BR Trench Report: Week 3

We grade out the performance of the Chicago Bears' offensive line in last week's contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which includes the entire front five, as well as backs and tight ends.

We continue our BR Trench Report with Week 3 grades of the Chicago Bears' offensive line. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, we graded each blocker on every play, giving +1, -1 or 0 values for every snap.

Here are our Week 3 grades:

Week 3 vs. Steelers   
Jermon Bushrod321
Matt Slauson844
Roberto Garza431
Kyle Long826
Jordan Mills-2-20

For reference, here are the grades from Week 1 and Week 2:

Week 1 vs. Bengals   
Jermon Bushrod4-26
Matt Slauson19811
Roberto Garza826
Kyle Long716
Jordan Mills18414

Week 2 vs. Vikings   
Jermon Bushrod16214
Matt Slauson18315
Roberto Garza22418
Kyle Long927
Jordan Mills8-210

As you can see, the overall performance of Chicago's offensive line dropped off considerably against the Steelers. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as it was the first road test for the Bears in a hostile environment on prime time television, against a team that excels at bringing pressure with the blitz.

Yet the drop off is too significant to gloss over. Playing at Heinz Field shouldn't have resulted in a 52-point overall performance reduction. The chart shows the run blocking (+9) was on par for the season. It was pass protection, which saw a 52-point decrease from Week 2, that led to the down rating.

Looked at as a whole though, the Bears' front five still graded positively in every category, which includes four of the five starters. The only linemen to grade in the negative was rookie Jordan Mills, who was slow in pass protection and provided little push in the run game. His -2 overall grade is the worst single-game performance of any Bears blocker this year. The fifth rounder has graded progressively worse this season, dropping from +18 in Week 1 to +8 in Week 2 and now a -2 last week. For two straight contests he's graded the lowest of the front five, with a -4 cumulative pass blocking grade, meaning he has some work to do if he's going to right the ship.

The bright lights might have too much for Mills but fellow rookie Kyle Long thrived on the road. His +8 overall and +6 pass protection grade were the highest of the offensive linemen. It was the first time this season he's led the team in either category.

Here are the front five yearly totals.

Jermon Bushrod23221
Matt Slauson451530
Roberto Garza34925
Kyle Long24519
Jordan Mills24024

Matt Slauson continues to lead in overall rank by a large margin. His +45 grade is 11 more than Roberto Garza's +34. Slauson also leads the team in run blocking (+15) and pass blocking (+30).

Long jumps out of the cellar and is now tied with Mills for the third highest overall grade (+24). Surprisingly, the richest lineman on the team, Jermon Bushrod, is lowest overall (+23) and second lowest in both run blocking (+2) and pass protection (+21). He'll need to step it up if he's going to justify that massive contract.

Here are the Week 3 ancillary blocking grades:

OverallRun [Snaps}Pass [Snaps]
Martellus Bennett-6-4 [28]-2 [13]
Steve Maneri22 [20]0 [7]
Dante Rosario-2-2 [10]0 [1]
Tony Fiammetta33 [18]0 [0]
Matt Forte20 [0]2 [8]
Michael Bush00 [4]0 [3]

What stands out immediately is the poor performance of Martellus Bennett. His -6 performance this week was 12 points fewer than his Week 2 +6 grade. That's substantial. In addition, Bennett was directly responsible for the second sack on Jay Cutler.

Dante Rosario got his most snaps of the season in Week 3 (16) but he didn't do much with them, accumulating a -2 grade on the day.

Tony Fiammetta improved dramatically this week. He graded in the negative during each of the first two contents yet he was key in Sunday's win, throwing huge blocks on both of the team's rushing touchdowns. He's still very inconsistent but the improvement is a good sign going forward.

Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.

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