Making the grade

Defensive Line: Rosey Colvin's forced fumble (which counted as a sack) and Alex Brown's recovery was a big play in the early going. The hit temporarily knocked Bulger (21-35-347, 2TD, INT) out of the game (slight hand injury). A cold Kurt Warner played a series and struggled. Tackle Keith Traylor (4 tackles, sack, PD, TFL) had one of his best games of the season, with several big stops in the run game, a pass defended, and a sack. Boone and Robinson were not factors in either the run or passing game. The pass rush had a few moments, but was spotty overall. Run defense was outstanding, and is something to build on. Phillip Daniels (4 tackles, PD) and Alex Brown (3 tackles, FR) did not have the kind of pressure one might have hoped for from either of them. Late in the game, even when there was a 4-man rush, Bulger seemed to have more and more time in the pocket.
GRADE: C+

Linebackers: Rosey Colvin (3 tackles, sack, FF, PD) had an up and down game. He made some good plays in coverage late in the game but got beaten by the Rams for big chunks of yardage early on and in the middle. Brian Urlacher (6 tackles, sack, 2 TFL) made some huge plays all over the field. He had a number of tackles for loss as well as a sack. However, he missed a tackle on Gordon (16-45, 4/52, TD) in coverage, resulting in a touchdown. He also ran passed the play on Conwells' short touchdown run. Mike Caldwell got a key sack on 3rd down late in the game, to take the Rams out of field goal position. Bobbie Howard made a stop behind the line late in the game on 3rd down, to return possession to the Bears. Howard also had some struggles in coverage. This group missed too many tackles in the passing game, leading to bigger gains.
GRADE: D+

Defensive Backs: Cornerbacks R.W. McQuarters (7 tackles) and Jerry Azumah (3 tackles, PD) had difficult games. It wasn't the Ram receivers catching passes behind their coverage that beat them. It seemed that whenever the Bears played zone, Ram receivers were easily able to find the seam and Bulger was able to exploit it. Receiver Isaac Bruce (6/141) terrorized the Bear linebackers and secondary with fakes and jukes, picking up a devastating number of yards after the catch. Azumah missed several tackles, and was faked out on Gordon's touchdown. Former Bear Ricky Proehl (2/15, TD) caught a short touchdown over him. McQuarters blew an opportunity for a big play when he missed a sack of Bulger. Todd McMillon struggled late in the game. He let a Bulger pass whistle passed him for a big gain. If he got his head around to the ball faster he could have made a play on it. Mike Brown (6 tackles, Int, PD) and Green (2 tackles) were not much better in the middle of the field, often late to react to the play. At least Brown was able to haul in an interception. Averaging close to 10 yards per passing attempt, Bulger was able to take what he wanted when he wanted it from the Bear defense.
GRADE: D


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