Hoge’s Grades: Offensive Players, Coaches Should Be Held Accountable
By Adam Hoge-
SOLDIER FIELD (CBS) Here are my grades for the Bears after their 13-6 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday night at Soldier Field:
Brandon Marshall’s eight catches for 107 yards was one of the few bright spots, but he also dropped a touchdown pass. Jay Cutler wasn’t very good before he suffered his concussion and Jason Campbell couldn’t do much more than manage the game when he was forced into action on short notice with limited practice reps.
Matt Forte was completely shut down by the Texans, only averaging 2.4 yards per carry. Michael Bush managed 34 yards on just three carries, but he had a costly fumble in the first quarter.
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At this point, you have to wonder how Kellen Davis gets any playing time. He drops the ball a lot more than he catches it and his blocking has never been above average in the NFL. The Bears raved about Kyle Adams in training camp and rookie Evan Rodriguez, though moved to fullback, has potential at tight end too.
The offensive line didn’t allow a sack and held J.J. Watt in check, but Gabe Carimi and Chilo Rachal were guilty of costly holding penalties in the fourth quarter.
The defense really only had one bad drive, but it proved to be the difference in the game. Arian Foster managed 102 rushing yards, but it took 29 carries. The Bears did a good job overall, but they failed to fill their gaps on Houston’s second quarter touchdown drive and Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs were taken out by the Texans’ well executed zone-blocking scheme.
Tim Jennings added two more interceptions and now has seven on the season.
It’s hard to blame the defense for not scoring, but that’s their No. 1 goal every week and the unit couldn’t come up with the one big play it usually gets. Still, you can’t blame this loss on the defense.
Special teams: D
Not a whole lot went well for Dave Toub’s unit after they nearly forced a fumble on the opening kickoff. Devin Hester was held in the check and the blocking wasn’t particularly good. Lovie Smith was clearly not happy with Robbie Gould’s missed field goal and Adam Podlesh continues have at least one bad punt a game.
It’s hard to blame the coaches for a loss like this when your starting quarterback goes down and the weather is awful, but at some point the leadership on offense needs to be questioned. There is way too much talent on that unit for it to be this bad. Remember when we thought the offense would carry the defense this year?
A perfect example: Why are there deep throws to Devin Hester on 3rd & 3? Ultimately the quarterback pulls the trigger, but why is that route being run in the first place in that situation?
The Bears rightly made the switch at left guard earlier this season when they benched Chris Spencer in favor of Chilo Rachal, but it’s time for more accountability. Guys like Kellen Davis can’t be on the field if they aren’t doing anything positive.
I thought Lovie Smith rightly challenged the second quarter penalty on Jay Cutler when he was called for an illegal forward pass. It appeared Cutler’s right foot was still behind the line of scrimmage and I’m not sure how Gene Steratore was able to “confirm” the play based on what the replay showed. It turned out to be the biggest moment in the game as a 42-yard completion to Devin Hester was wiped out and Cutler took the shot that cost him the second half.
Adam is the Sports Editor for CBSChicago.com and specializes in coverage of the Bears, White Sox and college sports. He was born and raised in Lincoln Park and attended St. Ignatius College Prep before going off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he earned a Journalism degree. Follow him on Twitter @AdamHogeCBS and read more of his columns here.