Bears D line disappeared against Packers
DE Israel Idonije (Kyle Terada/US Presswire)
DE Israel Idonije (Kyle Terada/US Presswire)
Special to BearReport.com
Posted Dec 27, 2011


Facing a banged up offensive line, Chicago's front four failed to get any pressure on Aaron Rodgers. We also hand out game grades from Sunday's 35-21 loss to Green Bay at Lambeau Field.

The Bears didn't get their one and only sack Sunday night until the outcome had long since been decided and Aaron Rodgers had given way to Matt Flynn. And it was cornerback Charles Tillman who got to the Packers' backup quarterback.

It was the eighth game this season that the Bears had one or zero sacks, and they were 27th in sack percentage entering the game.

"Rodgers was getting the ball out quick sometimes, but when you go through an entire game, you have to be able to get pressure," coach Lovie Smith said. "We have good players up front, (but) we didn't get him out of his rhythm enough to help the coverage. Again, it was a combination of both, the rush and the coverage."

Rodgers hung five touchdown passes and a 142.7 passer rating on the Bears, the first quarterback to top 100.0 against the Bears since the Lions' Matthew Stafford did it in Week 5.

"Whenever you give up five touchdown passes, it's not a good effort," Smith said. "I know the coverage will get blamed for a lot of that, but it was all of us; talking about the rush (too). We didn't knock (Rodgers) down a lot; he had a lot of time. We (didn't) have many flash plays defensively: no tackles for losses, no sacks and, of course, no takeaways."

--Josh McCown may have shown enough in one start to move past Caleb Hanie as the Bears' No. 2 quarterback after Jay Cutler returns.

"Everything you do, you have to look at the performance, and the performance Josh put in (Sunday) night was impressive," coach Lovie Smith said. "That's why we can get so much done this week. We want to see him have an opportunity to come back and play again this coming week. You normally can find a spot for a player that played the way he played (Sunday) night."

McCown's solid performance begs the question of whether he could have played similarly a week or two earlier when the Bears were foundering at quarterback in losses to the Seahawks and Broncos.

"We felt like the time for Josh to play was (Sunday) night, (after) giving him an opportunity to catch up a little bit," Smith said. "He'd been out of football (last season and most of this season). When a guy plays the way he played (Sunday) night you can always say that. But, to me, we followed the proper course to get him out there on the football field."

REPORT CARD VS. PACKERS

PASSING OFFENSE: C-minus -- Josh McCown gave the Bears competent quarterback play for the first time in almost a month. He was not sacked -- only the third time that has happened for the Bears this season -- and his pocket presence was excellent, considering he hadn't started an NFL game in more than four years. He completed 11 passes to wide receivers, more than double what Caleb Hanie had been doing for most of the previous four games. McCown finished with a 76.8 passer rating because of two interceptions, but he led an offense that produced 441 total yards, even though a good chunk of it came after the outcome had already been decided. WR Roy Williams (81 yards on six catches) had his most productive game of the season, and Dane Sanzenbacher re-emerged after a long absence with four catches for 51 yards. TE Kellen Davis caught his team-best fifth TD pass.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Granted the Packers' defense is not championship caliber, but Kahlil Bell ran tough all night, picking up 121 yards on 23 carries, both career bests. Bell fumbled twice, but the Bears recovered both, including one for a touchdown. Bell showed much better vision, quickness and speed than the man he replaced, Marion Barber, and he was able to continue picking up significant yardage even after the Packers knew he was coming. Quick, little Armando Allen provided a decent change of pace and rushed for 40 yards on 11 carries in his NFL debut. McCown picked up an additional 38 yards on eight scampers, avoiding sacks and helping the Bears to 199 yards on the ground, their second-most productive rushing game of the season.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Just like most of the rest of the league, the Bears didn't have an answer for Packers QB Aaron Rodgers, who seemed as if he could pick apart their secondary at will. Safety Major Wright was exposed by Jordy Nelson on his 55-yard TD catch. Even worse was the Bears' defensive line, supposedly a team strength. Playing against the Packers' injury-ravaged offensive line, the Bears line couldn't come up with a single sack. The Bears' only sack came when CB Charles Tillman got to backup Matt Flynn in garbage time.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- Ryan Grant's 24-yard run came courtesy of a missed tackle by Major Wright, which could have cut the gain in half. But other than that, the Bears were stout, allowing just 57 yards on Green Bay's other 20 running plays. SS Craig Steltz and CB Charles Tillman provided strong run support to the line and LBs Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C -- Devin Hester continued to struggle on punt returns (seven yards on two attempts) and P Adam Podlesh continued building on the best season in franchise history with a 45.0-yard net on two boots. Hester averaged 23.4 yards on five kickoff returns, and he still doesn't look to be completely recovered from a sprained ankle that has nagged him for weeks. Robbie Gould missed a 49-yard field-goal attempt but hit a pair of chip shots.

COACHING: B -- The offensive game plan made perfect sense and was effective moving the ball, just not getting it into the end zone. By running the ball 42 times, the Bears built a 35:48-24:12 time-of-possession edge. Getting McCown into the starting lineup was the right move, but it leads to the obvious question: Why didn't they make the move from Caleb Hanie to McCown a couple weeks earlier?


Bear Report: The only publication exclusively dedicated to your Chicago Bears.


Related Stories
Bell has bright future in NFL
 -by BearReport.com  Dec 27, 2011
Bears playing for pride against Vikings
 -by BearReport.com  Dec 27, 2011
Tales from the Tape: Defense
 -by BearReport.com  Dec 27, 2011

MAGAZINE COVERAGE
Subscribe today and get a full year of Bear Report Magazine with an annual Total Access Pass.
Sign Up Today!

Upgrade Now!
Free Email Newsletter
Don't miss any news or features from BearReport.com. Subscribe to our newsletter to have our newest articles emailed to you on a daily or weekly basis.
Click here for a list of all Team Newsletters.

Add Topics to My HotList
Get free email alerts with news about your favorite topics. Click link to add to My HotList.
Football > Chicago
[View My HotList]