Making the grade

The Bears won their fourth game of the year by defeating the Jets 20-13.

Quarterbacks: Chris Chandler (23-28-177) started and took almost every snap at quarterback. He had a very efficient game. In fact, it was the kind of game Chad Pennington usually has for the Jets. He got reasonable protection, and was precise with his passes. He threw into double coverage on 3rd and 13 to Booker in the early going. He also took a couple sacks on plays where he held the ball too long. This is still a flaw in his learning to pick up a new offense after so many years in something with deeper drops. He had some bad field position thanks to a couple penalties on his teammates. Chandler continues to draw opponents offside with his hard counts. This skill allowed him to turn a 3rd and 5-plus yards into a 3rd and short. Chandler took a step forward in his chances of possibly remaining on the Bears' roster for next season. Henry Burris ran an option on a short yardage play for a first down. After having either fumbled or been intercepted 9 times in the last two weeks, it was very refreshing to not see any turnovers on offense, especially from the quarterback position. GRADE: B-

Receivers: Marty Booker (9/62) caught everything thrown to him, and made several clutch first down grabs. He also did a great job blocking. Dez White (4/28) had a few catches, and although he nearly bobbled one away still came down with it. Both White and Booker appeared to miss the hole on screen plays. Ahmad Merritt (1/-3, 1-5) committed a false start to halt a drive. Marcus Robinson played sparingly, as Merritt appeared to be dominating the playing time at the third wide receiver spot. Tight End John Gilmore (3/28) did an excellent job both catching the ball and blocking. He opened the game with a 16-yard catch, and then added a 19-yarder that was called back because of a penalty on James Williams. Gilmore did have two false start penalties. It's easy to forget that he wasn't even on the roster a month or so ago. Stanley Pritchett (1/24) played the second tight end spot and made a nice grab in the left seam for 24 yards. There were no drops from this group, but no touchdowns, either. However, there was an abundance of key grabs for first downs, and the ball was not fumbled away.

Running Backs: Leon Johnson (15-56, 3/22 Td) saw about the same amount of action as he did the previous week, but his results were much better. The highlight was a 23-yard run early in the second half, which set up his touchdown from 2 yards out on the next play. Johnson looked competent running the ball and receiving it as well. Rookie Adrian Peterson (7-39, 1/16, Td) got his most extended look of the regular season and did not disappoint. He ripped off several strong runs, including his touchdown. Equally as impressive as his longer runs were the plays where he got stacked up behind the line of scrimmage. On those plays, he kept good body lean and showed great strength in still picking up 3 to 5 yards. Although Peterson is not fast, he is into the hole quicker than either Thomas or Johnson. On another play, Peterson split out wide left in an empty backfield, and took a short pass from Chandler up the sideline for 16 yards. Daimon Shelton did a decent job blocking for Johnson and Peterson. Peterson and Johnson broke the tackles necessary to keep the chains moving. Their play was the difference in the ballgame.

Offensive Line: Olin Kreutz had his finest game of the season. Many of the bigger gains game between him and Dogins, especially Johnson's long run. There were a couple plays where Dogins could not get around Kreutz on a pull to the right (either because Kreutz did not get enough movement on his man or because Dogins needed to take a better drop on his pull). Dogins had a breakdown or two early, and then settled down to have a solid game. Gandy allowed 1.5 sacks to John Abraham. On one, he was clearly beaten. On another, it was Chandler's holding the ball too long, possibly because of coverage. James Williams left the game early with an injury but returned. Bernard Robertson replaced him and didn't have any breakdowns. After returning, Williams made a couple decent blocks pulling across the play on some counter action. One of those was Peterson's 5-yard touchdown run off left tackle. A tripping penalty on Williams (it appeared to be a leg whip) negated a 19-yard reception by Gilmore. Chris Villarrial had a strong game not only in straight-ahead blocking but also in his pulling. Protection was decent for Chandler, and run blocking produced decent holes for the running backs, who rushed for 95 yards on 22 carries (4.3 per carry). Additionally, the line did well in short yardage situations, unlike previous games. They won the battle with the Jets line.

Bear Report Top Stories