suntimes
PICTURESQUE 
Weather Updates

Bears vs. Packers: Who’s to blame? Who’s not to blame?

Bears running back Matt Forte is gang tackled first quarter Chicago Bears 21-13 loss Green Bay Packers Sunday December 16

Bears running back Matt Forte is gang tackled in the first quarter of the Chicago Bears 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers Sunday December 16, 2012 . | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

storyidforme: 41810420
tmspicid: 15465307
fileheaderid: 7001770

GET YOUR FREE BEARS EXTRA on your tablet

Download the free Sun-Times Bears Extra app to get extensive Bears coverage delivered to you before and after every game. Includes app-only exclusives, such as in-depth statistical analysis, photo galleries, video and more. Available now in the App Store for iPads and through Google Play for Android devices.

Michael Bush might be done for the season
Article Extras
Story Image

Updated: January 19, 2013 6:23AM



It’s not often a coach is asked about accountability this late in a season, but there was Lovie Smith on Monday.

It happens when your best player demands it like Brandon Marshall did of the offense after losing 21-13 to the Green Bay Packers.

“I would like to think all throughout the season we’ve stressed being accountable with every position — coaches, players and all of us,” Smith said. “I don’t think anything has changed from that.”

As the scrutiny grows for Bears’ coaches, Marshall was talking about the players. Jay Cutler, on his weekly show on WMVP-AM (1000), confirmed that and agreed with him.

A look at the film shows several culprits Sunday. Rating their accountability with 0 being the least and 5 being the most, here’s a look:

The quarterback

The good: Cutler started well and resiliently played through injuries. A sack in the third quarter irritated his neck injury. He later banged his right hand off guard James Brown’s helmet.

The bad: Casey Hayward’s interception late in the first half really hurt. With decent protection, Cutler double-pumped and threw way behind receiver Devin Hester, who had gotten open.

Cutler actually had decent pass protection throughout but struggled to locate open receivers. When the Bears had the ball on the Packers’ 16 after the botched trick play on a punt return, Cutler threw to Alshon Jeffery in the end zone and was nearly intercepted by Sam Shields, while fullback Evan Rodriguez was open in the flat.

Accountability rating: 4.5

The running backs

The good: Matt Forte (51 snaps) had runs of 14, eight and nine yards on the opening drive. Forte later made Shields miss on a 22-yard run in the second quarter. Armando Allen (three snaps) had good burst on a 15-yard screen pass. Rodriguez (23 snaps) made some strong blocks early.

The bad: Forte failed three times to get in the end zone when the Bears were inside the Packers’ 5. Despite a strong block by Rodriguez on his final attempt, Forte hesitated with openings to the outside and inside — Cutler actually raised his arms for a touchdown — and it cost him.

Forte was a bigger factor in the passing game, but in the first quarter, he didn’t finish his go route and was unable to take advantage of single coverage with a linebacker.

Accountability rating: 2

The receivers

The good: The stiff arm Brandon Marshall (51 snaps) unloaded on Hayward on his 15-yard touchdown catch was special. He received a nice block from Hester, too.

The bad: Marshall, who was bracketed by double coverage in the second half, was the only receiver with a reception. Hester (21 snaps) was targeted only once. Although they were debatable, the three pass-interference penalties on Jeffery (43 snaps) were momentum-killers. Jeffery (four targets) was able to get man-to-man coverage often.

Accountability rating: 4.5

The tight ends

The good: Kelvin Davis (39 snaps) and Matt Spaeth (17 snaps) helped spring Forte’s 22-yard run with blocks up front. Davis, in particular, did well run-blocking. Kyle Adams (14 snaps) was used late when the Bears used more spread formations.

The bad: The tight ends weren’t targeted once by Cutler.

Accountability rating: 1

The linemen

The good: Despite constant changes up front, the line provided Cutler with time on numerous dropbacks, especially on play-action. Gabe Carimi (29 snaps) had good moments in the run game. Left tackle J’Marcus Webb (54 snaps) handled most one-on-one matchups.

The bad: Brown (41 snaps) and Webb struggled with stunts. Clay Matthews had two sacks on stunts, going past Brown. He also allowed a sack to Mike Neal after Cutler was pressured by Dezman Moses, who beat right tackle Jonathan Scott (41 snaps).

Roberto Garza’s snap infraction on the first drive stalled the Bears’ early momentum. Scott suffered his right hamstring injury when chasing down Hayward on his interception.

Packers wide-body B.J. Raji dominated at times, splitting Webb and Brown to get Forte and barreling through reserve Chris Spencer (38 snaps) to hit Cutler in the head.

Accountability rating: 4.5



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.