The NFL season is broken down into four quarters consisting of four games each quarter. Win your quarters and you should be in pretty good shape come playoff time.
The Bears have started the 2012 NFL season with a 3-1 record, good for a share of the NFC North lead with the Vikings. No, you didn’t read that wrong, I said the Vikings who have looked impressive so far this season.
The Bears brought a new offense coming into the season. Acquiring star receiver Brandon Marshall, drafting receiver Alshon Jeffery and adding backup running back Michael Bush.
It’s no secret fans in Chicago are excited about the new look Bears.
Getting off the a hot start in week 1 against the Colts was key. There’s an old saying that floats around the sports world, “Win the games you are supposed to win”. In this case, the Bears did. A dominating performance brought the Bears to 1-0.
After a disaster in Green Bay, the Bears regrouped with a ‘non-impressive’ win over the Rams in which many fans found themselves wondering if the Bears offense was actually good enough to win games.
That brings me to this week. The Bears completely dominated the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Leaving Chicago and the rest of America wondering, is this what the real Bears offense looks like?
Now with a 3-1 record, the Bears head into Jacksonville to start quarter number two of the NFL season. A win will bring them to 4-1 heading into their bye week, and at least a share of the NFC North lead.
Here are the first quarter grades for your Chicago Bears.
We have seen a little bit of everything from Jay Cutler. He had a nice game against the Colts in week 1, but followed it up with a awful trip to Green Bay.
A mediocre performance against the Rams in week 3 had Bears fans panicking, but Cutler saved the day in week 4. He had one of his best games as a Chicago Bear last Monday Night in the route of the Cowboys.
The criticism is there every week for Cutler. It’s like an angry stepfather just waiting for you to make one little mistake before he crucifies you. That’s exactly what the media does to you. Jay doesn’t care though, and for that, props to you.
The thing about Jay is when he’s good, he’s really good. He’s good enough to carry a team on his back. Just what the Bears need. But when he’s bad, he’s really bad. We saw both sides of Jay in four games this season. Let’s hope he transforms to ‘Good’ Jay for the remainder of the 2012-13 season.
Running backs: C+
How big is the off-season acquisition of Michael Bush now? With Forte still nursing a high ankle sprain, Bush has stepped in when called on. He’s got three touchdowns on the year, and has been productive when called on.
Still the Bears need Forte. He’s a huge key in this offense and where they want to go with it. Forte is so dynamic, he gives opposing defenses fits.
When opposing defenses have fits, that’s when the Bears offense takes advantage. A healthy Forte is key for Chicago.
This is what it’s like to finally have a number one receiver in Chicago? I’ll take it and love every minute of it. The Bears traded for Brandon Marshall in the off-season, and so far it’s been good. Marshall has two touchdowns as he tries to regain some of that Denver magic him and Cutler had.
With Marshall giving the Bears a clear number one receiver, the offense then opens up for the Bears. Players like Devin Hester, Earl Bennett and rookie Alshon Jeffery will have their chances as Marshall get’s extra attention.
Offensive line: C
The offensive line is STILL a problem for Chicago. They have fixed the receiver problem, fixed the quarterback problem, patched up the defense but have yet to figure out how to build a solid offensive line.
The offensive line had a decent performance against the Colts, but came out and looked horrid against the Packers. Since that performance against the Packers, the Bears line has improved. But they will still be a liability moving forward for Chicago.
Defensive line: A
The defensive line has looked impressive this season for the Bears. Led by the dominance of Julius Peppers, the Bears have also received key contributions from players like Henry Melton. The numbers are there for Melton who is having a great start to the season. Can he keep it up though?
Stephen Paea, Israel Indonije and Shea McClellin have also contributed to the success of the Bears defense. Getting those three to play on a high level would continue the success of the defense.
The linebacking core is still going strong. Even with Urlacher still bothered by a lingering knee injury, he’s still played solid. We won’t see the Urlacher we have from the past, that’s obvious, but he’s still able to contribute to the Bears success on defense. He’s currently tied for third on the team for tackles with 25.
Lance Briggs is still playing at a high level and is still a force on the outside for the Bears. To many fans surprise, Nick Roach has done a good job on the outside for the Bears. He’s handled his assignments well and playing at a level high enough to contribute.
The secondary is arguably playing the best out of any position on the other team. Both Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are playing at a high level causing havoc on opposing receivers.
Jennings currently leads the NFL with four interceptions, while Tillman has forced a fumble and returned a interception for a touchdown.
As the corners are playing outstanding, the Bears safety has stepped up as well.
Going in to the season the safety position was considered a weakness for the Bears. Over the years it’s been a revolving door with players shifting in and out. So far this season, Major Wright and Chris Conte have held down the position and played well.
Special Teams: B-
The Bears special teams has been good as usual. Minus the fake field goal they gave up to Green Bay, they have been solid.
They have yet to have a return touchdown, but coaches feel like they are very close to housing one soon. You hear that Devin?