OK, it wasn't Peyton Manning, 7-TD-passes good, but the new coach's offense was good enough to produce 24 points and secure a 3-point win over a Bengals squad picked by many to make the playoffs. In his first game as an NFL head coach, Trestman operated confidently, never appeared flustered and showed trust in his players. Never mind the many timeouts burned early by the Bears. Cincinnati was even worse and more undisciplined. The Bears were the better-coached team.
Quarterback (3 1/2 balls)
Don't you love it when Jay Cutler scrambles and rolls? Note his 24-yard toss to Matt Forte. Note Cutler's 18-yard dash and slide. He finished 21 of 33 for 242 yards and 2 TDs and a 93.2 rating. But, ugh, that one middle-of-the-field pick in the fourth quarter. It was the one "Bad Jay" moment.
Running backs (2 1/2 balls)
Matt Forte started with rushes of 8 and 9 yards but finished with just 50 yards on 19 carries. He (not Michael Bush) did score from the 1 and catch 4 passes, but 2.6 yards per rush, even against a good Bengal D, isn't good enough.
Why does Jay Cutler keep targeting Brandon Marshall? Because No. 15 is still darn good. Marshall had 8 receptions, including the game-winner from 19 yards out in the fourth. Solid showing by Alshon Jeffery (5 catches). Welcome to Chicago, Martellus Bennett (3 catches, TD).
Offensive line (3 1/2)
True, the run blocking wasn't good. But that's a tough Cincy front. Rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills weren't overwhelmed, and no sacks -- repeat, no sacks -- were allowed. How about that, Jay?
Defensive line (2)
Well, they did out-sack the Bengals in a pitchers duel (1-0). Shea McClellin got credit for the game's lone sack with help from Stephen Paea. Other than that, no pressure on Bengals QB Andy Dalton, especially on his 45-yard TD toss to A.J. Green. Where was Julius Peppers all day? Run D was good.
Linebackers (2 1/2)
Nothing special, although new Bear James Anderson (wearing Mike Singletary's No. 50) did bust up 2 passes. Fellow new Bear D.J. Williams, who missed a month of practice with an achy calf, started and was credited with 1 solo and 2 assisted stops.
Defensive backs (3)
Why did Peanut Tillman look old sometimes covering A.J. Green? Because Peanut is 32, and Green is 25 and one of the NFL's best receivers. Tillman still had 2 picks, despite going out in the first half due to dehydration. On Green's 45-yard TD catch, Tillman was on the bench. Tim Jennings forced 2 fumbles and recovered 1.
Special teams (5 balls)
Robbie Gould boomed a Bears-record 58-yard field goal late in the first half, Adam Podlesh dropped punts at the 3, 9 and 12, and Devin Hester had a 31-yard kickoff return. Nothing special from Bengals' special teams.
Coaching (4 balls)
You're never too old to earn your first win as an NFL coach. Marc Trestman, a 57-year-old with a toddler's energy, needed that. His offense wasn't always sharp, but the home team erased a fourth-quarter deficit thanks to big plays on third and fourth downs. The Bears committed only 4 penalties.Copyright © 2014 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.