The Chicago Bears’ season sputtered to an end this week with a win against the Minnesota Vikings, 17-13. The victory was just a reminder of what could have been had the Bears been able to pull off two more wins. But, it is what it is, and the Bears finished 8-8 in ugly fashion.
The game started out with the Vikings taking a 10-0 lead, but the Bears defense showed that they could turn a game around when they needed to do it. Charles Tillman’s second pick-six of the season gave the Bears a lead and a Julius Peppers’ blocked kick cemented it. WR Roy Williams showed up again in a meaningless game and DE Israel Idonije showed up to play after a lackluster second half of the season. There weren’t a lot of bright spots in Week 17, but hopefully the Hanie/McCown era is officially over. Maybe we will also lose a bunch of dead weight in Martz and Angelo this offseason. For now, let’s hand out some grades for the final game of the season.
QB Josh McCown – He completed 15 of 25 passes for 160 yards, one touchdown and one interception, which was barely enough to lead the Bears to victory. Still, it was a pretty dismal effort against a Vikings defense that gave up, on average, over 200 passing yards and at least 20 points if 14 of their previous 15 games this season (Tebow even threw for over 200 yards against them). McCown was adequate but showed he’s probably third string material, at best. He may have a shot at being back next year but I’m sure there is a young guy who could be a better fit.
WR Roy Williams – His four catches for 60 yards and a TD marked one of his best efforts of the season. His second consecutive week leading the Bears offense shows that he can actually be a good receiver … when the games don’t count. Even though he caught four passes, he still dropped a few. I really hope he doesn’t come back next season. A good game for Roy is a bad game for every other starting receiver in the league.
RB Kahlil Bell – Bell once again showed that he can be adequate in the backfield, finishing the game with 54 rushing yards and 28 receiving yards. He’s filled in well in the absence of Forte and Barber, but his lack of ball security worries me. His third fumble of the season in only 98 touches doesn’t bode well for his attempt at backing up Matt Forte next year. However, he did a serviceable job as a runner, blocker and receiver on Sunday.
CB Charles Tillman – His pick-six took all the momentum away from the Vikings just when it looked like the Bears were going to be in for a long day. Even though Percy Harvin had 10 catches for 115 yards, most of those catches were due to Vikings QB Joe Webb’s ability to scramble around. Tillman may blow a coverage every now and then, but he tends to make game changing plays when the Bears need them. His effort against the Vikings was just another reason that his Pro Bowl selection was long overdue.
LB Brian Urlacher – It’s hard to find fault in Urlacher’s game. He had 10 tackles, three for a loss and finished up another season leading the Bears defense. The play that defines Urlacher was when, after he was injured late in the fourth quarter, he limped back towards the field of play to watch the field goal attempt. After the Vikings botched the snap, he was celebrating, despite his injured knee and meaninglessness of the game. He’s a guy who plays hard and loves being on the Bears. And I, for one, love having him here.
DE Israel Idonije – He was in the backfield on almost every snap. You can look at one of two ways, either he will use it as momentum going into next season or his inconsistency is going to bite the Bears in the butt in the future. Either way, he had one hell of a game, recording his fifth sack of the season and forcing a couple of desperation throw by Vikings QBs. Let’s hope Idonije can play like this every game next year.
WR/KR Devin Hester – I don’t know if it is his injury, lack of special teams’ blocking or a meaningless game, but Bad Hester showed up again this week. He averaged just 11 yards on two kick returns and averaged just two yards on two punt returns. I have a feeling his injury has taken away some of his confidence these past few weeks. A healthy Hester next year should return to form, hopefully as a kick returner, punt returner and fifth or sixth receiver.
DE Julius Peppers – Just a quick mention of Pep here. He had half a sack and recorded his eleventh blocked kick of his career. I’m sure glad we have him wrapped up until 2016.
Mike Martz – As much as I don’t want to see Jay Cutler deal with another offensive coordinator, I hope Martz is gone next year. He couldn’t even coach up a decent backup QB over the last few games of a season. Even on Sunday, he went to the pass too much and couldn’t coach an offense to more than 10 points against one of the worst defenses in the league. The only redeeming thing out of Sunday was that the Bears did just enough to win.
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