BY HUB ARKUSHFor Sun-Times Media September 30, 2014 10:40PM Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers
during an NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini) ORG XMIT: JHIL238 HUB ARKUSH’SNFL POWER RANKINGS 1. Broncos (2-1): Az, NYJ, SF, SD and NE will test them next 5 weeks.
BY HUB ARKUSHFor Sun-Times Media September 30, 2014 10:40PM
Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws a pass against the Green Bay Packers during an NFL game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Sunday, Sept. 28, 2014. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini) ORG XMIT: JHIL238
NFL POWER RANKINGS
1. Seahawks (2-1): Wash, Dal, SL, Car, Oak, NYG and KC next; 9-1 seems likely.
2. Broncos (2-1): Az, NYJ, SF, SD and NE will test them next 5 weeks.
3. Bengals (3-0): NE, Car, Ind and Balt will tell us more over next month.
4. Cardinals (3-0): Other than division games, Phil and Den, fairly smooth path to playoffs.
5. Chargers (3-1): Gaining steam, Rivers is on a roll.
6. Ravens (3-1): Should the Panthers have kept Steve Smith?
7. 49ers (2-2): Found a way to win vs. Philly; other than Den in 2 weeks, schedule softens now.
8. Eagles (3-1): It seems Jim Harbaugh has an answer to Chip Kelly’s scheme.
9. Texans (3-1): Great defense, best player in league will take you long way.
10. Lions (3-1): Hard to love, getting hard to ignore.
11. Cowboys (3-1): Harder to love, getting harder to ignore.
12. Colts (2-2): Struggled with Den, Philly, spanked Jax and Ten; Balt good test this Sunday.
13. Chiefs (2-2): 2 straight very impressive wins.
14. Packers (2-2): Rodgers is back, but still need to find some “D.”
15. Patriots (2-2): Hard to believe what we saw in KC.
16. Giants (2-2): Rumors of their demise were greatly exaggerated.
17. Bills (2-2): So that’s why they gave Kyle Orton all that money.
18. Bears (2-2): If they can’t make Pack punt once, how can they win division?
19. Steelers (2-2): Talk about Jekyll & Hyde, they lost to the Bucs?
20. Panthers (2-2): Wow, remind me never to tick off Steve Smith.
21. Dolphins (2-2): Do it vs. someone besides the Raiders.
22. Vikings (2-2): If Bridgewater’s ankle is OK they’ll move higher.
23. Falcons (2-2): Recruiting O?linemen from “The Biggest Loser” soon.
24. Saints (1-3): We hope Rob Ryan didn’t buy a house in New Orleans.
25. Browns (1-2): Had a week off to think about how close they are to 3?0.
And the rest: 26. Jets (1-3); 27. Redskins (1-3); 28. Rams (1-2); 29. Bucs (1-3); 30. Titans (1-3); 31. Jaguars (0-4); 32. Raiders (0-4).
Updated: October 1, 2014 2:23AM
I spend a significant chunk of my Monday and Tuesday afternoons watching, rewatching and grading the tape of the Bears’ most recent game.
This week’s were the most unpleasant Monday and Tuesday I’ve spent in quite some time.
Normally I’ll focus strictly on the Bears’ individual performances, but first there is something else that jumped off my screen this week.
The Packers’ 38-17 victory against the Bears was one of the most poorly officiated games I’ve ever seen.
Fortunately, the blunders by the zebras were fairly evenly balanced to punish both teams, but coming from someone who is normally a huge defender of the officials, this one left me feeling something must be done.
The two most bizarre calls were a 5-yard illegal-use-of-hands call on Julius Peppers that should actually have been on Jordan Mills, who was trying to block him, and a 10-yard unnecessary-roughness call on Sam Shields against Jay Cutler.
I’ve watched both plays a dozen times and still have no idea what the stripes thought they saw.
Roger Goodell and Co.’s well-intended but incredibly poorly executed efforts to make the game safer are threatening to damage the credibility of the game and the league.
OK, maybe I’m just trying to have less space to write about how awful the Bears defense was.
But, hey, the offense was really good and only two turnovers and a couple red-zone flops kept it from being great.
Jay Cutler gets a B- for a day in which he wasn’t great, wasn’t horrible and might not even have been responsible for both his picks.
Bears receivers with the exception of Martellus Bennett also get a B-.
With the exception of Brandon Marshall they played pretty well, nothing special but pretty well, and Josh Morgan would have had his best game as a Bear were it not for a questionable effort on Cutler’s first pick that bounced off Tramon Williams’ hands. Marshall is clearly not himself.
I’ve got A’s for Bennett, Matt Forte, Ka’Deem Carey and the offensive line. Bennett had his best game as a Bear both as receiver and run blocker.
Jordan Mills continues to struggle and be a potential liability. The rest of the line played very well, particularly Michael Ola, and Eben Britton jumped off the tape a couple times for all the right reasons.
An offensive total of 496 yards, split almost evenly between 235 rushing and 261 passing, is a heck of a day. Clean up a few hiccups and the offense was great.
On defense it’s easier to give you the players who didn’t fail ? Lance Briggs, Jon Bostic, Tim Jennings and Willie Young ? than those who did, which was everyone else.
Give those four a C for their play against the run, although Young was invisible in the pass rush. Probably because there was no pass rush ? all day long.
Lamarr Houston and Stephen Paea were particularly ineffective.
I suppose you could argue that’s part of the reason why Chris Conte, Isaiah Frey and Kyle Fuller were so bad against the pass, but it’s no excuse to find them consistently two to four yards behind the play on the tape.
Ryan Mundy and Danny McCray were just slightly less bad.
Special teams were almost no factor since with a historic effort neither side could force a punt.
Finally, we have to ding coach Marc Trestman with a below-average grade. Trestman told us Monday he oversaw a conscious decision not to blitz over fear of what Aaron Rodgers might do to it, but to not make that adjustment at halftime was inexcusable.
Add the good idea but terrible timing on the onside kick ? I said it the second I saw it in the press box before it failed ? and the coach had a bad day.
The Bears had just taken the lead and the momentum back with under four minutes in the half. It was not the time to risk giving it up ? which ended up happening ? and make a concession speech to your defense at the same times.
Hub Arkush is the editor of Chicago Football.