Chicago Bears Week 10 Report Card

It was a wild Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field as the Chicago Bears stomped on the Detroit Lions, 37-13.  The Bears defense racked up four interceptions and two fumble recoveries to go along with an 82-yard Devin Hester punt return for a touchdown.  The offense had a rare chance to take the afternoon off and the Lions were cheap-shotting their frustration out on the Bears.  It all added up to a huge Bears win, running their record to 6-3, tying them with the Lions for second in the NFC North.

There were so many great individual performances; it is going to be hard to find anything to complain about.  On the good side, I can’t say enough about the performance that Charles Tillman had.  It was simply amazing to watch.  Everyone from Julius Peppers to Tim Jennings to Earl Bennett played a big role in trouncing the Lions.  Let’s look a little more in depth at just how well these and other Bears played.

CB Charles Tillman – Words cannot sum up the game that Tillman had.  He was stuck to Calvin Johnson like a honey badger on honey throughout the game.  Johnson was targeted 19 times and finished the game with seven catches for 81 yards and a fumble.  Holding Johnson under 100 yards with no TDs can always be considered a good day.  Tillman also had three pass deflections, five tackles and a pick-six in the third quarter that pretty much sealed the victory for the Bears.
Grade:  A+

CB Tim Jennings – Jennings also had a great game, opposite Tillman.  He forced and recovered a fumble early in the game that kicked started the Bears rout.  He also had an interception late in the game that eventually led to the all-out brawl.  He led the team with 10 tackles and had one pass deflection.  Yes, the Bears gave up over 300 yards passing for the game (only 103 in the first half), but most was in garbage time.  Jennings stepped up big to keep the Lions out of the end zone.
Grade:  A

QB Jay Cutler – I’m not going to say that Cutler had a big game (9-19, 123 passing yards), but he set the tone early once again and did all enough to not give away the game.  He led the Bears on four consecutive scoring drives (two TDs, two FGs) to start the game.  Anyone who questions his toughness needs to watch this game.  Ndamukong Suh completed the Coward Trifecta during the game by diving at Cutler’s legs when he was out of bounce, ripping his helmet off and hitting him late (all separate plays, none of which drew a penalty) to go along with Nick Fairley’s Dirty Dive Bomb on top of Cutler in the end zone.  Cutler held his own and even talked a little trash when he needed to.  Oh, yeah.  He also won the game.
Grade:  B+

WR Earl Bennett – I can’t talk about Cutler without mentioning Bennett.  He led the way with six catches (on six targets) for 81 yards.  He catches everything that Cutler throws to him and who doesn’t love those orange shoes?
Grade: A

Mike Martz – Once again, Martz tried to pull off another trick play, when he called the old halfback pass from Matt Forte.  It was very early in the game, when Cutler was throwing well and Forte was running well.  So it makes sense to have Forte throw the ball, right?  At least he was committed to the run, especially when the Bears had a big lead (31 running plays called, 24 passing plays called).
Grade:  C

DE Julius Peppers – This was one of his best performances as a Bear.  He forced a fumble from Calvin Johnson on the Lions’ first possession, which set the tone for the entire game.  He also had three tackles, a sack and a pass deflection.  He was making life miserable for Matthew Stafford all day.  He is still battling a knee injury, so I can only imagine how well he will play once that is fully healed.
Grade: A

The Referees – I’m normally not one to complain about referees, but they lost control of this game early and made some terrible calls and non-calls in the game.  How Stafford wasn’t given, at least, a penalty for his neck-whip of D.J. Moore, I don’t know.  And then Moore is the only one thrown out of the game.  Suh had a late hit on Cutler that wasn’t called and the Earl Bennett non-catch that was reviewed and reversed probably shouldn’t have been called a catch.  Overall, this crew just lost control of the game and never recovered.  Can the league also fine them for terrible officiating?
Grade:  F-

PR Devin Hester – I don’t care if Hester plays another down on offense.  I just want him returning kicks.  He had punt returns of 29, 82 and 35 yards (his last return was shortened to 11 yards due to a penalty).  He’s a game-changer.  Once again, he not only gave the Bears points, but also gave them great field position.  Even when he didn’t return the punts, they were kicked short and out of bounds.
Grade: A

CB Corey Graham – He’s not just a special teams stud, he can also play some defense.  He intercepted Stafford in the end zone, halting a possible comeback late in the game.  Can he play any safety?
Grade:  B

CB D.J. Moore – I like a guy who stands up for himself.  Moore, of course, got caught when he retaliated against Matthew Stafford, who just molested his head and threw him by his helmet.  While his actions weren’t necessary, since the Bears had a huge lead, other teams will see that you can’t walk all over this team.  You poke the Bear, you get claws (or a Heat-Seeking Moore-ssil, in this case).
Grade:  A+

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  • flowermike

    Good read Deez.

    agree on all points

  • flowermike

    Good read Deez.

    agree on all points

  • venomlash

    Agree on all of those.

    I would be a little concerned about the line’s rush blocking, though. They’ve been pretty consistent for the last few games, but on Sunday, they didn’t open up lanes very well. Forte especially is the sort of runner who, if he has a hole opened up for him and gets up to full speed, will drag any tackler for another three yards. If he can’t get past the line of scrimmage with his momentum intact, his performance will suffer, as it did against the Lions. Kudos to Forte on his 40-yard scamper, though.

  • Chicago Irish

    Okay, you may have to cut me some slack with my question, as I understand this great game of football, but also know I don’t know everything. But why? Why? Why? …have the Bears never experimented with Hester in the back field? I’m not talking about handing the ball off to him…I’m talking about getting him out in the flat and throwing it to him. Would it be entirely bad to line up in a split formation with Forte and Hester in the backfield 3-5 plays per game? I get that he would have to understand the blocking scheme, but someone please tell me why this would be a stupid idea or why the Bears have not tried it?????

  • venomlash

    Agree on all of those.

    I would be a little concerned about the line’s rush blocking, though. They’ve been pretty consistent for the last few games, but on Sunday, they didn’t open up lanes very well. Forte especially is the sort of runner who, if he has a hole opened up for him and gets up to full speed, will drag any tackler for another three yards. If he can’t get past the line of scrimmage with his momentum intact, his performance will suffer, as it did against the Lions. Kudos to Forte on his 40-yard scamper, though.

  • flowermike

    Good question Irish, and it would allow Knox to be on the field more often…. really better than roy williams anyway. Get Devin the ball out in space against linebackers would be similar to what NO did with RBush. The more he touches the ball, the better.

    I thought a similar thing about Olsen… why couldn’t we line him up all over the place and create matchup problems? Moot point now, but we have some athlete’s that are dynamic, let them make plays.

    We tend to be bullheaded and if the plan works one day, fine. Adjustments are our achilles heel. Well, not ours but Lovies. Increasing Devin’s touches should be explored.

    And venom’s point about the line play is accurate and ties in. Allow Forte the same opportunity one on one with a linebacker. At some point, a short pass is like a run and fairly safe and sack free. I remember the Rams using every square inch of the field and Faulk’s main strength was his speed against the second tier of defense.

  • Chicago Irish

    Okay, you may have to cut me some slack with my question, as I understand this great game of football, but also know I don’t know everything. But why? Why? Why? …have the Bears never experimented with Hester in the back field? I’m not talking about handing the ball off to him…I’m talking about getting him out in the flat and throwing it to him. Would it be entirely bad to line up in a split formation with Forte and Hester in the backfield 3-5 plays per game? I get that he would have to understand the blocking scheme, but someone please tell me why this would be a stupid idea or why the Bears have not tried it?????

  • Deez

    @venomlash I also agree that the run blocking wasn’t very good on Sunday, but Detroit has very good front four. Nick Fairley is coming off an injury and is just now get acclimated with the defense. The Bears offensive line is mediocre, at best, and will continue to be a wildcard each game.

    Also, I believe Forte has the most rushes for negative yards in the league, so it’s no surprise that he is going to get stopped now and again. The Bears will have to rely on those big runs where he gets 30 to 40 yards downfield and turn them into points when the opportunity comes. As long as the keep a balanced attack, Forte will get his yards.

  • Deez

    @flowermike The Bears have seemed to have gotten away from the screen pass in recent weeks and definitely think they need to exploit that as often as they can.

    My only concern with Hester in the backfield is complicating the offense. We have seen plenty of times where the Bears try something out of the ordinary and it blows up in their face. As good as Hester is, his instincts aren’t great when he doesn’t have a head of steam behind him. In general, for this Bears offense, simple seems to be the best way to go.

  • flowermike

    Good question Irish, and it would allow Knox to be on the field more often…. really better than roy williams anyway. Get Devin the ball out in space against linebackers would be similar to what NO did with RBush. The more he touches the ball, the better.

    I thought a similar thing about Olsen… why couldn’t we line him up all over the place and create matchup problems? Moot point now, but we have some athlete’s that are dynamic, let them make plays.

    We tend to be bullheaded and if the plan works one day, fine. Adjustments are our achilles heel. Well, not ours but Lovies. Increasing Devin’s touches should be explored.

    And venom’s point about the line play is accurate and ties in. Allow Forte the same opportunity one on one with a linebacker. At some point, a short pass is like a run and fairly safe and sack free. I remember the Rams using every square inch of the field and Faulk’s main strength was his speed against the second tier of defense.

  • flowermike

    @Deez Yeah, I agree, but maybe Hesters learning curve at receiver is harder. I keep thinking that if he was used like Darren Sproles or in the slot against nickel corners…. he’s like a human pinball machine in space.

    I hate Reggie Bush, but that’s the idea.

    In leiu of that, I want to see more Knox and Bennet together on the field and let Williams ride the pine.

    We need to get the O feeling confident because I’m seeing major chinks in the GB defense and one way to pressure Rodgers is to keep up with a scoring binge.

  • Deez

    @venomlash I also agree that the run blocking wasn’t very good on Sunday, but Detroit has very good front four. Nick Fairley is coming off an injury and is just now get acclimated with the defense. The Bears offensive line is mediocre, at best, and will continue to be a wildcard each game.

    Also, I believe Forte has the most rushes for negative yards in the league, so it’s no surprise that he is going to get stopped now and again. The Bears will have to rely on those big runs where he gets 30 to 40 yards downfield and turn them into points when the opportunity comes. As long as the keep a balanced attack, Forte will get his yards.

  • Deez

    @flowermike The Bears have seemed to have gotten away from the screen pass in recent weeks and definitely think they need to exploit that as often as they can.

    My only concern with Hester in the backfield is complicating the offense. We have seen plenty of times where the Bears try something out of the ordinary and it blows up in their face. As good as Hester is, his instincts aren’t great when he doesn’t have a head of steam behind him. In general, for this Bears offense, simple seems to be the best way to go.

  • flowermike

    @Deez Yeah, I agree, but maybe Hesters learning curve at receiver is harder. I keep thinking that if he was used like Darren Sproles or in the slot against nickel corners…. he’s like a human pinball machine in space.

    I hate Reggie Bush, but that’s the idea.

    In leiu of that, I want to see more Knox and Bennet together on the field and let Williams ride the pine.

    We need to get the O feeling confident because I’m seeing major chinks in the GB defense and one way to pressure Rodgers is to keep up with a scoring binge.