Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports

Bears Week 13 Positional Game Grades

We analyze, evaluate and grade each of the Bears' positional groupings, including the coaching staff, following Sunday's 26-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.


Quarterback: D+

Jay Cutler completed 18 of 31 passes for 202 yards and 0 TDs. It was the second time in the past three weeks Cutler has failed to throw a touchdown, and he has just one passing score during that three-game span. Sunday's 202 passing yards were his second lowest in any game he's finished this season, while his 64.2 passer rating was his lowest of the year. Even worse, his one interception was returned for a touchdown, which ultimately was the difference in the game. Facing the NFL's 28th ranked pass defense at home, Cutler had one of his worst games of 2015, which will likely prevent the Bears from making the postseason for the fifth straight season.

Running Back: B+

Matt Forte rushed 21 times for 84 yards, his third highest rushing total of the season, and added five catches on five targets for 39 yards. He had 123 yards from scrimmage, which is the fifth time this season he's topped 100 total yards, while his rushing touchdown was his third of the season. Jeremy Langford was the better looking runner against San Francisco, rushing 12 times for 59 yards, for a team-high 4.9 yards per carry. He added two catches for nine yards but had another third-down drop, his third of the year - although, to be fair, he was unlikely to get the first down even if he caught the ball. Langford showed explosiveness and burst in between the tackles, but his inconsistency as a pass catcher is troubling. Ka'Deem Carey chipped in five carries for 17 yards, including a go-ahead 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. The Bears rushed for 170 yards as a team, with the backfield carrying the offense for most of the day. 

Wide Receiver: C

Alshon Jeffery led the team with 12 targets but finished with just four catches for 85 yards. While it wasn't a wasted day for Jeffery, there were opportunities for much more, particularly on a pair of deep passes he was unable to corral. Marc "Big Play" Mariani had just two catches for 33 yards but his 26 yarder late in the fourth quarter set up Carey's go-ahed touchdown. Mariani saw extra reps because Marquess Wilson didn't play and, once again, he made the most of his opportunities. Josh Bellamy caught one pass for 16 yards and could not win a 50/50 battle on a deep ball in the end zone. 

Tight End: D+

Just another disappointing contest for Martellus Bennett, who finished with 3 catches for 14 yards. It's very clear that Bennett - who did not travel with the team last week and admittedly didn't even bother to watch the game on TV - is still upset about his contract situation. He did not participate in off-season activities and his apathy has carried over well into the regular season. He has the fourth most targets of any tight end in the NFL but hasn't topped 83 yards in any game, while he's caught more than three passes just once in his last five starts. In addition, Bennett has become a borderline liability as a blocker due to his lack of effort. At this point, the Bears might be better off benching him and giving Zach Miller more reps with the first team. 

Offensive Line: B+

Cutler was sacked just once against the 49ers, while the offensive line gave up just seven total pressures. In fairness, San Francisco defenders dropped like flies - linebackers Aaron Lynch, Michael Wilhoite, Ahmad Brooks and Navorro Bowman all missed at least a portion of the game - which helped Chicago's front five. The Bears also ran for 170 yards as a team, which a testament to the offensive line's ability to win at the point of attack. Guards Matt Slauson and Patrick Omameh were particularly impressive in the run game. The weak link of this group was rookie center Hroniss Grasu, who struggled mentally and physically in the game. 


Defensive Line: A-

Eddie Goldman had the best game of an already-impressive rookie season. He finished with 3 tackles, 2 for loss, and 2 sacks. He also had a team-high 3 QB hits and a blocked PAT on special teams. Goldman's 4.5 sacks this year are second most on the team, which is extremely impressive from a 330-pound nose tackle touted as a run stopper coming out of Florida State. The Bears have a number of impressive young players on the roster but Goldman is the cream of the crop. He'll anchor Chicago's defensive line for many years to come. Jarvis Jenkins was also extremely disruptive, showing both quickness on stunts and explosiveness off the snap. He finished with two tackles and 0.5 sacks, giving him 4.0 sacks on the year. Jenkins has proven he deserves a long-term deal at the end of the season. Will Sutton led all defensive linemen with four tackles, while Mitch Unrein was stout in the run game and again providing impact as the club's goal-line fullback. 49ers running backs combined for just 46 rushing yards, which is a testament to the play of the front line. 

Outside Linebacker: B+

The Bears rotated Pernell McPhee (34 snaps), Willie Young (35) and Lamarr Houston (35) evenly. McPhee also took reps at defensive tackle on passing downs, allowing all three to be on the field at the same time. The trio combined for nine QB hurries, while Young had 1.5 sacks. 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was pressured all day due to their consistent ability to collapse the pocket, resulting in four total sacks. Interestingly, Sam Acho played the most snaps (49) at the position. He did well setting the edge against the run but, overall, Acho's impact was minimal. 

Inside Linebacker: C+

Shea McClellin was on the field for all 61 defensive snaps on Sunday. He led the team with nine tackles and had a good pass breakup. It was a decent game from McClellin, who was clearly hampered by his injured knee - he twice grabbed his knee following a tackle but never came out of the game. The 49ers tried to take advantage of his limited range and change-of-direction ability, and it worked on occasion, but overall, McClellin had an above average outing. Christian Jones (25 reps) and Jonathan Anderson (31) rotated at the other ILB spot, with Anderson playing on passing downs. Anderson had a PBU but the duo combined for just two total tackles. 

Cornerback: A-

Bears corners played very well in this game. Other than the 71-yard TD reception by Torrey Smith - the fault for which lies with the safeties - 49ers wideouts totaled just 42 receiving yards. Kyle Fuller had a pass breakup, while nickelback Bryce Callahan had 2 PBUs. Gabbert targeted Callahan six times in the game, picking up a total of 10 yards, which is very impressive. The improvement of Fuller and the emergence of Callahan, as well as the steady hand of veteran Tracy Porter, has turned Chicago's cornerbacks from a team weakness to a team strength. 

Safety: F

Adrian Amos has been extremely solid as Chicago's full-time starter his entire rookie campaign, but he made two crucial mistakes on Sunday that ultimately cost the Bears a victory. On Gabbert's 44-yard touchdown run, Amos missed an open-field tackle. Then, on the final play of the game, he stopped his coverage short on Torrey Smith, leaving Chris Prosinksi alone in the middle of the field and too far away to catch to the speedy Smith. Amos and Prosinski can share the blame for that final play, which sunk Chicago's playoff hopes. 

Special Teams

Robbie Gould: F

Gould missed a 40-yard field goal in the third quarter and then a potential game-winning 36 yarder with time expiring in regulation. Both kicks were hooked badly. It was the second time this year Gould has missed two field goals in one game, both of which resulted in one-score losses. 

Deonte Thompson: A+

After the 49ers tied the game 20-20 with 1:42 left in the game, Deonte Thompson took the ensuing kickoff 74 yards, setting the Bears up for what should have been the game-winning field goal (see above). This was the second time in as many weeks a big Thompson kickoff return has set the Bears up for a potential victory. His speed has brought a new element to Chicago's special teams. 

Punt Return: A-

Marci Mariani did not muff a punt and got positive yards on each of his returns. Yet the most impressive play came on a fake return in which Mariani played the decoy, while across the field Bryce Callahan caught the punt and returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Unfortunately for the Bears, the score was called back due to a blatant, unnecessary hold by LaRoy Reynolds. 

Coaching Staff

John Fox: B

What was Fox to do? He took the points when he had the opportunities and rightly kicked the chip-shot field goal at the end of the game. It's not his fault Gould has lost his touch. 

Adam Gase: C

Gase had a very good game plan in terms of running the ball but he was shut down in the passing game by a weak secondary. The Bears could do little more in the aerial attack than just throw the ball up to Jeffery and pray he catches it. That's on the coordinator, whose bubble screen call was easily read by safety Jimmie Ward for a pick-six. 

Vic Fangio: D+

This was arguably Fangio's worst game as Bears defensive coordinator. The Bears held in check a dormant run game and did not give up many big plays, yet the ones they did allow came at the worst times. During San Francisco's final drive in regulation, Gabbert scrambled out of the pocket on all but one snap. After the third scramble, it became clear that was his game plan, to attack man coverage by escaping the pocket and picking up yards with his legs. Yet Fangio refused to spy Gabbert, who eventually carved up the defense on a 44-yard game-tying run. A spy on that last series and we're not even talking about Robbie Gould. 

Bear Report Top Stories