Positional Analysis

The Bears fell to 5-11 with a 31-14 loss to close out the season against the Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Soldier Field. After jumping out to a 7-0 lead, the Packers scored 28 straight points. To put an exclamation point on a record-breaking season, the Bears allowed 9 more sacks. Let's take a closer look at the individual personnel groups.



Chad Hutchinson (20-29-196, Int) didn't have a terrible game, but it wasn't good enough to merit a win. He showed good accuracy throughout the contest. The problem with his performance was that he was holding the ball too long. This isn't the only reason for his suffering 9 sacks. About 3 of them could have been avoided with a quicker read or blitz recognition where he had a mismatch in blockers versus rushers. His lone interception was the result of a late throw that safety Darren Sharper stepped in front of and returned 43 yards for a touchdown. Hutchinson opened the game with a beautiful 63-yard play action bomb to David Terrell. He also threw a good ball over the deep middle for 18 yards to Terrell. Hutchinson looks like a quarterback that will get better with grooming and experience in the system and timing of the offense. When he stuck a quick pass in to Bernard Berrian on 4th and 4 you could see that when he knows where he's going with the ball he can get it out in a hurry and those are the kind of passes that are hard to defend. Additionally, it's hard to sack a quarterback who gets rid of the ball that quickly, and deflected passes aren't likely to be an issue for a quarterback with his height and release point. Apart from the bomb to Terrell at the beginning, there weren't many yards picked up through the air. Additionally, there were quite a few plays where he had almost no time to get rid of the ball. GRADE: C-

Running Backs

Thomas Jones (26/108, 2 TD, 3-4) was used in workhorse fashion and with good success. He capped off his first season as a Bear with another fine performance. Jones broke tackles and spun out of others to pick up yardage in traffic up the middle and also to the outside. He only had a couple of carries where he was a little too picky and hesitated at the point of attack. His receiving yardage took a shot when a screen pass was completed to him for a big loss. In spite of that, his 3 receptions added to his total which broke a single season record for a Bears running back (56). Neither Anthony Thomas nor Adrian Peterson received any carries at halfback. Fullback Jason McKie blocked well on the run and continued to show he is good enough to be a part of the short passing game. GRADE: B+


David Terrell (4-99) hauled in a 63-yard pass early in the game to set up the Bears' first touchdown. He had a few other good catches as well. He made some good blocks off the edge to help Jones pick up yardage on the ground. Bernard Berrian (2-23) made a great catch on a 4th and 4 pass from Hutchinson. He followed that play up by drawing pass interference, but the Bears committed an offsetting penalty to nullify the play. Desmond Clark (3-20) caught a couple of passes but dropped another short one. He also was a part of one of the 9 sacks allowed. Justin Gage played sparingly but was not a factor. Bobby Wade (4-27) made a nice catch coming back to the ball on a Hutchinson scramble up the sideline. Dustin Lyman (2-13) had a couple of short catches as well. Apart from Terrell's big reception, there were very few big plays made by the receivers. GRADE: C

Offensive Line

It's difficult to find any defense for an offensive line that allows 9 sacks. Yes, Hutchinson held the ball too long at times. However, his holding the ball too long probably only contributed to about 3 of those sacks. Of the other six, one of them goes to John Tait. He blocked well in the run game and apart from that play held up well on passing downs. Two sacks belong to right guard Steve Edwards, who was beaten on successive plays by Cletidus Hunt (completely missed to the inside) and Cullen Jenkins (got around him on a deep drop). Marc Colombo had a horrible time trying to block Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila (7 tackles, 4 sacks). He allowed 3 sacks, and appeared to get worse as the game wore on. He added a false start in the middle of it all. Colombo did some good things run blocking to help Jones get yardage off tackle, and made a key block on a draw that picked up a big gain. Terrence Metcalf was flagged for illegal hands to the face and Olin Kreutz had yet another illegal snap/false start. Kreutz had one of his better games getting out in front of Jones pulling on some toss sweeps. The lack of continuity on the offensive line is very evident on screen passes, where the timing has been shoddy for much of the year. There seems to always be at least one blocker who is letting his man in too soon. Run blocking was pretty good, but pass blocking was a nightmare. GRADE: D-


Defensive Line

Is it too late to pull Alex Brown's contract? Apart from one huge spike of a game where he had 4 sacks, Brown (3 tackles) has disappeared down the stretch. He was good for a decent chase down tackle and a pressure. Michael Haynes (4 tackles) started but shared quite a bit of time with Israel Idonije (4 tackles). He had pressure on the touchdown pass to Javon Walker, and did a good job stringing run plays out to the sideline. Rookie Tommie Harris had some great penetration early in the game, and made a good stop against the run. He also had a pass deflected at the line. Ian Scott finished the season playing at a very high level. He had a knockdown on Brett Favre (9-13-196, 2 TD) in the early going, and deflected a pass at the end of the first half. Alfonso Boone played but was not a factor. Overall, the pass rush pressure was lacking from the front line. The run defense was very good (30 carries for 60 yards). GRADE: C


Hunter Hillenmeyer (6 tackles) had a good game in the middle. He stuck Ahman Green in the early going on a toss sweep. Hillenmeyer also did well to sniff out a reverse. Marcus Reese (3 tackles) got the start on the strong side and appears to be settling in (too bad the season is now over). He was involved in a tackle for a loss against Tony Fisher (19/42, 3-23), and had a knockdown on a blitz. Lance Briggs (4 tackles, PD) was very steady, with perhaps his biggest play being a pass he deflected in the end zone at the end of the third quarter. While the run defense was good, there were quite a few completions to running backs and tight ends. This isn't always the fault of the linebackers, but they do need to take a good deal of the responsibility. Unlike many of the previous weeks, there were no big plays from this group. GRADE: C


In an odd twist, the two steadiest defenders in the Bears' secondary had very tough games. Jerry Azumah (5 tackles) had good position on a 48-yard pass to Donald Driver but couldn't make a play on the ball. The same thing happened on a 25-yard touchdown to Javon Walker (3-82, TD). He also made a weak attempt at bringing down William Henderson on an out and up he took in for a 38-yard touchdown. That touchdown happened after Mike Green (3 tackles) fell down trying to hold up Henderson in the flat. Green also appeared to be late in getting back on a touchdown pass to Bubba Franks (4-59, TD). He was so late it might not have been his fault, as safety Todd Johnson was late getting over as well. So either Green bit on the fake and got burned, or thought he had help and didn't. No matter how you slice it, it didn't look good. Green made a nice play on a reverse early on, and Azumah had a tackle for a loss on a screen and nearly came up with an interception in the end zone in spite of being pushed from behind by the receiver (no call for offensive pass interference). Charles Tillman (3 tackles, PD) had a tackle for loss, but combined with Bobby Gray (3 tackles) to allow a big gain to Javon Walker early in the second half. Nathan Vasher did well to deflect a fade pass in the left corner of the end zone to Antonio Chatman. R.W. McQuarters deflected a pass to Driver at the beginning of the third quarter. Safeties Bobby Gray and Todd Johnson (7 tackles) saw a lot of action. Gray stuck Fisher for a 2-yard loss late in the game. The secondary allowed Favre's backup, Craig Nall (7-13-131, TD) to carve them up. They blew some assignments, and had some chances that they let slip through their fingertips. It was one of the more disappointing performances from this group. GRADE: D


Paul Edinger had no field goal opportunities. His three kickoffs on average were a little short but not a factor. Kick and punt coverage was good, especially from Adrian Peterson, Joe Odom, Bobby Gray, and Nathan Vasher. Brad Maynard didn't have any booming punts but did pin the Packers inside of their 20 a three times. R.W. McQuarters had a 20-yard punt return where he made several people miss. Jerry Azumah had a decent day returning kickoffs but no special returns. Peterson was whistled for a questionable holding penalty, but drew a pass interference call on a fake punt that led to a first down. Todd McMillon was held on a punt return. He committed an illegal touching penalty. Overall it wasn't a very exciting day for special teams. GRADE: C


For a change, Terry Shea remained dedicated to running the ball. This was something good in a sea of bad. The overall mix of run to pass was balanced. Some of the calls were a bit odd, like screen on 3rd and seventeen, and a direct handoff on 3rd and eight. For what it's worth, the Packers converted a third down on a screen pass for similar yardage. In the passing game, the nine sacks is cause for alarm if not adjustment. Isn't it? More three steps drops might have helped Hutchinson, but Shea admitted after the game that he did make an adjustment in the drops--from seven steps to five. Defensively, the Bears could not find a way to get to either Favre or Nall. It's way too late in the season to have breakdowns in coverage, but they still occurred. Overall, there are still far too many penalties. Green Bay beat the Bears without playing Favre and Green in the second half. Their first stringers did play most of the game at the other positions. It was a tough way to close out the season and home schedule. The home fans will have a bad taste in their mouth for quite a while. GRADE: D


Thomas Jones
David Terrell
Hunter Hillenmeyer


Marc Colombo
Steve Edwards
Jerry Azumah
Mike Green


Bobby Gray on Tony Fisher

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