Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) warms up before the game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Whew! The Bears escaped from New York with a 27-19 win over the Jets. After opening up a 14-0 lead, the Jets refused to give up and outscored the Bears 19-13, but the Bears had just enough in the tank to come away with a victory to bring their record to 2-1 and a share of the NFC North lead heading into their Week 4 matchup with the 1-2 Packers at Soldier Field. It was a gritty team victory as everyone pulled together when it mattered most to come away with a victory. Let’s look at our Week 3 Chicago Bears Report Card:
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Jay Cutler had his moments against a very tough Jets defense. He went 23 for 38 for 225 and 2 TD’s and a passer rating of 94.7. But what was the most important number is Jay Cutler’s stat line? Zero. As in zero interceptions although he could have easily tossed at least two if the Jets secondary could catch. Cutler did cough up a fumble and the Bears actually caught a break that the refs blew the play dead or it would have been a touchdown return for the Jets. Cutler kept his composure under a myriad of blitzes and was able to get rid of the ball well even though he was sacked 4 times.
Running Backs (B-)
It’s not all Matt Forte’s fault. He was going up against the league’s toughest run defense, but we’ve got to see more from the running attack. Forte’s stat line won’t tell the whole story – 13 attempts for 33 yards and 6 catches for 43 yards. He had a couple of key short yardage conversions and third and short which showed his grit. The Bears lost Fiammetta to injury, so that certainly didn’t help the rushing attack. Ka’Deem Carey had 1 rushing attempt for zero yards.
Wide Receivers (B)
Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) is injured during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Marshall tried to gut it out. He aggravated his ankle injury and had to leave the game toward the end of the first half and his return was downgraded from probable to questionable. Good thing that Questionable is like the injury report Questionable, which means he’s good to go as Marshall did return after halftime. He finished up the night with just 1 catch. Alshon Jeffery made up for Marshall’s absence with an 8 catch, 100+ yard performance and drawing a key PI to set up the Bears’ first offensive touchdown.
Tight Ends (B+)
Martellus Bennett keeps having “his best game as a Bear” week after week. 5 catches for 54 yards and a pair of TD’s. On a night when Brandon Marshall was limited, Bennett came up big. He had a key drop in the end zone that would have really opened the game up. Dante Rosario was pressed into action as an H-back with Fiammetta’s injury. He added a catch for 8 yards.
Offensive Line (B+)
I’m feeling a little generous with the grades tonight, so I’ll give the offensive line a solid B+ grade. I’ll be interested to see how PFF compares. I thought the line did about a good a job as you could expect going against a crazy Jets front-7. They allowed 4 sacks of Jay Cutler but against Rex Ryan’s crazy blitzes, that’s a pretty decent night. Michael Ola’s illegal hands to the face penalty nullified a Brandon Marshall TD which turned into a Bennett TD a few plays later. The running game is still struggling, but the Jets defense is really geared up to shut that down.
It wasn’t exactly the offensive explosion that the Bears posted last week, but it was a solid, smart game plan against a very challenging Jets defense. The Bears have been really solid when they get to the red zone, which is a huge improvement over last season. They went 2/3 from inside the 20 and were 1/1 goal to go attempts.