Bears grades vs. Packers: Linebackers

Bears grades vs. Packers: Linebackers
December 30, 2013, 12:00 am
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James Anderson and Lance Briggs delivered sacks of Aaron Rodgers in addition to one tackle for loss each. Anderson led the Bears with 12 tackles and Briggs added six in a step up from the Philadelphia game.

But in arguably the most catastrophic play of the game, Anderson cost the Bears effectively a 14-point swing when he failed to cover a loose ball caused by a Julius Peppers sack of Aaron Rodgers. Anderson just ran by the apparent incompletion, and wideout Jarrett Boykin picked it up, Rodgers urged him into the end zone and the Packers had a touchdown.

[MORE: Bears failures end season in loss to Packers]

Had Anderson had the same awareness, the field was open in front of him to take that same fumble and run it the other way. The mistake left the Bears behind 10-7 instead of up 14-3.

“I guess the one time you don’t [pick up a loose ball], it hurts you,” Anderson said. “I don’t know what everyone else saw, but you did see [Rodgers’] arm coming forward and you assumed dead ball. But you have to play to the whistle.”

Anderson also struggled badly in run defense, losing chances to stop 17- and 41-yard runs by the Packers on one third-quarter drive. He was one of a cluster of Bears to miss tackles of Jordy Nelson on a big gainer on a fourth-quarter touchdown drive.

[RELATED: Two plays resonate in Trestman's mind after loss to Packers]

The Bears were forced to play nickel personnel extensively, forcing Briggs to stay on the field with James Anderson as the nickel linebackers. Briggs had the sack of Rodgers in the second quarter that was nullified by a roughness penalty on Shea McClellin.

“We have the opportunity to get off the field and just have to make a play,” Anderson said.

Moon's Grade: D-