Report Card vs. Lions: No A's for this road win

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Report Card vs. Lions: No A's for this road win

Sunday, Dec. 5, 2010
4:54 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

A win is a win and thats what the Bears took on the plane home with them from Detroit. Workmanlike, sometimes decidedly lackluster, but the Bears did manage to rally in the second half and deliver several key stops when the game was in danger of getting away from them.

Quarterback B

Jay Cutler had a very effective if unspectacular game, managing to avoid interceptions despite pressure that sacked him four times and forced a fumble. He completed 21 of 26 passes for 234 yards and a score to give himself a 117.0 passer rating with his fourth game without an interception since the off week.

Running backs B

Chester Taylor got the Bears even with a one-yard run at the end of the first quarter and he and Matt Forte combined for 97 rushing yards on 22 carries (4.4 per rush). Taylor also caught five passes and Forte two for an additional 67 yards.

Receivers B

Earl Bennett caught three passes for 35 yards on a game-tying drive in the first quarter, two for third-down conversions. Bennett led all receivers with seven catches for 104 yards, just the second 100-yard game for a Bear receiver this year. TE Brandon Manumaleuna was overrun for a Cliff Avril sack in the third quarter but scored the winning touchdown on a seven-yard flip from Cutler.

Offensive line C

Cutler was repeatedly unable to achieve rhythm in the pocket as the pressure was in his face too often and flushed him into running five times in addition to being sacked four. Run blocking against DTs Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams was solid but RT JMarcus Webb had problems with end Cliff Avril, who had two sacks at his expense and abused a number of protectors.

Defensive line C

Pressure on neophyte Drew Stanton was next to nil too much of the game, allowing him to gain confidence and let receivers work open. DEs lost containment in situations to allow corners to be turned and the Lions ran for 134 yards, too many of them before runners were hit. Julius Peppers had the only sack of Stanton and only Israel Idonije among DLmen was credited with a quarterback hit.

Linebackers B

Stanton was able to score easily on a QB draw in the first quarter. Losing Pisa Tinoisamoa with a knee coming in and Nick Roach (hip) during the game sent Rod Wilson in at SLB. But Brian Urlacher turned in his best game of the year with 17 tackles and a half-sack while Lance Briggs added seven. Wilsons three tackles off the bench were all contributions.

Secondary C

Poor tackling in run support contributed to 110 Detroit rushing yards in the first half and 134 for the game. Charles Tillman drew a tough assignment covering Calvin Johnson and held Megatron to three catches but one was for 46 yards and a TD just before halftime in a blown coverage among DBs. D.J. Moore had a sack of Stanton

Special teams B-

Robbie Gould converted a career-long 54-yard field goal to salvage something from a 30-yard Devin Hester punt return in the third quarter, Brad Maynard put two of his three punts inside the 20 and averaged 45 yards. But Stefan Logan averaged 38.7 yards on three kickoff returns and hurt Bears coverage units.

Coaching C

The Bears were flat in a game with much at stake even against a sub-standard opponent. Execution was a problem but credit OC Mike Martz with sticking with the run against a fifth straight opponent to help take heat off the offensive line. Special teams seemed out of positions at times and disorganized, and the defense was run over in the first half when the game was close to getting away from the Bears.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Three Bears necessities toward going 3-0 in Jerry's house

Three Bears necessities toward going 3-0 in Jerry's house

The Bears have won both times they've played in Jerry Jones' gargantuan pigskin palace. But that was in 2010 and 2012, the last two times this franchise finished with a winning record. The home team has lost eight straight times there. This matchup actually provides some hope for the offense (despite Jay Cutler's absence), but uncomfortable thoughts defensively, considering Danny Trevathan and Eddie Goldman will be sidelined, with safety Adrian Amos and nickel back Bryce Callahan (concussions) potentially joining them.

1. Tag Hoyer

...with a red non-contact jersey. Not possible, you say? Okay, well this scuffling offensive line needs to get in synch. And quickly. Like the Bears, the Cowboys have just four sacks so far this season. But they did deliver nine hits last week in D.C. on an already-rattled Kirk Cousins. Rod Marinelli's no-name, suspension-thinned defense has allowed fewer points than the Bears. The added concern is Hoyer's lack of work with the only player opponents must game-plan for: Alshon Jeffery, who worked primarily with Cutler throughout training camp. And who knows how much Jeffery (knee) worked at full-speed in practice this week, being held out of Thursday's workout completely. So....

2. Hand off, dump off

There is no time like now to establish the running game. There's Hoyer trying to get comfortable. There's the 4.75 yards per rush the Cowboys defense is allowing. There's the need to keep the Cowboys' offensive weapons off the field against the Bears' banged-up D. Between Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, Ezekiel Elliott, and the best offensive line in the NFL, no matter Dak Prescott looks so comfortable. And when the Bears need to mix up their attempt to pound on the ground, get Zach Miller and Eddie Royal involved with quick-hits through the air.

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3. Fill up the half-empty glass

Whether this is Dowell Loggains being unable to adjust and be creative enough to the opposition's counter moves, or a coincidental breakdown in execution, the Bears' offense has scored zero points after halftime. We signed off on Houston's talented defense two weeks ago. Three turnovers on the first four possessions lost momentum Monday night. Loggains and company need to find a way to anticipate, execute, and dictate at a much higher level over the final 30 minutes.

**Join Alex Brown, Lance Briggs, Jim Miller and Chris at 6:30 p.m. Sunday night on Comcast SportsNet for "Bears Pregame Live," leading you right up to the 7:30 kickoff on NBC. Then as soon as the second quarter ends, log on to CSNChicago.com for "Bears Halftime Live," as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes and go over adjustments. And immediately after the game ends, switch back to CSN as the four guys are joined by former Bears coach Dave Wannstedt for 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, live press conferences and locker room interviews from Dallas on "Bears Postgame Live."**

Bears vs. Cowboys: And the winner is...

Bears vs. Cowboys: And the winner is...

Severe conflict here.

The obvious temptation is to succumb to the swelling despair surrounding the Bears and predict a third loss to open the 2016 season. And “View from the Moon” did in fact call this game as a loss back in April. It’s not that easy, however.

The Bears couldn’t be pants’d by two rookie quarterbacks in a row, could they? Dak Prescott got the Dallas Cowboys to a win last Sunday while Carson Wentz was preparing to undo the Bears Monday night. Prescott posted a passer rating of 103.7 in the win at Washington while the Bears were losing their game and their quarterback the next night.

But if the Bears have had their troubles at home under John Fox (1-8), the Cowboys haven’t won a home game without Tony Romo at quarterback since December 2010.

So a contrarian view has taken shape. Brian Hoyer looked awful in training camp and preseason, but Hoyer is a controlled professional in the tradition of Josh McCown, and last year with the Houston Texans put up six games with passer ratings of 94 or better (Cutler had seven for the Bears).

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I do not like the look of the Bears defense without nose tackle Eddie Goldman and with a litany of others (Willie Young, Bryce Callahan, Adrian Amos) at less than 100 percent because of early season injuries. There is little to favor the Bears, which is why bettors placed them as clear underdogs.

But the belief here is that the offense will shed its passive mindset and attack with Jordan Howard and the running game, unlike the first two games. The first two games effectively turned on turnovers, and Hoyer last year had just one game in the 11 he played where he threw more interceptions than touchdown passes, before the meltdown in the playoffs.

If the Bears keep control of the football, they will wear down a mediocre Dallas defense, which is exactly the style of game Fox and Dowell Loggains want.

Bears 17, Cowboys 16

(View from the Moon ’16 record: 1-1)