Decision to go prevent drops defensive grades


Decision to go prevent drops defensive grades

This is the classic one hand in the oven, one hand in the freezer and on average youre comfortable: The Bears allowed zero points on Denvers first 12 possessions, then points on each of the last three.

The defense held Denver without a first down in the third quarter and had the NFLs No. 1 rushing offense generally in check until the final four minutes of the game. Then the group that wants the game in its hands when it matters most gave up 10 points in those final minutes. No help from Marion Barber but the game was there for the defense to win.

Defensive line C-

The line got to Tim Tebow for five sacks, two by rookie Stephen Paea. But pressure was not consistent and all but non-existent in the closing minutes of the game. Julius Peppers dropped Tebow in the second quarter for his ninth sack of the season. Henry Melton led a pocket-collapse against Tebow to get his 7th sack of the season on the first possession. Israel Idonije was guilty of a knee-area hit on Tebow to give Denver a third-and-long conversion but Idonije provided strong work on the edges against the Denver run game and recovered a fourth-quarter Tebow fumble. Paea had a sack in the second quarter and added another in overtime.

Linebackers C-

Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach were overall strong at maintaining position and area control against the offensive varieties of Tebow. Denver had only two plays longer than 19 yards and Willis McGahee was thoroughly throttled with 34 yards on 17 carries. Denvers ability to march for those scores on the final three possessions was a team meltdown.

Secondary C-

Craig Steltz, in his fourth career sack, had a sack that forced a fumble on a safety blitz in the fourth quarter. Charles Tillman thwarted a first-quarter Denver drive with an acrobatic interception of a Tebow pass at the Chicago 24. The Broncos scored their one TD on a breakdown that allowed Demaryious Thomas to be left alone in the fourth quarter.

Coaching D

The decision to soften up the defense in the fourth quarter was and will be intensely debated. The scheme overall was working to stop the Denver offense when it was in a run-or-pass mode and shifting to playing more coverage against a generally inaccurate Tebow late never becomes an issue if Barber stays in bounds.

John Fox: 'No truth' to reports he’s done with Jay Cutler

John Fox: 'No truth' to reports he’s done with Jay Cutler

Jay Cutler isn’t expected to the Bears starting quarterback in 2017, whether for reasons financial ($16 million), results (seven Bears Bears seasons, one postseason, two winning years) or performance (76.2 passer rating through his two games, one TD, two INTs). And given the chance this week to express either confidence in or desire to remain in Chicago, Cutler didn’t, only that the future is what it will be.

But if coach John Fox expects Cutler to be done after this abbreviated season for the quarterback, as some reports have suggested, Fox flatly said on Thursday that those reports are wrong.

“There is absolutely no truth to that,” Fox said. “People can say whatever they want. That’s the unfortunate part of this profession. But absolutely not true.”

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Cutler said, perhaps ironically, perhaps bluntly, that Fox had “no choice” but to be supportive of him now that Brian Hoyer is done for the year with a broken arm.

But Fox has been generally complimentary of Cutler going back as far as the NFL owners meetings last spring. Fox was supportive of Hoyer, holding out a chance to hold onto the starting job, when the Hoyer stepped in after Cutler’s thumb injury in week two, and Fox was supportive of Cutler as Cutler returned from the down time.

“I think Jay kinda knew all along what our plan was and that’s the important thing,” Fox said. “He was really supportive of Brian as far as the game plan, on game day, during the games. As far as on the sideline, making adjustments and different things that Brian was familiar with, I thought he was very helpful.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Bears actually trade Alshon Jeffery?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Will Bears actually trade Alshon Jeffery?

Brian Hedger (, Teddy Greenstein (Chicago Tribune) and Rich Campbell (Chicago Tribune) join Chuck Garfien on the panel.

The Bears reluctantly go back to Jay Cutler as the starter. Meanwhile, can the Bears actually trade Alshon Jeffery?

The guys give their predictions for the Bulls season, Hedger dissects the Blackhawks penalty kill problems and Teddy explains why Michigan will win the Big Ten.

Listen to the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: