GB-CHI Grades: Aaron Rodgers continues to impress
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the GB-CHI game:
Green Bay Packers
– The best quarterback in the league continues to play like it. QB Aaron Rodgers recorded just 23 pass attempts and 189 yards passing, but had several impressive throws that led to his third-highest overall grade since 2012 (+6.0).
– After getting let go by both the Raiders and Giants in the last nine months, WR James Jones made both teams look foolish with a stellar performance in his return to Green Bay. Jones caught all four passes thrown his way en route to a +2.8 overall grade—the second highest of his nine-year career. It was his first multi-touchdown game since 2012, and he even had a third touchdown nullified due to a holding penalty. Jones likely won’t continue to play at such a high level week in and week out, but the Packers have shown that they will manage without WR Jordy Nelson.
– NT B.J. Raji saw his first game action since the end of the 2013 season, and was back at his old position playing nose tackle. He earned his first overall grade over +1.0 (+1.7) since the 2012 season, and looked much closer to the player we saw early in his career. Raji picked up a sack and two pressures, but his performance against the run was maybe more notable since he has always struggled at run defense. He only recorded one downfield tackle, but he gave Bears’ C Will Montgomery trouble on several occasions.
QB Aaron Rodgers (+6.0)
OLB Julius Peppers, (+3.3)
WR James Jones (+2.8)
CB Casey Hayward (+1.9)
RG T.J. Lang (+1.8)
– The narrative continues for Bears QB Jay Cutler, as he threw a costly interception to Clay Matthews in the fourth quarter. But even outside of the pick, Cutler had an off day for the most part. He managed just a 60 percent accuracy percentage—that’s accounting for three dropped passes that were on target, and excluding the spike. He was pressured on 18 dropbacks, and completed just four of 14 passes for 30 yards and a -2.7 pass grade when under pressure.
– The Bears parted ways with RT Jordan Mills last week, instead opting to move Kyle Long to right tackle from his usual right guard position. While we’ve never been high on Mills, the move did not pan out in Week 1. Long allowed four pressures (one sack, three hurries) for the first time since Week 4 of 2013, and he seemed to struggle covering more space out at tackle. His -2.7 overall grade was the third-lowest of his career. However, RG Vladimir Ducasse’s performance in Long’s old spot was even more concerning. He struggled in both pass protection and run blocking, while also picking up two penalties. His -6.2 overall grade was among the worst at guard for the week.
– Only one Bears defender earned a grade over +1.0 in their first regular season game under new defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. ILB Shea McClellin (+2.5) seems to be handling the transition to inside linebacker well, particularly in run defense. He certainly looks much more natural at the position than he did playing defensive end a few years ago.
ILB Shea McClellin (+2.5)
LT Jermon Bushrod (+2.3)
WR Alshon Jeffery (+2.1)
TE Martellus Bennett (+1.9)
FS Adrian Amos (+0.9)