1. Martellus Bennett, TE: While injuries have slowed certain wide receivers (more on that later), the Jay Cutler-to-Bennett connection has thrived in the first quarter of the season. Bennett leads the team with 29 catches for 295 yards and is second with four touchdown receptions. Green Bay had no answer for Bennett on Sunday, as the tight end set career-highs in catches (nine) and receiving yards (134) on 11 targets. Bennett said after the loss he expects to have numerous 100-yard receiving games in the future. Hard to argue with that bold prediction. The 6-foot-6, 265-pound Bennett gives maximum effort on the field, at all times. He is one of the toughest players to tackle on the team.
2. Matt Forte/offensive line: Week 4 proved the Bears' ground attack is alive and well. The Bears zeroed in on a mismatch (Green Bay ranked 30th in rushing defense) and exploited it. As a team, the Bears ran for 235 yards on 41 attempts (5.7 yards per carry). Forte led the way with 122 yards on 23 carries (5.3 yards per carry), but even rookie Ka'Deem Carey had success against the Packers with 72 yards on 14 carries. Under normal circumstances, the Bears win games in which they dominate on the ground. But two costly turnovers, not to mention a red-hot Aaron Rodgers, ultimately sunk the Bears. But the line came to play on Sunday. So did Forte, who reached a career milestone by topping 10,000 all-purpose yards.
3. Robbie Gould, K: Special teams have been hit or miss, but Gould is steady as usual. The veteran surprised the Packers in the second quarter with a well-executed onside kick, although the Bears were unable to recover. Gould is 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts with two his kicks occurring in the 40-49 yard range. Par for the course. Gould is the most accurate kicker in team history, hitting 239-of-277 career field goals. Even working with a new long snapper (Jeremy Cain) and holder (Pat O'Donnell), Gould remains close to automatic.
1. Brandon Marshall, WR: Either Marshall's ankle injury is more serious than we realize, or the lack of practice time is more of an issue. Regardless of the specific reason, Marshall has not been the same player since he caught three touchdown passes against the 49ers. Three combined catches over the past two games is very un-Marshall-like. Marshall had only two receptions for 19 yards against Green Bay, and apparently failed to adjust his route on Cutler's second interception after halftime. The duo was clearly not on the same page. If Marshall can't practice on Wednesday or Thursday, should he play in Week 5 at Carolina? That's a tough decision for the Bears to make. Before the Green Bay defeat, I would have said to let Marshall play, practice or not practice. Now, I'm not so sure.
2. Defensive line: Failing to pressure Rodgers is a recipe for disaster. The Bears leaned on their front four to generate a pass rush on Sunday, and the group came up short. The Bears sacked Rodgers one time in 29 pass attempts (Rodgers had one rush for 8 yards), and according to the official NFL statistics distributed to players and media after the game, the defense failed to record a single quarterback hit. Whenever the Bears managed to push Rodgers outside the pocket, nobody on the defense line finished the play. Rodgers ended the game with 302 passing yards, four touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 151.2. Even without Jared Allen (illness) and Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), the Bears need better results from its revamped defensive line.
3. Jon Bostic, LB: Bostic is arguably one of the best athletes on the team. His speed is incredible. One day, I predict Bostic develops into an upper-echelon linebacker in the NFL. However, at this very moment, the best way to describe the second-year linebacker is all over the place. There are moments of brilliance, followed by not-so-great moments. And Bostic commits some really bad penalties. Case in point: a defensive holding call on a fourth-quarter 23-yard field-goal attempt. How does that happen? Maybe the officials got it wrong (they did that often on Sunday), but that Bostic penalty officially put the game out of reach. The Packers got a fresh set of downs inside the Bears' 5-yard line, and Rodgers hit Randall Cobb on a 3-yard touchdown on the very next play to push the lead to 38-17. Ballgame.