1. Matt Forte, RB: Rather than rant about his contract, Forte decided to prove his worth on the field, which he did against the Atlanta Falcons. Forte averaged 7.5 yards per touch in generating 158 total yards and a touchdown. Sooner or later, the Bears brass will realize that you can’t just plug any between-the-tackles type of running back into Mike Martz’s offense and expect him to produce. In Martz’s system, it takes a running back with a very specific skill set to thrive. With more touches in the offense, eventually, Forte will prove that.
2. Brian Urlacher, MLB: Fully healthy for the second consecutive season, Urlacher continues to show why he’s so important to what the Bears do in Lovie Smith’s Tampa-2 based defense. Urlacher made an impact in the running game with 10 tackles, and affected Atlanta’s passing attack with an interception. Urlacher also scooped up a fumble and returned it 12 yards for his fourth career touchdown. Urlacher claims he’s slowing down, but we certainly can’t tell. He appears to be on pace for his 10th 100-plus tackle season, which would give him the franchise lead over Mike Singletary.
3. Henry Melton, DT: Whether it was the NFL Combine, owners meetings or any other function in which team officials had a chance to chat with media members, Melton’s name always seemed to come up in the conversation. Remember, this is the same guy who played sparingly last season, making just two tackles over the last six games. But still, Smith, general manager Jerry Angelo and other coaches kept talking up Melton. So far, the Bears have proven to be correct. In his debut as a starter, Melton posted two sacks and contributed six quarterback pressures.
1. J’Marcus Webb, LT: Webb admitted in the preseason to not matching the intensity of Buffalo Bills linebacker Shawne Merriman. Webb also didn’t seem to match up very well in his debut as the starting blindside protector with Falcons defensive end John Abraham. Lined up in front of Webb throughout Sunday’s game, Abraham notched two sacks of quarterback Jay Cutler, and batted a pass to teammate Kroy Biermann in the fourth quarter that was returned for a touchdown. Arguably the most talented player on the offensive line in terms of athleticism, Webb should improve with experience. This is just his second year.
2. Gabe Carimi, RT: Carimi took quite a bit of heat for his performance against the Falcons, and yes, he was responsible for one of the five sacks. But given the fact he’s a rookie, and was starting his first NFL game, Carimi deserves somewhat of a pass. After all, it wasn’t like Biermann -- who was matched up with Carimi -- dominated all game. Based on Carimi’s reputation, his performance against the Falcons will only serve as a motivating factor moving into the next couple of games. Expect Carimi to rebound from Sunday’s outing.
3. Lance Louis, RG: Players typically don’t receive multiple opportunities to assume starting roles, but that’s exactly what’s happened with Louis. The problem, though, is Louis hasn’t been able to take advantage of his chances because of injuries. Louis played less than a half Sunday before leaving with an ankle injury that forced the Bears to insert Chris Spencer. Louis started the first four games in 2010, before being replaced in the lineup by Edwin Williams because of a knee injury against the New York Giants. Louis was already on shaky ground coming into the regular season because of subpar preseason performances.