Offensive concerns exist at season's end

Offensive concerns exist at season's end
December 30, 2012, 11:45 pm
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DETROIT The Bears had five possessions reach at least the Detroit 30-yard line in the first half alone and netted just one TD, that with help from a third-down pass interference call against the Lions. The 20-10 halftime margin should have been double.

No better measure of the 2012 woes of the Bears offense needs to be found than the first possession on Sunday when the first possession opened with a 55-yard pass from Jay Cutler to rookie Alshon Jeffery. Then, with the ball at the Detroit 27, the Bears netted just two yards on a first-down pass to Evan Rodriguez, nothing on a second-down run by Matt Forte, and less than nothing when Cutler ran around and eventually dropped the ball, leaving the Bears out of field-goal range.

Throw in a timeout needed to avoid a delay of game flag and a false start on tackle Jonathan Scott and you have the 2012 Chicago offense.

Add to that a fumble recovery at the Detroit 24 on a subsequent kickoff return in the quarter, and the offense getting just nine yards on a three-and-out to settle for a field goal. The result, plus a missed field goal, was the Chicago offense getting exactly three points from three early possessions inside the Detroit 25-yard line.

QUARTERBACK C

Jay Cutlers 55-yarder to Alshon Jeffery to open the game was a perfect throw; his handling of matters immediately after that was something of a mess. But his use of Earl Bennett on a swing pass was good for a 60-yard touchdown, although he too frequently was just treading water waiting for someone to get open and did not get the ball out of his hands quickly enough.

Cutlers decision-making with the game on the line was pivotal. With a third-and-4 he opted for a deep sideline throw toward Brandon Marshall that was incomplete.

Cutler was 4-of-5 in the first quarter; 4-of-10 in the second; 7-of-9 in the third; and 3-of-7 in the fourth. His passer rating of 95.8 was very respectable but misleading. His execution on third downs was poor with the Bears converting just four of 15 opportunities.

RUNNING BACKS A-

Matt Forte showed no ill effects from his ankle injury of last week, rushing for 43 yards on 10 carries in the first half. Forte finished with 103 rushing yards, just the third time this season he has run for 100-plus this season.

Forte also punched in a one-yard run for a second-quarter touchdown and picked up tough yards with 24 total carries in a game where the Detroit front needed to be made to pay attention to the run. Forte also caught both passes thrown to him for 21 total yards, giving him 26 touches for a net 124 yards.

Kahlil Bell provided some light relief with three carries for 12 total yards and was serviceable in pass protection with limited recent experience there.

RECEIVERS A-

Wide receivers turned in two of the Bears three longest plays for 2012 in less than half the first quarter. Alshon Jefferys 55 yards on the games first play should have resulted in points. (It did not.) Earl Bennett went 60 yards with a swing pass on the second possession, showing outstanding speed. Key to the TD: Brandon Marshalls block on two Detroit DBs.

Bennett finished with 109 yards and his long touchdown catch-and-run.

OFFENSIVE LINE B-

Jonathan Scotts false-start penalty on the first possession cost the Bears a scoring shot. Jay Cutler was sacked twice and hit five other times but the O-linemen did not feel their protection was good enough. However, the run game produced some results throughout the game even with too many small breakdowns that cost yards.

COACHING B

Play selection remains a question at times but the commitment to the run was consistent and survived some shaky execution in multiple areas.

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