The Bears need Jay Cutler (7-for-14, 40 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs) to be as good at the start as he is at the finish. On short notice, Jason Campbell (11-of-19, 94, 0-0) still needs to be better than he was.
RUNNING BACKS: C-
Matt Forte (16-39) couldn’t spark the offense on his own. Michael Bush killed momentum with a fumble on an 11-yard run. Again, they contributed nothing in the passing game.
Brandon Marshall (8-107) was a one-man show — but he couldn’t do it by himself against a quality team such as the Texans. Devin Hester danced his way out of a first down. Alshon Jeffery can’t come back soon enough.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C
Unfortunately, this was an average effort, not a good sign in the second half of the season. Not their fault Cutler took the big hit that eventually knocked him out. Chilo Rachal was called for two penalties.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B+
Kept the Texans’ offense in check most of the game, despite losing Shea McClellin (concussion) early in the first quarter. Julius Peppers and Henry Melton shared the lone sack.
Kind of a hit-and-miss night for Brian Urlacher & Co. — negative plays and missed tackles. They helped keep the Bears in it but couldn’t come up with what they needed most — a takeaway.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: A-
Tim Jennings continued his Pro Bowl season with two interceptions that gave the offense a chance. Charles Tillman kept Andre Johnson in check — his long play was 11 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C
Robbie Gould kicked FGs of 51 and 24 yards but hit the left upright on a 48-yarder in the fourth quarter. Hester had a 24-yard punt return, but the Bears needed the big play.
The defense came ready to play, but the offense was a disappointment from the start, with 3 turnovers in the first quarter. The offense-defense imbalance is edging closer to a critical point.