1. Pisa Tinoisamoa, LB: While Tinoisamoa’s numbers against the Redskins pale in comparison to the season-high eight tackles he made against the Seahawks, the linebacker has demonstrated consistency and a knack for making difficult open-field tackles. Tinoisamoa contributed three tackles against the Redskins, in addition to forcing a fumble, and scoring a hit on quarterback Donovan McNabb. Tinoisiamoa also tallied a tackle for lost yardage. Slightly undersized, Tinoisamoa is often overlooked playing alongside stalwarts such as Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. But his contributions in six starts can’t be ignored. It’s also encouraging to see Tinoisamoa stave off the injury bug, which kept him off the field 14 games in 2009.
2. Danieal Manning, S/KR: Bears coach Lovie Smith spoke highly of Manning’s play going into the Redskins game, but added he’d like to see the safety make more plays in the passing game. Manning finally delivered by making a diving interception on a McNabb pass intended for Joey Galloway. Manning also chipped in four tackles and a pass breakup, in addition to returning four kickoffs for 78 yards. Although he’d like to remain a Bear after 2010, Manning -- who had been plagued by mental errors over his first four seasons -- is putting together a strong case for a lucrative contract in Chicago or elsewhere for 2011.
3. Israel Idonije, DE: Just 1.5 sacks away from equaling his combined production from 2008 and 2009, Idonije is proving the Bears made the correct decision when they finally gave him sole possession of the starting job at defensive end opposite Julius Peppers. A seventh-year veteran, Idonije has posted 3.5 sacks in his last three outings. Against the Redskins, Idonije sacked McNabb on third down in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble. The sack snuffed out a potential touchdown drive, limiting the Redskins to a field goal. Idonije also posted five tackles, and batted down two passes.
1. Chris Williams, OL: The latest move to guard hasn’t paid dividends for Williams, who began the season as Chicago’s starting left tackle. Once considered by the staff to be the blindside protector of the future, Williams hasn’t demonstrated any consistency as a tackle or guard. Interestingly, the staff called Williams “stout” as a potential run blocker, but he proved anything but in the first quarter Sunday when Albert Haynesworth drove him into quarterback Jay Cutler for a sack. With Roberto Garza expected to return next week, it will be interesting to see what starting five the club rolls out against the Buffalo Bills. Don’t be surprised if Williams isn’t included.
2. Jay Cutler, QB: In a positive sign of maturity, Cutler shouldered the blame Sunday for all of the offense’s struggles against the Redskins. But truthfully, only a small portion of the club’s ineptitude actually fell on Cutler (receivers played a significant role in at least two of his interceptions). Protection issues over his last three starts aside, it’s difficult to ignore some of the decisions Cutler has made. Cutler continues to make questionable throws into the teeth of coverage, and Smith even admitted his quarterback has recently displayed a few lapses in passing mechanics. Cutler appeared to be deeply affected by Sunday’s loss (he usually appears to be nonchalant), which could mean positive results for the Bears in the future.
3. Matt Forte, RB: Forte has made significant contributions throughout the season, but he’s averaged 2.9 yards per carry or worse in five of the club’s seven games, in addition to rushing for just 1 yard on six carries this year from inside an opponent’s 3. Fumbles have been somewhat of an issue this season for Forte, who coughed up the ball Sunday after an 11-yard reception in the fourth quarter. Given some of the questionable play calls made by offensive coordinator Mike Martz thus far, opportunities for the running backs have been scarce, which means Forte needs to make the most of his limited opportunities. Fumbling with the game on the line isn’t the way to do that.