The coaching has improved over the last two weeks but there are still some frustrations with Marc Trestman and his staff. The game started off slow for the Bears and a couple of play calls really didn’t make a lot of sense.