The game on Sunday was a tough one to take. The Redskins haven't been playing well all year but have been slowly improving and unfortunately, it seemed to be their coming out party.
That said the defense had an absolutely terrible outing. The Redskins racked up 499 total yards, 290 passing yards and 209 rushing yards. Pretty much whatever Washington wanted to do offensively, they did. The Skins had 28 first downs and were 7 of 13 on third down.
The Bears were able to get only one turnover and only one sack. Robert Griffin III had 84 rushing yards on 11 attempts, a season high in both categories.
On the other side of the ball things were a little better. The Bears got 359 yards and scored 27 points on their own. With the points they got from the punt return and the short field following the field goal, the 41 points was the most in a loss in franchise history.
In every case in the Chicago Bears' history, 41 points was enough to win. Welcome to the 2013 Chicago Bears defense, everyone.
How did everyone else do?
It's hard to dump on Jay Cutler since he got injured but he wasn't exactly lighting it up before he went down. Although his interception wasn't him. Now Josh McCown came in and did everything in his power to jump start the offense, the fact is that the Bears offense was still stagnant in the first half. Their first half drives were; three and out, five plays, 18 yards for a field goal, two plays, 10 yards for a touchdown (off the interception), then two three and outs and the knee to end the half. However, in the second half McCown led drives of 64, 80, 89 and 67 yards. He played mistake-free football and kept the Bears in, which is all you can ask for from your number two QB coming in cold.
Running backs: A-
Matt Forte was the only running back to register carries during the game and while he started slow, having only nine yards and a touchdown in the first half, he exploded in the second half running for 82 yards on 12 second half carries and two more scores. It was vital that Forte got going to help take pressure off of McCown. Forte did not have his best day in pass protection, giving up pressure a couple of times.
Wide receivers: A
It's a testament to the job Phil Emery has done remaking the receiving corps that this unit continues to get high marks. Alshon Jeffery again topped 100 yards, Brandon Marshall added six catches and Earl Bennett got into the act with a couple of big third down catches. Marshall and Jeffery both snagged difficult passes in traffic and absorbed dirty hits from former Bear Brandon Meriweather. Marshall threw a great block that was key in springing Forte's 50-yard TD run.
Tight ends: B
For all the things Martellus Bennett has done well this year he did not have his best game receiving-wise. He was targeted only twice and only recorded one reception, which was a seven-yard TD that would have been the game-winner had it not been for, well, you know. Bennett did however have a solid game run blocking. Pro-Football Focus notes that while he got beat by Brian Orakpo on a play (when Orakpo slid inside, making it tough for Bennett to react at the snap) but overall Bennett got the better of the Redskins in the trenches and downfield.
Offensive line: C+
The line did well in spots but McCown was left scrambling for first downs at times and Jordan Mills had a rough day, getting beat by Ryan Kerrigan a couple of times and PFF charges him with surrendering six QB hurries. In all the Bears surrendered four QB hits and two sacks. The two sacks were very costly as well, one injured Cutler and the second ended the game. They were better in the run game though, opening holes and setting up blocks on screens downfield too.
Overall offensive grade: B+
You balance the good and the bad and this is what you get. The offense had lots of success in the second half and put up 41 points, which as I pointed out before has always been enough for the Bears to win. It should have been as well but that's what we get for the defensive effort. All can't be lost when McCown steps in considering the weapons he's surrounded with this time around. In 2011, it was Roy Williams, Dane Sanzenbacher, Devin Hester and Kellen Davis, having M. Bennett, Marshall and Jeffery should make a difference this time around...hopefully.
Defensive line: D-
The line play was once again poor, while they managed to get five of the team's eight tackles for loss (one each for David Bass, Landon Cohen, Corey Wootton, Julius Peppers and Shea McClellin) they got no sacks. McClellin and Wootton each got a QB hit though, but the line was pushed around and got abused for much of the Redskins' 209 rushing yards. The line also did not defend the option run game very well, something Trestman scolded the defense for during his press conference yesterday. Another game, another poor line effort.
It's difficult for me to knock this group. While there were the usual missed tackles and blown opportunities for them to bring down RGIII, Roy Helu and Alfred Morris, they also were making plays all over the field for much of the game. Before he was injured Lance Briggs was everywhere, notching five solo tackles. Jon Bostic tied for the team lead in stops in his first start, getting six solo tackles and eight overall, tying both James Anderson and Charles Tillman. Anderson added two tackles for a loss and the team's only sack.
All right, so Tillman got a pick to set up the team's touchdown but after that there was not much good here. At some point every member of the secondary got torched by someone; Jordan Reed, Aldrick Robinson and Leonard Hankerson. PFF notes that the secondary of the Bears combined for a -9.3 coverage grade. Tim Jennings had a poor game in run defense as well, struggling to bring down Morris and Helu. He was also abused by Reed.
It's hard not to give an F here as an F would just be a complete and utter failure (think like five plus plays of 30+ yards and 450+ yards of passing), but it was awfully close. PFF notes Major Wright struggled in both the run and pass game, grading him out at -3.8. He recorded five solo tackles, one more than Chris Conte but no one would say they had a good game. Conte and Wright were both taken out of plays routinely and out of position on others. Conte may have been late to cover Reed on his three-yard TD, but he did get there, what irked me was he didn't even try to make contact with him off the line en route to his easy fade route score. How Conte didn't think to jam him at the line to try and get him off balance and off his route and not even recognizing that it would be a fade route. It was an overall abysmal performance by Wright and Conte.
Overall defensive grade: D
Giving up nearly 500 yards of offense is bad enough, but the 45 points was just mind-bogglingly bad. It was a poor effort by every single defensive unit. One of the biggest Bears defensive problems is their continued third down struggles. The Redskins converted seven of 13 third downs (53 percent). It's just terrible.
Special teams: B
Special teams was a mixed bag; Robbie Gould missed a field goal, Eric Weems was offside and negated a key onside kick recovery but Devin Hester returned a punt for a touchdown and Adam Podlesh averaged 49 yards on three punts and pinned two inside the 20. The blocking was outstanding on Hester's return and the coverage was good, allowing zero Washington punt returns and only three kickoff returns for 53 yards.
This is tough, the defensive execution was bad and the offense had another slow start but they were able to come on in the second half and find ways to score points. Marc Trestman was able to get the most out of McCown and Forte and Mel Tucker can't be blamed for the poor execution by the defensive line and the secondary. That said, the Bears really didn't seem to change anything up drastically defensively in order to try and put a stop to the Redskins' firepower. I commend Trestman and Joe DeCamillis for calling an onside kick when it became apparent that the defense couldn't stop RGIII and Co. The coaches can't be blamed for all the key injuries suffered either. The back ups who came in played as well as can be expected, a testament to the coaches having their back ups prepared.
Overall grade: C+
It was just an awful defensive day but the offense was able to put up points and go blow-for-blow with the Redskins and RGIII who is finally looking like his pre-ACL tear self. The bye couldn't come sooner for this wounded Bears team and it will be a great time for the coaches to reevaluate and find ways to improve the defense and help get players like McCown, Bostic and Blake Costanzo ready to step in for their injured counterparts.
How would you grade out the team in Sunday's loss?
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