The Chicago Bears passed their season-opening "exam" with flying colors on Sunday over the Indianapolis Colts. Playing against a team with just two wins from the season before may not be the greatest measuring stick for any team.
Add to the mix, the Colts were starting a rookie quarterback with a first-year coach and anything but an impressive win would have been considered a disappointment.
Good thing the Bears did not disappoint. Here's a breakdown of how the team played by position, including coaching.
A shaky start which included a sack and an interception returned for a touchdown kept Jay Cutler from receiving an A+. Cutler shrugged off a 1-for-10 performance early, and the pick-six, by finishing 21-for-35 with 333 yards passing and two touchdowns. One of the two scores went to his former Denver Broncos teammate, Brandon Marshall, whom he targeted 15 times.
While the offensive line was making adjustments early on, Cutler also showed great composure by moving around in the pocket and buying a little extra time to complete throws.
Running backs: A
Matt Forte (80 yards, TD) and Michael Bush (42 yds, 2 TD) combined for 122 yards on the ground and three touchdowns. The three rushing touchdowns marked the first time since 2009 the Bears recorded three scores on the ground.
Bush's two scores totaled just two yards, but the bigger picture is the back-up provides a solid option in short yardage situations -- an area the team has struggled in seasons past.
Cutler targeted eight different receivers with six came down with at least one reception. Marshall lived up to all the off-season hype as he finished with nine receptions for 119 yards and his first TD as a Bear.
Alshon Jeffrey hauled in three passes totaling 80 yards including a 42-yard score, while Earl Bennett also had three receptions for 50 yards.
Offensive line: A
Jay Cutler took responsibility for the sack on the opening drive and noted his o-line "played great". Cutler was sacked just once more the rest of the game and was only hit a total of three other times for the game.
Robert Mathis recorded both sacks for the Colts.
The offensive line did receive a break when Colts Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney left the game in the second quarter and did not return.
Three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and three sacks make up for allowing 309 yards to a rookie quarterback.
Tim Jennings and Henry Melton receive game balls on the defensive side of the ball. Jennings emerged as a top-rate corner against his former team with a pair of interceptions and tipped another pass to Chris Conte for the teams third pick.
Melton recorded three tackle for losses with a pair of sacks.
Brian Urlacher made his return to the field and appeared to answer any questions about his health.
He was pulled from the game after about 35 reps and with the game in hand. Urlacher obviously wasn't happy with Lovie's decision to rest him, but the bigger picture is the all-pro middle linebacker should be rested up for the Green Bay Packers on a short week.
Special Teams: A-
Devin Hester did not add to his record total of return scores, but returned one punt for 23 yards which is always electrifying. The Bears also recovered a fumble on a punt.
Robbie Gould was his solid self by drilling a pair of field goals, and Adam Podlesh returned from a hip injury by averaging 41.6 yards on five punts.
Mike Tice impressed in his debut as the Bears new offensive coordinator as the offensive racked up 428 yards from scrimmage with a balance attack. The Bears ran 70 total plays, 37 pass and 33 rushes.
Lovie Smith also won a challenge, while also losing one (which didn't have an impact on the game). And most notably, Smith was able to get Urlacher some game reps and also lots of rest.
TRAVIS DAVID is a contributor for Football Nation and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @Tdavid_21.
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