Not a spectacular performance from the offense, but given that it was a short week with little time for preparation you can understand. Yes, the Bears didn't put up the big offensive numbers last Thursday against the Dolphins, but they did some good things that might pay big dividends in this Sunday's big game against the Eagles. One, they dominated the time of possession which played a key part in the defense dominance. Two, they converted on third downs which wore down the Miami defense. Three, the offense did a solid job on blitz recognition and have proven coming off the bye they have improved in that area. I expected a low scoring game and the offense leaning on the defense and special teams to play a big part in winning the game. With 10 days to prepare for the Eagles defense, if the Bears can again dominate time of possession and have great success on 3rd downs, they should beat the Eagles and beat them big.
Offensive Line vs. the Blitz: Grade C
Average to above average at best. The line will have to turn it up a notch this Sunday against an Eagles defense that will blitz and blitz often. Last Thursday there were some blown assignments on the offensive line, and when they did pick up the blitz it wasn't pretty. Struggling for most of that night Thursday, J'Marcus Webb will be a marked man in the Eagles defensive film room. It will be interesting to see how Martz and Tice game plan to keep the Eagles from exposing him.
Jay Cutler vs. the Blitz: Grade B
Whenever you are 10/18 on third down conversions, you have to think the QB did a pretty good job at handling the blitz. Jay was so successful with the blitz that Miami reverted to rushing 3 and dropping 8 into coverage. The only bad play from Cutler was him holding on to the football too long on an attempted screen pass which resulted in him getting blasted by a blitzing Miami linebacker.
Wide Receivers vs. the Blitz: Grade B
The Bears receivers did a good job helping out the line and Cutler by executing their hot routes. Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester all understand their assignments on hot reads for the most part throughout the game. This is encouraging for fans as the Bears will face more teams like the Dolphins who love to blitz. Look for a guy like Earl Bennett to have some pretty good numbers in these final 6 games.
Tight Ends and Running Backs vs. the Blitz: Grade B-
I felt the tight ends, specifically Greg Olsen, had one of the better games this season as far as blitz recognition is concerned. Olsen is really improving as a blocker this season and is turning into a complete tight end in this league. It's not a coincidence that you see Olsen being more productive in the passing offense than in weeks past; considering now opposing defenses have to respect Olsen in pass protection. Brandon Manumaleuna also had a good game with containment on the outside. He lost some of it during times in the game, but he was overall solid in blitz recognition. Running backs overall were okay in blitz recognition with most of the props going to Taylor.
Best Play: Late in the 2nd half on 3rd and 5, Cutler finds Knox on a quick slant for one of the many 3rd down conversions that night. What made this play happen was the line successfully picking up their assignments, Taylor blasting the blitzing defensive back that was coming from the outside, and Knox who runs a quick hot route to get open. This play definitely showed that the offense is getting more comfortable and showing a lot of growth since that Seahawks game.