The Bears roared back in the second half to beat the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday. We hand out our grades in the Week 1 Report Card and I don’t grade on a curve:
Sep 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) drops back to pass against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Jay Cutler pulled it together in the second half to earn a B, finishing with a 93.2 QB rating. He had the requisite interception, which he explained as being hit during the throw, but otherwise played a clean game. Cutler showed great pocket presence and moved well in the pocket, extending plays with his feet and even scrambling for a big first down at a critical part of the game.
Running Backs: B
Bears running backs did not have what you’d call a marquee game, but they were effective enough to get the job done. Forte averaged only 2.9 yards per carry with 19 carries for 50 yards and a goal line touchdown. He added 4 catches for 41 yards in the passing game. Michael Bush helped the Bears salt the game away, getting all his carries while the Bears were running out the clock. I thought Forte tired a bit in the middle of the game and would have liked to have seen Bush more in the early part of the game.
Wide Receivers: B+
Sep 8, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) reacts after making a touchdown catch against the Cincinnati Bengals during the fourth quarter at Soldier Field. Chicago defeats Cincinnati 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Marshall is in a class by himself, even though he was the second best receiver on the field on Sunday. He caught 8 balls on 10 targets for 104 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Alshon Jeffery had some nice catches and caught 5 balls 42 yards, while Earl Bennett showed up on the stats sheet with a catch. For the most part, the receivers did their job, with only a couple balls hitting the ground.
Tight Ends: B-
Martellus Bennett had a catch of day with the first of his Bears career going for a touchdown. Bennett tempered fan’s enthusiasm with a couple of drops and a couple of costly holding penalties. He moves up a letter grade simply for not being Kellen Davis.
Offensive Line: A-
What a difference a year can make! Four new starters, including the rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, surrounding returning vet Roberto Garza kept Jay Cutler’s uniform clean. The only thing that kept this group from getting a solid A or A+ was the 2.9 yards per carry that the running backs put up. Bonus points to Jordan Mills, who showed his composure after getting thrown to the ground late to help the Bears run out the clock. I also loved Kyle Long mixing it up when Cutler got hit when sliding on a big scramble.
Hit the next page to see the Defense and Special Teams grades.