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Bears vs. Steelers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Chicago

Matt EurichAnalyst ISeptember 23, 2013

Bears vs. Steelers: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Chicago

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The Chicago Bears came away with a 40-23 victory in Pittsburgh and proved again to be calm and collected under head coach Marc Trestman.

    The Bears let the Pittsburgh Steelers come back into the game after at one point leading 24-3.

    The Steelers' five turnovers and a late touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Earl Bennett eventually sealed the victory for the Bears on Sunday.

    Here are the full roster report card grades for the Chicago Bears for Week 3:

Quarterback

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

    Grade: B+

    Jay Cutler finished the game going 20-of-30 for 159 yards and one touchdown. While his numbers do not exactly jump off the page, he was big when it mattered most down the stretch.

    With the Steelers fighting back in the fourth quarter, Cutler engineered a drive in which he converted a long third down while scrambling out of the pocket, converted on another long third down with a 41-yard completion to Brandon Marshall and then hit Bennett in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.

    Sunday night, he did what he could to put his team in the best position to win, and the Bears came out on top.

     

Running Back

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    Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

    Grade: B

    Matt Forte had another solid game on the ground Sunday night, gaining 87 yards on the ground on 16 carries with one touchdown. He also caught four passes from Jay Cutler for 24 yards.

    Michael Bush struggled carrying the football, gaining just nine yards on eight carries and was able to get in the end zone on fourth down after failing to put it in from the 1-yard line on both first and third down.

    Forte clearly had the hot hand Sunday night, and it was sort of a surprise that Bush was given so many chances in short-yardage situations considering how much he struggled at times.

Wide Receiver

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Grade: B-

    Marshall finished the night with five catches for 52 yards on eight targets and Alshon Jeffery was not far behind with seven catches for 51 yards on eight targets.

    Both receivers came up with solid receptions at times, but neither seemed to be able to consistently get open all night.

    EBennett finished the night with just two catches for 22 yards but likely hauled in the biggest reception of the night with his beautiful grab in the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown.

    The receivers went up against a solid secondary and cannot be blamed too much for their low production levels with Cutler only throwing the ball 30 times and because their defense was able to help them work with a short field for the majority of the night.

Tight End

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

    Grade: C-

    After hauling in 12 catches for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the first two games, Martellus Bennett was a non-factor Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Bennett finished the game with just two catches for 10 yards on five targets. .

    Backup Steve Maneri was targeted one time but failed to haul in the pass, and Dante Rosario saw a few snaps early on in the game but did not end up on the stat sheet.

    If the Bears offense wants to continue to become more dynamic and explosive, it will need to get Bennett more involved than he was on Sunday night.

     

     

Offensive Line

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    Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

    Grade: C

    After allowing only one sack through the team's first two games, the Bears offensive line allowed Cutler to get sacked twice on Sunday.

    Compared to how the line has played in previous years, it is still an improvement, but it appeared that there were many times when the pocket was collapsing around Cutler.

    The offensive line began to hold its ground late in the game and was able to provide Cutler with ample protection during his 41-yard completion to Marshall on third down as well as during his 17-yard touchdown pass to Bennett.

    The Bears will hope that the offensive line was able to learn some things going up against the Steelers' 3-4 defense as it will be facing a similar defense twice more this season against the Green Bay Packers.

Defensive Line

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

    Grade: C+

    After two weeks of poor play along the defensive line, that unit appeared to take a step forward, even if it was only a minor one.

    The defensive line failed to get a sack against Ben Roethlisberger. At times it was able to generate pressure and in a few instances was able to get to the quarterback, but it was unable to bring him down.

    Julius Peppers finally showed some life as he rumbled 42 yards into the end zone after recovering/catching a fumble that was forced by Lance Briggs.

    Despite being a non-factor for much of the team's first three games, the loss of Henry Melton to an injury, via CBS Sports, could have some serious ramifications in the weeks to come.

    Peppers, Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin need to continue to improve their pass rush on a weekly basis, and Nate Collins will likely replace Melton at the 3-technique tackle position if his injury keeps him out.

Linebacker

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    Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

    Grade: A

    After being somewhat of a non-factor on defense during the first two weeks, D.J. Williams finished the game with two sacks, a forced fumble and four total tackles. He proved to be an effective blitzer for much of the night and often forced Ben Roethlisberger to get rid of the ball quicker than he wanted to.

    James Anderson continued to be a quiet but effective player, finishing with five tackles and a tackle for loss. He continues to prove on a weekly basis that he is one of general manager Phil Emery's best offseason signings.

    Briggs was seemingly all over the field Sunday night, finishing with seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble that led to a Peppers touchdown.

    Through the first three weeks of the season it appears as though the Bears linebacking core may just be their most consistent group on the field.

     

Cornerback

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    Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

    Grade: C

    Whenever a quarterback is able to throw for over 400 yards and a wide receiver finishes with nearly 200 yards receiving, it is hard to say that the cornerbacks (or the secondary in general) had a good night.

    Ben Roethlisberger connected with Antonio Brown nine times for 196 yards and two touchdowns Sunday night.

    Not all of those receiving yards from Brown were solely because of the play of Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings, but both were caught off guard at various different times Sunday night.

    Tillman spent some time on the sidelines nursing an unknown injury and was replaced by Zackary Bowman. The Bears' inability to create consistent pressure upfront is another reason why they struggled, but with more high-powered offenses heading their way on the schedule, they'll need to improve their play at the position.

Safety

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Grade: C

    If it were not for interceptions by both Major Wright and Chris Conte Sunday night, this grade likely would have been lower.

    At various different times either Wright or Conte appeared to be out of position, and Conte on more than one occasion appeared to be caught when trying to peek at the quarterback instead of what was happening with the wide receivers.

    Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker used Conte at different times as a blitzer, but he failed to shed the blockers in front of him.

    Both safeties are very talented, but they will need to shore up their techniques and play as the season progresses.

Special Teams

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    Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

    Grade: B-

    A week after setting a Bears record with 249 return yards, Devin Hester was limited to just 26 yards on two returns. Joe Anderson had two returns for 32 yards, and Eric Weems had one for 15 yards.

    Adam Podlesh punted six times for 282 yards and had just two land inside the 20-yard line.

    Robbie Gould nailed his two kick attempts but made only four of his five extra-point attempts after his attempt in the fourth quarter was blocked by Troy Polamalu.

    The special teams unit allowed Felix Jones to gain 48 yards on two kick returns but contained the dangerous Brown to just four yards on two punt returns.

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