Cutler off the mark against Rams

He got the tough yards, including converting a third-and-1, and a fourth-and-1 (he lowered his shoulder and trucked over a fine middle linebacker in James Laurinaitis), and scoring from the 3. In the second quarter, he got eight extra yards on an 11-yard rush after running through Laurinaitis' tackle attempt.

Tight ends

Grade: 4.5

This group continued to have a minimal impact in terms of pass catching, but the tight ends did make some blocking contributions.

Matt Spaeth in particular had a nice game as a blocker. After playing only 11 snaps against the Packers, Spaeth started and played 31 snaps Sunday as the Bears used a number of two-tight-end sets.

Spaeth came across the formation for wham blocks effectively, picking off defensive end Chris Long on a 12-yard Bush run and blocking linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar on an 8-yard end around by Hester.

Offensive line

Grade: 5

Here is the good news: There were only two sacks allowed against a pretty good defensive front, and neither appeared to be the fault of offensive linemen.

On one, Bush couldn't handle Long one-on-one (no kidding). On another, Cutler could have avoided the sack if he had moved left. Instead he stepped up right into the rush of Long.

J'Marcus Webb was penalized for holding Robert Quinn, but it wasn't a terrible penalty considering Webb had been beaten on an inside move and Quinn might have splattered Cutler if Webb didn't get his arm around his neck.

The penalty was one of four by offensive linemen. Three were false starts, which is inexcusable at home.

Overall the run blocking wasn't consistent enough.

Defensive line

Grade: 9

The Bears defensive line should have dominated against the overmatched Rams offensive line, and it did.

Julius Peppers had only a half-sack out of six for the Bears, but he was the best player on the field. He got consistent pressure and was almost always playing across the line of scrimmage. He played the run very well, including tackling Steven Jackson for a loss of 1 on third-and-2 in the fourth quarter.

Also turning in strong performances were Israel Idonije, Stephen Paea and Amobi Okoye. Paea and Okoye both combined excellent first-step quickness with powerful hand use to free themselves in both the run and the pass game.


Grade: 7.5