BEARS REPORT CARD VS BILLS
PASSING OFFENSE: C – Mitchell Trubisky had one bad overthrow for an interception and missed the mark on two other easy completions. The completely dumb sack he took pushed them out of field goal range in the first quarter when he easily could have just tossed the ball away out of bounds to make a kick possible. Not thinking. The Bears had 12 completions, or two fewer than the number of penalties they committed. A few pretty receptions by Trey Burton and Taylor Gabriel made up for some of missteps in the passing attack.
RUSHING OFFENSE: B – A 64-yard rushin effort normally wouldn’t result in anything close to a C but the key yardage came in the first half and it was from Jordan Howard on an 18-yard touchdown run and another TD run. He bowled over one potential tackler.
PASS DEFENSE: A+ – The Bears tied a season high with four forced turnovers, and all came on plays involving the passing game. Roquan Smith was particularly active in covering the short passes to the flat and helped keep LeSean McCoy from breaking a long one off a short toss. Kyle Fuller’s active play made two interceptions possible for Leonard Floyd and Adrian Amos, and then he made one himself. Defensive backs broke down well in the open field and made sure tackles. Four sacks reflected a strong push toward the game’s end, and early they had enough heat to keep Nate Peterman from getting set in the pocket.
RUSH DEFENSE: A- – The Bears allowed a rushing touchdown for the first time this season, which normally wouldn’t be good. But it came by quarterback Nathan Peterman with the ball at the 1 late in the fourth quarter of a rout. Of the 97 rushing yards. 24 came on one stupid Peterman scramble when he should have been passing on the last play of the first half. They held McCoy to 10 rushes for 10 yards and Danny Trevathan steamrolled the bulldozer running back Chris Ivory at the goal line, knocking him out of the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B+ – A 36-yard punt return by Tarik Cohen helped with field position for a scoring drive, and Patrick O’Donnell had one of his better days placing punts to bottle up Buffalo’s offense. He had four killed inside the 20. Cody Parkey even got in on the strong special teams day with field goals of 45 and 23 yards.
COACHING: A- – Vic Fangio’s defensive game plan effectively kept an inexperienced, ineffective backup quarterback from burning the defense, unlike earlier this year when they faced backup Brock Osweiler and Miami. It was stuff the run first, and it worked. The Bears continue to lead the league at scoring after turnovers, and it’s something they coach. It would have been better if coaches didn’t have Taylor Gabriel on the field in the fourth quarter, when he aggravated a sore knee. There was no need for any player with a potential injury problem to be playing at that point in the game.
OVERALL: B+ – They could have sleep-walked through this one and came home with a W, but to their credit there was no overlooking the Bills (and by the way how in the world did those guys route the Minnesota Vikings on the road). The 14 penalties and Aaron Lynch's ridiculous penalty for doing a dirty dance to celebrate a sack have to stop, but by and large the game set a strong tone for the second half of the season.