Grading the Bears against the Lions
He won the battle of great wide receivers, catching 7 passes for 139 yards and 2 TDs compared to Calvin Johnson's 6 grabs for 83 yards and 2 scores. Moreover, Marshall showed again he's more than just Jay Cutler's favorite target. He has chemistry with backup Josh McCown, too, snagging a TD catch from each Bears QB Sunday.
2 1/2 footballs
Give Jay Cutler 5 footballs for his guts. And while he threw for 250 yards and 1 TD, despite playing with a groin he injured just three weeks ago, his interception on the goal line late in the first half was a killer and he completed just 21 of 40 passes. His Aroldis Chapman fastball allowed him to make several great throws and compensate for his inability to rock and fire like he can when he's fully healthy.
1 1/2 footballs
Matt Forte never got going (17 carries, 33 yards, long of 7). Michael Bush gets paid to pick up tough yards. On fourth-and-1 from the Detroit 27 early in the second quarter, he gained maybe 12 inches. It was his only carry.
2 1/2 footballs
Cutler usually had plenty of time to throw and was sacked only once. But the run-blocking has to be a lot better. Right guard Matt Slauson has been a good off-season pickup, but his rare holding penalty negated Forte's 9-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. The Bears settled for a Robbie Gould field goal.
Marshall was Marshall, and while Alshon Jeffery caught 9 passes for 114 yards, he was targeted a hefty 18 times and dropped a TD pass in the third quarter. Jeffery made a great effort trying to catch a Cutler throw in the right corner of the end zone over safety Glover Quin in the fourth quarter. But the TD was overturned, correctly, as Jeffery was bobbling ball.
No misprint here: Shea McClellin (inactive, hamstring) was missed. Too bad. After he and McClellin wreaked havoc against Green Bay, Julius Peppers went back to being invisible. Bears had no sacks nor any near-sacks.
Rookie Jon Bostic looks like he's starting to figure it out a little. He and James Anderson each had 6 tackles, but Reggie Bush had a 39-yard burst up the gut and finished with 105 yards on 14 carries.
Does any cornerback play Johnson better than Charles Tillman? Didn't think so. Chris Conte finally made a play, as his 35-yard interception return on a high throw by Stafford in the fourth quarter set the Bears up at the Detroit 9. It looked momentum-changing, but the Bears went backward and settled for 3 points.
It's one thing to play Cutler just three weeks after suffering a serious groin injury. But when the franchise QB clearly isn't himself, whether due to rust or health, get him out, especially in light of Josh McCown's play the last two weeks. The Michael Bush run up the gut on fourth-and-1 from the 31 and the run from spread formation on the PAT late in the fourth were unimaginative.
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