Grading the Bears: Week 1
Game Ball Tim Jennings
The Bears' cornerback said after the game that he spent a lot of time in training camp working to improve his ball-catching skills, and boy did it pay off Sunday. Jennings finished with a pair of interceptions and added a deflection that led to a third INT.
Quarterback 3 balls
Jay Cutler got off to the rockiest of starts, including an INT that was returned for a Colts TD early in the first quarter, but he eventually found his groove in a big way as he consistently hooked up with old pal Brandon Marshall (9 catches). Cutler rallied to finish the day 21-for-35 for 333 yards and a pair of TDs.
Running back 4 balls
Lost in the elation over the fact that the Bears now have a legitimate receiving corps is the fact they have quite a potent 1-2 rushing attack with Matt Forte and Michael Bush. Forte rushed for 80 yards and a TD, and added a highlight-reel one-handed catch for good measure. Bush scored twice from close range and gained 42 yards on 12 carries.
Wide receiver 4 balls
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a true No. 1 receiver. Brandon Marshall toyed with the Indianapolis secondary all day en route to 9 catches and a TD. He could've been in double-digit receptions, but he dropped a couple along the way. Rookie Alshon Jeffrey hauled in a 42-yarder for a TD and Earl Bennett was clutch as usual with 3 catches for 50 yards.
Offensive line 3 balls
Admit it, the way the game started, you had to be thinking "Here we go again."
Well, as it turned out, that wasn't the case. Things improved for the unit as the game progressed. It probably didn't hurt the cause that Colts star Dwight Freeney left the game early with a ankle injury, but hey, that's football.
Defensive line 2.5 balls
Big day for Henry Melton with a pair of sacks and 3 tackles for loss. Julius Peppers recorded 3 solo tackles and rookie Shea McLellin was credited with a nice spin move on a pass rush but registered nada in the tackles department. Northwestern product Corey Wooten also finished with a sack.
Linebackers 2 balls
Very quiet day for this unit. Nick Roach led the way with 3 tackles and Lance Briggs added a pair. Brian Urlacher wasn't noticeable in the opening half and rested his knee in the second half as the game got out of hand.
Defensive backs 3.5
Even though Colts rookie quarterback Andrew Luck threw for over 300 yards and Reggie Wayne caught 9 passes, it was the Bears' secondary that stole the show — literally. Jennings led the way with 2 interceptions and 4 tackles. Chris Conte added another pick and 4 tackles, while Major Wright and Kelvin Hayden led the defense with 7 tackles apiece. Charles Tillman left the game with a lower leg injury.
Coaching 3.5 balls
An explosive offense and a bend-but-don't-break defense proved a winning formula against Indianapolis. Still, they probably need to tighten things up before meeting the Pack on Thursday night at Lambeau Field.
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