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Grading the Bears
By Lindsey Willhite | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/13/2009 9:13 PM

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GAME BALL: Ryan Grant

Green Bay running back Ryan Grant turned a simple off-tackle play into a 62-yard touchdown sprint on the Packers' first play from scrimmage. They kept feeding the ball to the former Notre Dame star and he finished with 20 carries for 137 yards (his second-highest total of the year). Grant's 1-yard plunge with 12:39 to go served as the winning score and gave him his first 2-TD game since Thanksgiving 2007.

QB (1.5 balls)

If Charles Woodson hadn't dropped a pair of passes right in his hands - and the Green Bay secondary hadn't fought over a tipped ball that somehow wound up on the ground - Jay Cutler would have suffered another 5-interception day. As it was, Cutler's pair of underthrown INTs offset his perfect TD throws to Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu.

RB (2 balls)

Matt Forte rushed 12 times for 51 yards, which earned him his second-best yards-per-carry (4.3) of the season - not including the Arizona blowout when he ran just six times. Folks, this is Week 14 of the season. A 4.3 average should warrant a "Meh" instead of a "Woo-hoo!"

WR (3 balls)

Making his first career start (in place of the injured Devin Hester), Aromashodu snagged a game-high 8 passes for 76 yards and his first professional TD - a sweet back-shoulder grab against tight man-to-man coverage from future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson. Knox did a veteran's job of fending off CB Tramon Williams with his left arm and getting his hands up to catch a 19-yard TD just before the half.

OL (2 balls)

The line generated decent push to allow Forte's solid day, but LG Frank Omiyale and LT Chris Williams committed enough penalties to fray the officials' flags. Omiyale picked up a false start and a holding call in a four-snap stretch on the Bears' second drive, while Williams had an illegal hands to the face and then topped that with a flagrant 15-yard penalty on a face mask as Green Bay's Clay Matthews went flying by on a screen pass. Aren't you supposed to let the defense in on a screen?

DL (2 balls)

Tommie Harris picked up a sack when Aaron Rodgers held the ball too long. Israel Idonije earned a QB hit. Otherwise, the Bears only got pressure when they brought a linebacker or two on the blitz.

LB (2.5 balls)

MLB Hunter Hillenmeyer overscraped and made it easy for the fullback to block him on Grant's game-opening 62-yard TD sprint, though Hillenmeyer probably expected someone else to fill the gap. Lance Briggs enjoyed two effective blitzes - one that became a sack and the other a weak incompletion.

Secondary (3 balls)

Safety Al Afalava forced a fumble late in the first half that likely saved a Packers field goal. Kevin Payne had 6 tackles and could've picked off a pass, but also took a tough route on Grant's 62-yard TD run. Zack Bowman's end-zone interference set up the game-winning score.

Special teams (2 balls)

The Bears generated nothing with their return teams, but also didn't give up much to the Packers. Robbie Gould never tried a field goal, but he booted the second-half kickoff out of bounds.

Coaching (2 balls)

The Bears used three timeouts (two in the first quarter) because they didn't have the right personnel on the field. One came when the Packers shifted out of a 50-yard field-goal attempt and appeared content to take a delay of game and punt. Instead, the Packers used the Bears' timeout to convert a fourth down and continue on for a field goal.