CHI-TB Grades: TE Zach Miller continues late-season roll
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Chicago Bears’ 26-21 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16 of the NFL season.
– Kyle Long (+4.9) has had a mixed season during his transition from guard to right tackle. His +0.1 overall grade sums up his inconsistency throughout the year. Long was excellent against Tampa Bay, however, recording the highest grade on offense for Chicago. He was perfect in 32 pass protection snaps, and also led the Bears with a +4.0 run blocking grade. Long still needs to work on protecting his QB on the edge (-6.9 pass protection grade), but is getting there slowly at RT.
– TE Zach Miller (+4.3) has had a quietly effective season for the Bears. He’s currently our fourth overall tight end, despite taking just 590 snaps. Against the Bucs, he caught seven-of-eight targets for 69 yards and led the team with a +4.3 receiving grade. Miller’s overall numbers this season are impressive. He’s caught 34-of-42 targets for 439 yards, five TDs, 10 broken tackles, and zero drops. He also recorded one of his few positive grades as a run blocker, along with four-of-five Chicago offensive lineman.
– Tracy Porter’s (-2.5) strange season continued against Tampa Bay. After grading negatively in his first four starts, he bounced back with four straight positively-graded games. Since Week 13 against San Francisco, however, he’s regressed with a -4.9 grade in that span. He struggled against Jameis Winston, allowing four-of-six targets to be complete for 91 yards, one TD, and one interception. It could have been worse, but for a missed deep shot by the Buccaneers, which would have gone for a long touchdown.
RT Kyle Long (+4.9)
TE Zach Miller (+4.3)
SS Harold Jones-Quartey (+3.3)
LT Charles Leno Jr. (+2.5)
RG Vladimir Ducasse (+2.1)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– The return of RT Demar Dotson (+2.7) is a relief for the Bucs. With rookie Donovan Smith starting on the left side, and Gosder Cherilus struggling on the right, Dotson’s return is welcome. He played well against the Bears, particularly as a run blocker, where he led the Bucs with a +2.4 grade. It was more of a mixed outing in pass protection (-0.5), as he allowed a hit and hurry in 33 pass protecting snaps. He made up for that, though, with a positive contribution in the screen game.
– DT Gerald McCoy (-2.5) has the talent to be a dominant NFL player, but his performances against the run leave a lot to be desired. He finished with a -5.0 grade in run defense against Chicago, regularly penetrating deep into the backfield and taking himself completely out of plays. He regularly left huge cutback lanes after allowing himself to be washed out of plays. McCoy is now our fifth-lowest graded run defender amongst defensive tackles (-9.6). Despite those deficiencies, his immediate penetration enables McCoy to generate consistent pressure. He recorded a sack and two hurries in 29 rushes and led the Bucs with a +2.3 pass rush grade. Overall, he’s our fifth-highest graded pass rusher at his position, with 16 combined knockdowns.
– One of the key defensive needs for the Bucs this offseason is an edge rusher. Against Chicago, their defensive ends combined for a -2.4 pass rush grade. Starters Jacquies Smith (-1.5) and George Johnson (-2.8) were shutout on a combined 41 rushes. Only backup Howard Jones (+0.1) registered any pressure at all. He picked up a pair of hurries on his 12 rushes which is more than can be said for William Gholston who was shutout.
LG Logan Mankins (+3.6)
RT Demar Dotson (+2.7)
RCB Jonathan Banks (+1.7)
FS Keith Tandy (+1.3)
TE Luke Stocker (+1.0)