Bears report card: Chicago vs. Minnesota

Matt Trowbridge

Running offense: D-

Sunday’s Chicago Tribune called Matt Forte the Bears best running back since Walter Payton, but he hasn’t averaged more than 4 yards a carry since the season opener. He’s versatile and talented, but a lack of holes seems to be making him tentative. He had 56 yards on 20 carries Sunday, and the Bears averaged 2.4 yards on their 22 carries.

Passing offense: A-

Kyle Orton completed 21 of 32 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 114.5. He was sacked only twice. The Bears are marked down from an A+ to an A- because Orton lost a fumble after one of those sacks and, Marty Booker dropped a sure TD pass.

Running defense: C+

Yes, the Vikings ran for 155 yards and three TDs, but Adrian Peterson (121 yards on 22 carries) is one of the top backs in the league. He made the Bears look foolish on a 54-yard TD run. But the Bears played the run well near the goal line, including throwing Peterson for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1 and making the Vikings settle for a field goal when they trailed 48-31 with nine minutes to play.

Passing defense: C+

Again, this goes to expectations. Gus Frerotte completed 25 of 40 passes for 298 yards and former Bernard Berrian caught six passes for 81 yards and a TD. The Bears applied almost no pressure until getting two sacks in the last six minutes. But the secondary, playing without four injured players, made four interceptions, three of them by backups.

Special teams: A+

Robbie Gould had a low field goal blocked, but he also kicked a 48-yarder. Kickoff coverage was so-so; Minnesota started outside the 30 on Chicago’s first three kickoffs. But Brad Maynard had an incredible day, averaging a 47.5 net – not gross, but net – on his four kicks and Chicago’s punt teams scored two TDs on a blocked punt and a muffed punt return.

Coaching: A

Lovie Smith and Ron Turner put great trust in Kyle Orton, who made that trust pay off. That more aggressive style helped Chicago add 3 points after taking over with 22 seconds left in the half and help protect the lead with a first-down pass of 9 ½ yards in the last three minutes. Chicago’s coaches looked even better when compared to Minnesota’s. The Bears started three first-half drives at the 46, 48 and 41 – and scored on each – after squib kicks and Jared Allen, the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL, kept Rashied Davis inbounds when the Bears were trying to run out the clock in the last two minutes.