Special teams key to Bears' blowout


Grade: 7

The Bears' first-string defense allowed only one play longer than 19 yards. Conte was effective in coverage for the most part. He broke up three passes and helped hold tight end Jared Cook in check.


Grade: 9.5

It clearly was Brian Urlacher's best game of the season, and it went beyond the big plays he made (interception, forced fumble, fumble recovery).

Urlacher was the primary reason the Bears' first string held Johnson to an average of 3.8 yards per rush. He tackled Johnson five times and held him to a 2.8-yard average on those plays. He also trucked over Johnson on a blitz and put a hit on quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. And he got Johnson to cough up the ball.

Two other points on Urlacher.

On his interception, he broke to where the ball was being thrown before Hasselbeck threw it. That's instinct.

On a deep attempt to Cook in the back of the end zone that was incomplete, Urlacher stayed with the fleet-footed tight end down the seam. That's speed.

Defensive line

Grade: 4

Julius Peppers had a quiet day and Henry Melton played about half as much as usual because of a back injury, so the pass rush was off.

Israel Idonije was a force against the run, and Nate Collins again had a couple of flash plays.

Offensive line

Grade: 4.5

It was a rough day for both tackles, but the Bears fortunately got away with minimal damage. Gabe Carimi and J'Marcus Webb struggled repeatedly with outside speed rushes. They gave up only one sack as a result.

After Kamerion Wimbley zipped by Webb in the end zone, Webb grabbed his facemask for a safety. Webb was called for another hold as well.

Carimi was fortunate he was not called for holding Akeem Ayers on Matt Forte's touchdown run.

The run blocking arguably was the best it has been all season.