With Sunday's 17-14 victory over the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field, the Chicago Bears secured their first win of the 2016 season.
Detroit is one of the worst teams in the NFL and it was far from a dominant performance by the Bears, yet every phase of the team contributed to the win.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains finally committed to the run game, while Chicago's banged up defense held the Lions to just 263 total yards and two field goals.
Here are the Bears winners and losers from Week 4.
RB Jordan Howard
The Bears leaned on Jordan Howard early and often against the Lions, rushing him 23 times for 111 yards. He also added 3 catches on 4 targets for 21 yards. Howard is Chicago's first 100-yard rusher since Matt Forte in Week 1 last season (18 games). The offensive line opened a number of big holes for Howard, while Loggains effectively mixed up his play call and design to keep the Lions guessing, yet Howard deserves a lot of credit for his performance. He showed great vision and agility, as well as his bruising power. He forced a missed tackle every 3.7 touches yesterday. By comparison, Jeremy Langford forced a missed tackle every 36 touches this year. Howard looked like a legitimate workhorse back who can play all three downs and wear down opposing defenses.
WR Eddie Royal
Eddie Royal led all Bears receivers on Sunday with 7 catches on 7 targets for 111 yards and 1 TD. His touchdown grab came after QB Brian Hoyer had scrambled out of the pocket, with Royal cutting his route short and climbing the ladder to make the catch at the goal line. Of his 7 receptions, five resulted in either a first down or a score. Royal also returend 3 punts for 17 yards and had a 20-yard punt return that was called back due to penalty. Royal is currently second on the team in receiving yards (241), yards per catch (13.7), TD receptions (2), first-down receptions (12) and catches of 20-plus yards (2).
QB Brian Hoyer
The success of the run game took pressure off Brian Hoyer, who executed a near-flawless short-passing attack in support of the rushing attack. Hoyer completed 28 of 36 passes (77.8 percent) for 302 yards, 2 TDs and no turnovers, good for a 120.1 QB rating. He made great decisions throughout the game, and was decisive with his reads and throws. Remember, Hoyer threw 19 TDs last season for the Texans, compared to just 7 INTs, helping lead Houston to the playoffs. He's capable of being more than just a game manager and he's shown that with two straight outings of 300-plus passing yards.
The offensive line allowed two sacks, yet one of those came on an a well-designed overload blitz by the Lions. Other than that, the front five had just one individual break down that led to a sack of Hoyer. In addition, Howard averaged 4.8 yards per carry on the ground due to the offensive line's ability to consistently create good push up front. C Cody Whitehair and RG Kyle Long were outstanding at the second level, while LG Josh Sitton and LT Charles Leno showed good movement and agility on stretch and pitch plays. This is a group that has improved each game since reshuffling a week before the start of the season. Sitton is clearly more comfortable in the system and the proof is in the pudding. If this front five continues to develop continuity, the offense will improve accordingly.
CBs Tracy Porter
Tracy Porter's season has flown under the radar to this point. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has placed Porter on the opponent's top receiver in each game this season. In Week 1, Porter held DeAndre Hopkins to 5 catches for 54 yards. In Week 2, he held Jordan Matthews to 6 catches for 71 yards. In Week 3, he held Dez Bryant to 3 catches for 40 yards. Against the Lions, he held Marvin Jones -- who came into the game leading the league in receiving yards -- to just 5 catches for 74 yards. Porter entered Sunday's contest on a bad knee and had to leave the game in the second half, which makes his performance even more impressive. Chicago's "untalented" secondary is ranked 8th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game (210) and much of that success has been due to Porter's ability to limit the opponent's best pass catchers.
Honorable mention: Akiem Hicks, Cornelius Washington, Deiondre Hall, John Timu, Bryce Callahan, Nick Kwiatkoski
OLB Willie Young
Another game and another disappointing outing for Willie Young, who finished Sunday's contest without a sack or a tackle. This is the second of four games this season that Young has finished with goose eggs on the stat sheet. He now has just 11 tackles and 1.0 sack on the year. The Bears lost Lamarr Houston for the season and Pernell McPhee is on PUP, so the pass-rush onus falls on Young, who signed a healthy two-year contract extension during training camp. Against Detroit he looked slow and tired, which gave Matthew Stafford far too much time in the pocket. Young has to start producing or better quarterbacks are going to pick apart Chicago's defense going forward.
OLB Leonard Floyd
Like Young, Bears first-round rookie Leonard Floyd failed to tally a single tackle or sack against the Lions. He then left the game in the second half and never returned, although head coach John Fox said it was just precautionary. Floyd has not had the pass-rush impact one expects from a Top 10 overall pick, although that's not entirely his fault, as he's being used in coverage far too often on passing downs. For a team in desperate need of pressure off the edges, it might be time to turn the kid loose.
WR Kevin White
Kevin White actually had a good game as a receiver, catching 6 of a team-high 9 targets for 55 yards. Yet White left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He underwent an MRI this morning to determine the extent of the injury but expect him to be sidelined for at least one game, if not much longer. As it goes with many Bears player, White was injured just as he was starting to show serious signs of improvement. He did drop a third-down catch -- which ultimately cost the Bears a timeout, as Fox chose to challenge the play -- and stopped another route short, which nearly led to an interception. White is still a work in progress but he was improving, which puts extra emphasis on the severity of his injury.
TE Zach Miller
Zach Miller caught his third touchdown of the past two games but other than that, he was invisible against the Lions. He finished with just 3 catches for 31 yards and failed to convert a third-down because he hesitated after the catch. Miller was deployed as a blocker for much of the game, the results from which were spotty at best. He's failed to top 33 receving yards in three of four games this season, which is a critical waste of talent.
RT Bobby Massie
The only offensive lineman responsible for a sack on Sunday was Bobby Massie, which came as the Bears were driving into Lions territory late in the first half. Massie was then called for a false start on the following play, effectively shutting down a drive that could have extended Chicago's halftime lead. Massie has allowed 10 QB hurries through four games, putting him on pace to eclipse the 39 QB hurries he allowed in Arizona last season.null