Bears offense (20th ranked)
It’s funny to think that the Vikings offense, despite a rough outing by Ponder last week, is ranked ahead of the Bears after one week. That’s the effect Adrian Peterson can have. There were signs of life for a Bears offense that historically finished in the bottom of the league under Lovie Smith. Jay Cutler was able to lead a 4th quarter comeback against a tough Bengals defense to bring home a W, finishing the day with 242 yards and a couple of TD throws to go with an INT.
Matt Forte failed to get the running game going as Marc Trestman would like. Expect there to be an emphasis on that in Week 2. Michael Bush was relatively quiet, only getting a few carries in mop up duty as the Bears ran out the clock. I would like to see Bush come in and give Forte a few breathers throughout the game.
Jay Cutler did a better job spreading the ball around, but Brandon Marshall was still the star, collecting 8 catches for 104 yards and the decisive touchdown. Alshon Jeffery had a few catches and Earl Bennett even had a catch. Martellus Bennett had an up-and-down game against the Bengals, grabbing a great TD catch but adding a couple of costly holding penalties.
The offensive line stole most of the headlines, as the re-built group did not allow a sack and had a pre-snap penalty-free day. The ground game could have had a better day with Matt Forte and Michael Bush failing to get 3 yards per carry.
Bears Defense (16th ranked)
The Bears defense didn’t look all that different without Lovie Smith, although it was strange to see them without #54 roaming the middle of the field. One of the two defensive stars for the Bears was DT Stephen Paea. He had a solid game against the run and collapsed the pocket to help lead to the day’s only sack, recorded by Shea McClellin. The big ticket linemen, Julius Peppers and Henry Melton showed substantial rust and the hope is they bounce back sooner than later.
The linebackers looked quite different, as DJ Williams and James Anderson joined Lance Briggs. Anderson had a nice game, coming up with a couple of timely passes defended. Briggs was uncharacteristically inconsistent, missing on a few tackles, but coming up with a big tackle for loss.
The cornerbacks were the turnover machines we’ve come to expect. Peanut Tillman had a couple of interceptions while Tim Jennings added a forced fumble. It’s hard to give them a stellar grade when AJ Green lit them up.