Down Not Out
He had a rough debut against the Raiders, but Caleb Hanie deserves more time as the Bears' starting quarterback. Melissa Isaacson
The Bears averaged 6.4 yards per carry, but the team distributed just 22 attempts between Marion Barber and Matt Forte. Part of the reason for that, obviously, was the Bears found themselves playing from behind in the second half. So the team doesn't deserve criticism for giving up on the run too early. When the Bears committed to running the football, they did it effectively.
The three turnovers for the Bears proved painful because the Raiders were able to turn two of them into a couple of Sebastian Janikowski field goals. Take away the six points Oakland scored off turnovers, and the Bears win this game. So maybe the Bears deserve a worse grade here. The bottom line is that despite Caleb Hanie's struggles, the receivers didn't do a ton to help him out.
The Bears shut down Oakland's ground game, holding the Raiders to 2.7 yards per attempt. Stout play from the front seven definitely led the way, but defensive backs such as Major Wright and Charles Tillman contributed, too. Matt Toeaina's return to the lineup bolstered the interior of the line, and the team got better play from Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye.
Not only did the Bears allow 301 yards through the air, but they missed out on too many plays when they needed them. Cornerback Tim Jennings dropped at least two interceptions and gave up plays on crucial downs, including a 14-yard gain on third down in the fourth quarter, followed by a 47-yard bomb just three plays later that put the game away.
The Bears didn't play badly on special teams. Chicago just ran into a team with even better special teams in Oakland, which took advantage of a strong-legged kicker in Sebastian Janikowski and equally potent punter in Shane Lechler to score points with field goals and shut down Bears return man Devin Hester. Robbie Gould deserves credit for one of the most well-executed onside kick attempts of the year.
The grade falls to a C because offensive coordinator Mike Martz made a questionable call on the screen pass from the Oakland 7 on second and 1 that was intercepted and resulted in three points for the Raiders. Other than that one play, the team put together solid plans on both sides of the ball. You can't blame the coaches for receivers dropping balls or defensive backs dropping interceptions.