We all know that the Chicago Bears' last two drives of Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals were incredibly effective, with the first resulting in a touchdown and the second milking the final seven minutes and change off the clock thanks to some terrible timeout management by the Bengals.
The only reason, then, that the Bears' grade in this area took a small hit was because of their relatively lackluster play in the first half. Running back Matt Forte had some difficulty in finding holes to run through, and QB Jay Cutler had a couple of poor throws as well as the Bears struggled to a 97-yard performance in that half.
That being said, the performances by guys like Kyle Long, who helped the lead the way in the blocking scheme that allowed Forte to convert on fourth down on the Bears' winning fourth quarter drive, as well as Jermon Bushrod's excellent block to help Cutler stay in the pocket on his touchdown throw to Brandon Marshall, made today's offensive effort successful overall.
The defensive line had a rough time of it, which we covered in today's
Grizzly Details column, and so did the secondary.
The one play that stood out in the latter category was the poor play of safety Major Wright that led to the touchdown by Cincinnati wideout AJ Green. On that play, Bengals QB Andy Dalton executed a pump fake that caused Wright to bite and drop down into coverage on TE Jermaine Gresham,
which left Green all alone with cornerback Tim Jennings. Green then blew past him for the easy touchdown, and the play revealed that the team's secondary isn't exactly clicking on all cylinders.
Still though, the Bears did generate three turnovers against the Bengals in the game, and did a great job in forcing a three-and-out on what turned out to be Cincy's final drive, so it certainly was not all bad.
Special Teams: A
The Bears have long been one of the best teams in the NFL in the special teams phase of things, and despite long-time coach Dave Toub leaving the staff to join Andy Reid in Kansas City, the team didn't miss a beat in Week 1.
Adam Podlesh drilled a couple of fantastic punts, including one that checked up at the 1-yard line and was downed at the three. Robbie Gould booted a 58-yard field goal that was not only the longest of his career, but also was the longest field goal in Bears history.
In fact, the only blemish on the Bears' otherwise sterling day in this area was a long punt return by the Bengals in the first quarter, but it was erased by a holding penalty, so we didn't hold it against the Bears in our grading.
Fan Performance: A
There were a ton of good tweets on Sunday during the game, but we're suckers for Office Space references, so Chicago Sun-Times Blackhawks scribe Mark Lazerus wins for this one:
JETS-BEARS SUPER BOWL! pic.twitter.com/OwsMP4t9VS
— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) September 8, 2013