Bears Trench Report: Week 4

In the fourth 2014 installment of the Bears Trench Report, we grade and analyze every blocker for the Chicago Bears during last week’s 38-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

In Sunday’s 38-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers, the offense of the Chicago Bears posted nearly 500 total yards (496). They had 33 first downs, went seven for 11 on 3rd downs and gained 235 yards on the ground. Two second-half turnovers and a stalled drive at the 1-yard going into halftime resulted in just 17 points, so the offense didn’t have much to show for the work it put in moving the ball up and down the field.

The offensive line played a big role in the offensive success against Green Bay. The front five repeatedly opened holes in the run game, leading to the most yards gained in a single game since 1988, and allowed just one total sack.

The end result was not what the Bears had hoped for but on offense, there was little more they could have done.

Here are the Week 4 grades for Chicago’s offensive line.

Week 4TOTALRUNPASS
Jermon Bushrod110
Michael Ola624
Brian de le Puente23-1
Kyle Long853
Jordan Mills321
Team Totals20137

Overall, the unit graded in the positive in every single category except for one, grading a cumulative +20, their highest overall rating since Week 1 (+32). The front five’s +13 run grade was far away their best single-game total of the season and is a 26-point turnaround from the -13 combined grade in Week 2 against the 49ers. The group’s +7 pass grade is nothing to sneeze at, yet it was their lowest overall grade of the year. That said, they gave up just one total sack, so it’s tough to complain about their pass blocking in Week 4.

RG Kyle Long once again headed the pack with a +8 grade against Green Bay. He was extremely effective on trap plays and was the only offensive lineman who had success at the second level. Long has been stout in pass protection the entire season and that didn’t change on Sunday, with him winning the vast majority of his 1-on-1 pass-block opportunities.

After two less-than-stellar outings in Week 2 and Week 3, LG Michael Ola played very well against the Packers. In pass protection, Ola graded highest (+4) of the front five, showing very good awareness, something he lacked the first three contests. He also had a few nasty blocks in the run game, one of which came on a trap play that sprung RB Matt Forte for a big gain.

RT Jordan Mills (+3 overall) and LT Jermon Bushrod (+1 overall) were solid on the edges, albeit unspectacular. They combined for five QB pressures – three by Mills, two by Bushrod – yet they kept Cutler clean the entire game. In the run game, neither was consistent, missing as many blocks as they made. Bushrod in particular had a hard time locating and locking on at the second level.

C Brian de la Puente was one part of a double team for nearly every offensive snap. He’s a functional blocker in the run game and did a good job of turning defenders away from ball carriers, although he’s not quick or agile at the second level and struggles to cut off linebackers and safeties. De la Puente was the only offensive lineman to give up a sack and the only member of the front five to finish in the negative in any category. In fact, his -1 pass block grade is the only negative grade any lineman has received in pass protection this year.

Here are Chicago’s ancillary grades for Week 4.

Week 4TOTAL RUN PASS
Jay Cutler110
Martellus Bennett330
Dante Rosario321
Matt Forte101
Brandon Marshall220
Alshon Jeffery110
Eben Britton211

TE Martellus Bennett was very good in this game, particularly as a run blocker. He made a number of crushing 1-on-1 blocks that cleared big holes for Forte off the edge. Bennett also had a wicked trap block in which he blindsided the defensive end, opening a truck-wide lane for Forte. On one play, Bennett exploded into OLB Clay Matthews, sending the defender to his butt, then cleared across the field and caught a drag pattern for the first down. Bennett is easily the team’s MVP through the first quarter of the season.

TE Dante Rosario lined up at fullback seven times in the game, two on run plays. He graded in the positive in both the run and pass games and looked very serviceable as a lead blocker, throwing a nice kick-out block on a Forte counter trey. Rosario should be able to fill for the recently departed Tony Fiammetta when the Bears need a fullback on the field.

OL Eben Britton struggled last week in his first action of 2014, grading -2 overall. Yet he looked much more comfortable against Green Bay, grading in the positive as both a run and pass blocker. Britton threw a pair of critical blocks during the team’s second quarter touchdown drive, clearing out the edges for Forte on two third-down runs. Britton appeared to find his groove during his 17 snaps in Week 4, which is a great sign for Chicago’s offense going forward.

Here are the overall grades for both the offensive line and the ancillary blockers through the first quarter of the season.

YEARLY TOTALTOTALRUNPASS
Jermon Bushrod13013
Matt Slauson312
Roberto Garza312
Kyle Long27522
Jordan Mills10-414
Michael Ola15213
Brian de le Puente3-25
Team Totals74371

YEARLY TOTALTOTAL RUN PASS
Martellus Bennett-10-1
Dante Rosario220
Matt Forte505
Brandon Marshall220
Santonio Holmes01-1
Alshon Jeffery110
Eben Britton0-11
Jay Cutler110

Long leads all offensive linemen in every category. His +27 overall is 12 points higher than the second highest-graded blocker, while his +22 pass-block grade is eight points higher than anyone on the team. Long has been, by far, the most consistent blocker in every phase of the game.

Of the current five starters, de la Puente’s +3 is the lowest overall grade, as is his +5 pass grade. He’s not a bad player but de la Puente isn’t much more than an average NFL offensive lineman.

For reference, here are the weekly grades for Chicago’s offensive linemen in each of the first three contests.

Week 1TOTALRUNPASS
Jermon Bushrod725
Matt Slauson312
Roberto Garza312
Kyle Long6-17
Jordan Mills303
Michael Ola826
Brian de le Puente202
Group Total32527

Week 2TOTALRUNPASS
Jermon Bushrod4-26
Michael Ola0-11
Brian de le Puente-2-53
Kyle Long4-15
Jordan Mills2-46
Team Totals8-1321

Week 3TOTALRUNPASS
Jermon Bushrod1-12
Michael Ola1-12
Brian de le Puente101
Kyle Long927
Jordan Mills2-24
Team Totals14-216

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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