Making the grade

Quarterbacks: Jim Miller (23-36-191 1 Td, 1 Int, fumble) was healthy enough to start and finish the game. He had a lot of trouble with his accuracy on medium range passes up the sidelines. One of those passes was intercepted, but several more were close to the same result. Numerous passes were way short of the mark, as they hit the turf, while others were way too high to be caught. As he did in the first Green Bay game, he was often locked in on his primary receiver. He failed to notice open receivers on several occasions as a consequence. Miller also took another sack after tripping over the feet of his blockers. Miller's finest moments were when he was working with his tight ends. He bought time on 4th and 1 to hit John Gilmore for a first down. He also found Dustin Lyman for an 8-yard touchdown. Henry Burris was called into action at the end of the game for a desperation heave over the middle to Marcus Robinson. The ball was underthrown, but the Green Bay defender tipped the ball back and Robinson came down with the ball for a touchdown. Field goal holder Brad Maynard completed a shovel pass to Dustin Lyman for a 12-yard touchdown. As a group, Bear quarterbacks were 27-38-248 with 3 touchdowns against 1 interception. Those results might sound good, but turnovers were at the heart of the Bears' failure Sunday, and Miller's fumbled exchange with Kreutz at the Packers' 1-yard line was the back-breaker.
GRADE: C+

Receivers: Marty Booker (6/52) had a solid performance. He nearly came down with a touchdown in the end zone, but was interfered with on the play. Booker had some very good run after the catch yardage on some short crossing patterns, which the Packers gave the Bears all day. Dez White (5/39) made some decent catches on similar routes, and also went up to pull down an 18-yard pass. Unfortunately, White fumbled two of his catches (one of them recovered by the Packers), and committed a false start in the early going. Marcus Robinson (1/45. Td) made a great catch for a touchdown on a tipped Henry Burris pass at the end of the game. With John Davis injured, Dustin Lyman and John Gilmore would need to step up. Lyman shook off a false start and a missed block on a screen to Booker en route to his finest day as a pro. He led the Bears with 7 receptions for 58 yards, caught 2 touchdowns, and showed decent hands and speed going up the sideline. John Gilmore (2/16), who was recently signed from the practice squad, made a clutch 4th down catch. Gilmore was open early over the middle but Miller couldn't get the pass within range. Turnovers here added to the Bears' demise as well.
GRADE: B

Running Backs: Anthony Thomas' best run was his first, where he took a handoff over left end for 26 yards, behind a strong block from Daimon Shelton. Thomas (4-26, 1/0) failed to run with any authority thereafter, and left with what is believed to be a broken index finger before the end of the half. Leon Johnson got all of the running back carries thereafter, and looked good. It seemed strange that there was often room to run off tackle and up the middle, and his breaking tackles on first contact helped his cause as well. Leon Johnson (11-46, 3/27, fumble) has shown in consecutive games that the Bear running game's failures may have been due in part to Anthony Thomas having a sophomore slump. Unfortunately, Johnson's day wasn't without the blemish of a turnover either. He fumbled the ball away at midfield just before halftime. Johnson looked pretty good on his receptions as well. Shelton blocked well on the run, and Pritchett played but was less of a factor catching the ball than he had been in recent weeks. It appeared as if reserve running back Adrian Peterson was being prepared to enter the game, but once the Bears fell behind, any hopes of his relieving Johnson were put to rest.
GRADE: C

Offensive Line: Jim Miller was under some pressure in his 36 attempts, but nothing of the jailbreak variety. The line gave up a sack on a linebacker blitz that came late and on a twisting blitz by Hardy Nickerson. Chris Villarrial made the other key block on Thomas' big run in the early going. The interior 3 made some good blocks on runs up the middle for Johnson. Kreutz, however, appeared to never get the snap up to Miller on a fumbled exchange at 1st and goal. Sideline reporters said Kreutz admitted to his teammates "I screwed up." Kevin Dogins is settling in at left guard, and is really looking strong on his pulls across the line. James Williams had a rough day, playing with numerous nagging injuries. He was flagged for holding, and was getting beaten so badly that the man he was working on was making plays on runs over left tackle, which is inexcusable. It's up to his position coach (Bob Wylie) to be able to identify his getting beaten, and for him to communicate this with Offensive Coordinator John Shoop to make a substitution. Run blocking was decent, as was pass blocking. Normally you would say you cannot blame turnovers on the offensive line, but at least some of the blame must fall on them for the fumbled exchange.
GRADE: B-


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