NEWS

Bears report card

Matt Trowbridge

Passing offense: B+. Earl Bennett (93 yards), Greg Olsen (three TDs) and Matt Forte (eight catches for 74 yards) set career highs in receiving, Devin Hester had another big day with 94 yards and Jay Cutler had the second-highest total of his career (369 yards) and a 98.6 passer rating. But Hester dropped a fourth-down pass, Johnny Knox dropped a potential 43-yard gain with the Bears down 13 in the final 7 minutes and Chicago, despite eight passes of at least 20 yards, never moved consistently, partly due to four sacks. The Bears were 5-for-13 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth.

Rushing offense: Incomplete. There was no running game. Chicago passed on all six plays of its opening 90-yard touchdown drive, then quit running after falling behind 31-7 at the half. Twelve carries for 70 yards – including two Jay Cutler scrambles – did nothing to win or lose the game.

Passing defense: F. Zack Bowman intercepted Matt Leinart’s only pass, but Kurt Warner was 22 of 31 for 261 yards and five touchdowns, with only one sack. It was even worse in the first half, when he was 17 of 22 with 14 of those 17 completions going for first downs.

Rushing defense: F. The Cardinals, last in the NFL in rushing, doubled their season average in the first half alone with 14 carries for 131 yards. Tim Hightower (77 yards, 5.1 average) and Beanie Wells (72 yards, 5.5 average) were equally effective as the Cardinals finished with 182 yards.

Special teams: D. When the Bears needed a big punt return, Devin Hester returned a 56-yard punt only 2 yards with Chicago down 13 with 7 minutes left. Arizona had a 4.7-yard edge in net punting over Chicago. Robbie Gould’s only field-goal attempt, from 48 yards, was partially blocked and returned 59 yards, leading to an Arizona field goal — and a 6-point swing — in the final 30 seconds of the first half.

Coaching: D. The Bears made a good call in coming out throwing, driving 90 yards on six straight passes on their opening drive, but didn’t look ready to play on defense. Chicago defensive backs consistently played behind Arizona receivers, giving up easy third-down conversions, and a blitz that didn’t get through helped Arizona throw a 24-yard pass on third-and-25 from its own 5 when Chicago was within 13 points with more than 7 minutes to play.

Overall grade: F. Once was horrible, but this game was twice as bad as the Cincinnati debacle because it shows it wasn’t a fluke.