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Grading the Bears: Stephen Paea leads an A+ defensive line

QUARTERBACK

C

Jay Cutler was an effective game manager — 17 of 27 for 130 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs. It’s his fewest passing yards in a victory since 2011. But the Bears are 4-0 this year when he does not throw an interception.

RUNNING BACKS

B

Not the most prolific day for Matt Forte (23 carries, 89 yards, 3.9 average), but he was good when he had to be — scoring on a nifty 13-yard run and on a 1-yard run to put the Bears in control.

RECEIVERS

B-

Brandon Marshall had as many penalties (three) as receptions (3-32). Alshon Jeffery (3-22) had a false start. Martellus Bennett had a 26-yard catch that set up the first TD.

OFFENSIVE LINE

C

Jay Cutler was sacked three times — once when Brian de la Puente whiffed on DT Gerald McCoy, leading to a Cutler fumble the Bucs recovered. An average effort overall. The Bears rushed for 3.5 yards per carry.

DEFENSIVE LINE

A+

David Bass had the key strip/sack of Josh McCown that turned the game around. Stephen Paea was dominant with 2 sacks, and 3 QB hurries. Jeremiah Ratliff had a sack. Cornelius Washington had two TFLs and a QB hurry.

LINEBACKERS

B

Rookie Christian Jones had a fumble recovery and five tackles. Lance Briggs added six tackles but left with an injury in the second half. The Bears held the Bucs to 3.0 yards per rush.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tx5U_1KWlvo&w=560&h=315]

DEFENSIVE BACKS

B

Some tackling issues led to big pass plays. But Chris Conte and Ryan Mundy (7 tackles) had INTs. Nickel back Demontre Hurst (6 tackles, 1 QB hurry) keeps making plays.

SPECIAL TEAMS

B+

KR Marc Mariani had a 30-yard KO return and added an air of competence to the return game in general. Pat O’Donnell had 2 punts inside the 20. Demontre Hurst downed one of them at the 2. Sherrick McManis had two tackles.

COACHING

B

The Bears were shaky in the first half, but they didn’t panic and recovered in the second half to beat a beatable opponent. Penalties still an issue, but Marc Trestman’s staff got the job done.