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Grading Every Chicago Bears Starter's 2013 Regular Season » The Chicago Bears were sent on early vacation after a crushing loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Bears finished with an 8-8 record in what is considered an underachieving season.  Changes to the roster will come, but before the Bears can move forward they must evaluate the team. The ... Packers vs. Bears: Takeaways from Chicago's 33-28 Loss to Green Bay » The NFC North division crown and a trip to the playoffs were laid out before them, but the Chicago Bears could not capitalize and lost to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 33-28 on Sunday afternoon. The offense sputtered in the first half but was able to stay in check due to the defense. Unfortuna... Jay Cutler More Than Deserves to Be Bears' QB of the Future » The disappointment of once again falling short of the postseason should not cloud the decision-making process that lies ahead of the Chicago Bears on soon-to-be free agent quarterback Jay Cutler.  While the Bears were unable to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 17, Cutle... Referee Error Aids Green Bay Packers in Win over Chicago Bears » The Green Bay Packers, now NFC North champs and playoff bound after their 33-28 win over the Chicago Bears, converted on fourth down three times on their final drive, culminating with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb on 4th-and-8. However, one of those fourth-down con... Packers vs. Bears: Final Game Grades and Analysis for Chicago » Aaron Rodgers throws a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to eliminate the Chicago Bears from playoff contention.     Final Score Green Bay Packers: 33 Chicago Bears: 28 Final Analysis for the Chicago Bears Passing Offense: Jay Cutler did everything he could to keep his team in t...
Saturday, 25 October 2014
Chicago Bears News
Grading Every Chicago Bears Starter's 2013 Regular Season
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:23    PDF Print E-mail

The Chicago Bears were sent on early vacation after a crushing loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The Bears finished with an 8-8 record in what is considered an underachieving season. 

Changes to the roster will come, but before the Bears can move forward they must evaluate the team. The offense seems to be on the right track, while the defense needs a complete overhaul. 

Here are the grades for the starters this season. 

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Packers vs. Bears: Takeaways from Chicago's 33-28 Loss to Green Bay
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:23    PDF Print E-mail

The NFC North division crown and a trip to the playoffs were laid out before them, but the Chicago Bears could not capitalize and lost to the Green Bay Packers by a score of 33-28 on Sunday afternoon.

The offense sputtered in the first half but was able to stay in check due to the defense. Unfortunately in the second half, the Packers ran for 98 yards and scored the eventually game-winning touchdown on 4th-and-long with just 38 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

Head coach Marc Trestman told Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune after the game, "I'm very disappointed for our players and for our fans. I'm proud of the effort they gave today."

The Packers move on to the playoffs and will host a game at Lambeau Field this coming weekend, while the Bears have been sent packing for the offseason.

Here are my takeaways from the Bears' 33-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

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Jay Cutler More Than Deserves to Be Bears' QB of the Future
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:23    PDF Print E-mail

The disappointment of once again falling short of the postseason should not cloud the decision-making process that lies ahead of the Chicago Bears on soon-to-be free agent quarterback Jay Cutler

While the Bears were unable to beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Week 17, Cutler played well enough to win the game and get Chicago into the postseason. Even in a losing effort, his career-best performance against the Packers should give Marc Trestman and the Bears the final bit of confidence needed to keep Cutler in Chicago, at least for another season. 

Trestman wasn't ready to discuss long-term questions following the 33-28 defeat Sunday, but he liked the way his quarterback played. 

"I'm not in the outside world," Trestman said, via the Bears' official site. "A rivalry game, a championship game, the speculation is, 'let's see how he does on this kind of stage.' Jay played well enough for us to win tonight." 

In almost every big win or loss, the quarterback receives too much of the credit or too much of the blame. In this case, Cutler deserves very little of the blame for the failure in Sunday's de facto NFC North title game. 

Trestman called only 25 pass plays, smartly choosing to rely on an effective running game to power an offense that, at times, moved the football at will against the Packers. But when Cutler was called upon, he delivered. 

He completed 15 of his 24 attempts and took only one sack. He finished with 226 passing yards, good for 9.4 yards per attempt. And his two touchdowns and one interception—which came on a last-ditch Hail Mary to end the game—gave Cutler a passer rating of 103.8, nearly twice his career average against the Packers. 

For most of the game, Cutler outdueled Rodgers, who threw two first-half interceptions and labored through obvious periods of rust. 

On Chicago's second series, Cutler found Brandon Marshall for a 37-yard gain that set up a Matt Forte touchdown. The Bears' third touchdown was thanks solely to Cutler, who found Alshon Jeffery in stride for 67 yards on third down. Forte scored on a one-yard touchdown run, even though it appeared Jeffery made it to the end zone on the long connection a play earlier. 

It appeared the Bears were on their way to a division title when Cutler lofted a perfect fade to Marshall in the end zone to start the fourth quarter. The 6'4" receiver got around the coverage of Tramon Williams and Cutler's throw landed right in his arms for a 28-20 lead. 

However, mistakes happening all around Cutler sent the Bears home following another loss to the Packers. 

Chicago's defense failed to react to a live ball during the second quarter that resulted in a fumble return for a Green Bay touchdown. A series later, Jeffery fumbled after a completion and gave Green Bay an easy three points. 

In the second half, Jeffery couldn't come down with a well thrown deep ball on 3rd-and-17 that could have iced the game under five minutes. It was a tough catch, but one that Jeffery has made nine out of 10 times this season. And Marshall let another sure completion—which would have given the Bears a chance to run a less desperate play than a Hail Mary—fall to the turf on the final drive with less than 15 seconds left. 

Cutler's passer rating before Sam Shields intercepted his Hail Mary try was a rock-solid 126.4.

The narrative will still tie this loss to Cutler, who is now 1-8 lifetime against the Packers. It might even be enough to shift public opinion on his future. Cutler is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this coming spring. 

But this latest defeat was much more about the aforementioned mistakes on offense and a defense that failed in the biggest spots. 

The Packers finished with 160 yards on the ground, 473 total yards and 33 points—adding to new single-season franchise-worst numbers for the Bears in all three defensive categories.

Green Bay also scored 20 points in the second half, including two touchdowns during a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter after the Bears went up 28-20. The comeback was capped off when Rodgers beat a jailhouse blitz and connected with a wide open Randall Cobb on 4th-and-8 from the Bears' 48-yard line with less than a minute remaining. 

Before the winning touchdown, the Bears had two other chances to turn the Packers over on downs during the final drive and failed. It was a fitting end to a disastrous season for coordinator Mel Tucker's defense.

In fact, it's probably a blessing that Cutler and the Bears even had something to play for in Week 17, given how poor the defense played on Sunday and for most of 2013. 

Now, Trestman and general manager Phil Emery must decide if Cutler is their guy in 2014 and beyond. Even Cutler admits he doesn't know what will happen.

"You can't predict the future," Cutler said, via Tony Andracki of CSN Chicago. "It always works out how it's supposed to."

It's a difficult decision. And it's a choice fraught with several moving parts—money, the rookie class of quarterbacks and Josh McCown's performance as the backup this season will all be factors in whether Cutler comes back.

But Sunday should help provide the evidence needed for the Bears to keep Cutler as their franchise quarterback. 

A good majority of NFL teams would line up to sign Cutler, a big-armed quarterback who can make all the throws and who remains underrated as an athlete. In a high-stress environment against the Packers, those positive attributes were on display. 

And there's the continued hope that the tutelage of Trestman, a noted quarterbacks coach with extensive experience playing and coaching the position, will continue to marginalize all the bad that has historically come with Cutler. He made only one risky throw against Green Bay before the Hail Mary on the game's final play.

Trestman called a well-designed game for Cutler. There were aggressive plays downfield, and a number of more conservative throws which called on Cutler to just get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. Overall, the Bears had safe, efficient and productive play from the quarterback position. It was winning football on offense. 

"I thought Jay played very well tonight," Trestman said. "He threw the long ball well. He gave guys a chance to make plays. He was in total command of what was going on out there."

Remember, Trestman has already invested a full season into connecting with Cutler and polishing some of the QB's rougher edges. There would be a certain feeling of both failure and restarting if Cutler were left to walk this spring. 

Chicago's decision on Cutler won't hinge on one single game, nor should it. But Sunday was the kind of performance the oft-maligned quarterback needed to help his case to stay in the Windy City. 

Trestman and the Bears now owe it to themselves to give Cutler at least one more season before pressing the restart button at the game's most important position. 

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Referee Error Aids Green Bay Packers in Win over Chicago Bears
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:23    PDF Print E-mail

The Green Bay Packers, now NFC North champs and playoff bound after their 33-28 win over the Chicago Bears, converted on fourth down three times on their final drive, culminating with a 48-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb on 4th-and-8.

However, one of those fourth-down conversions was not without a little help from the referees. 

Early in the drive, on 4th-and-1 from their own 23-yard line, the Packers snapped the ball late. The play clock showed "00" and the ball hadn't begun to move from center Evan Dietrich-Smith's grip. The referees let the play go, and the Packers picked up the first down. 

Claiming referee error is a subjective argument in many cases because calls often come down to the way a rule is interpreted, or even the way a fan perceives the replay versus the way a referee does—but in this case, there's nothing subjective about it. The official play clock, as Fox illustrated for its viewing audience, very clearly shows time expired before the ball had been snapped. 

Realizing the Packers were late to huddle (Packers head coach Mike McCarthy was considering challenging the previous play), it's a wonder the referees weren't watching the play clock with a closer eye. Had they called an error-free game, they would have flagged the Packers and penalized them five yards for delay of game. At 4th-and-6 from their own 18, the Packers may have opted to punt the ball. 

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Packers vs. Bears: Final Game Grades and Analysis for Chicago
Monday, 30 December 2013 06:23    PDF Print E-mail

Aaron Rodgers throws a 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb to eliminate the Chicago Bears from playoff contention.  

 

Final Score

Green Bay Packers: 33

Chicago Bears: 28

Final Analysis for the Chicago Bears

Passing Offense: Jay Cutler did everything he could to keep his team in the game. If Alshon Jeffery makes that late catch on 3rd-and-long, then this is a different outcome. 

Passing Defense: It was just an awful second half for the secondary. The tackling was poor and busted coverage ultimately lost them the game.  

Rushing Offense: What a terrific game from Matt Forte. He was sharp in reaching the edge and finished with two rushing touchdowns. 

Rushing Defense: Once again poor tacking proved to be a problem for the Bears. Eddie Lacy was slowed by an injury, but James Starks was able to chew up big yardage. 

Special Teams: Devin Hester rebounded nicely to set the Bears up with good field position in the second half. Adam Podlesh still struggled with his punts. 

Coaching: Marc Trestman did a nice job of calling plays on offense, but his defense just couldn't get it done. Mel Tucker will receive warranted criticism this offseason after this game. 

 

First-Half Analysis for the Chicago Bears

Passing Offense: Jay Cutler's completion percentage has to get better. This passing game needs more of a rhythm if the Bears want to keep this Green Bay offense on the sidelines. 

Passing Defense: Great job to intercept Aaron Rodgers twice. Julius Peppers' forced fumble could have been a game-breaking play for the Bears, but they failed to pick up the ball. 

Rushing Offense: Matt Forte has been very good on the ground, and he needs more touches in the second half. Michael Bush even chipped in with two good carries. 

Rushing Defense: The linebackers and defensive ends have done a good job setting the edge and forcing Eddie Lacy back towards the middle of the field. 

Special Teams: A terrible punt from Adam Podlesh was almost overshadowed by a couple of bad Devin Hester returns, including one where he almost lost the football. 

Coaching: It was a smart challenge early on by Marc Trestman. Mel Tucker's defense is playing fast and aggressive, but both men get a downgrade for their players not picking up a loose ball when no whistle was heard.  

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2008 Bears Draft Board

2009 NFL DraftTracker
RD PK (OVR) NAME POS
3 4 (68)  Jarron Gilbert  DT
3 35 (99)  Juaquin Iglesias  WR
4 5 (105)  Henry Melton  DE
4 19 (119)  D.J. Moore  CB
5 4 (140)  Jonny Knox  WR
5 18 (154)  Marcus Freeman  LB
6 17 (190)  Al Afalava  S
7 37 (246)  Lance Louis  TE
7 42 (251)  Derek Kinder  WR