Grading the Bears' loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Running offense: C+
The raw numbers look excellent: 158 yards on 37 carries. But that was exaggerated by Garrett Wolfe’s 38-yard run on a fake punt and a couple of Kyle Orton scrambles. Matt Forte (89 yards on 27 carries) averaged just 3.3 yards per carry, and Chicago struggled to run on third down, converting only 4 of 15 chances.
Passing offense: C-
Kyle Orton passed for a career-high 268 yards and had two touchdowns for only the third time in his career. Brandon Lloyd (six catches for 124 yards) was his big threat and he also used Forte well with seven catches for 66 yards and a TD out of the backfield. With all those yards, two interceptions could have been forgivable, but not when one is to a lineman who returned it 45 yards for a TD.
Running defense: A+
Tampa came in leading the NFL in average yards per rush (6.5) and seventh in rushing (155 yards), but mustered only 47 yards on 17 carries (2.8 average) Sunday.
Passing defense: B
Yes, Brian Griese passed for 407 yards, but he threw 67 times, so that’s only 6.0 yards per attempt. Also, Tampa had four turnovers passing, with three interceptions (Lance Briggs, Nathan Vasher and Kevin Payne) and one fumbled reception (stripped by Charles Tillman, recovered by Brian Urlacher). The biggest knock on Chicago’s pass defense is the zero sacks in 67 passing attempts.
Special teams: B+
Nothing spectacular, but solid everywhere. Robbie Gould missed a 49-yarder, but kicked three other field goals. Garrett Wolfe ran 38 yards with a fake punt. Brad Maynard averaged 42.3 net yards punting. The coverage units held Tampa Bay to a 0.3-yard average on three punt returns and 21.8 on five kickoff returns. Danieal Manning averaged 27 yards on his four kickoff returns.
The Bears were simply too conservative. The split their first-down plays down the middle, even though the run kept failing (16 runs for 52 yards) while first-down passes worked all day. Orton was sacked once on first down and scrambled once for 12 yards. He also completed 12 of 14 passes on first down for 158 yards and both his touchdowns. The Bears defense also committed to the run too much on first down; Griese completed his first 10 passes on first down.