Bears try to exploit cornerback weakness

Relied heavily on 3-receiver packages as Lions were missing 2 of 3 top cornerbacks

Considering the Bears' No. 2 wide receiver couldn't play against the Lions on Monday night, you might be surprised to know the Bears were considerably more reliant on "11" personnel, or three receiver packages, than usual.

The Bears used 11 personnel 47.8 percent of the time. Previously, they had used it 39.6.

And the Bears had a called pass 81.8 percent of the time when they were in 11.

What was up? It appeared to be more about the Lions than the Bears.

The Bears attempted to get the Lions in nickel coverage often because they were missing two of their top three cornerbacks. Thus they had to play Alphonso Smith, who was signed just last week.

Smith lost a couple of battles with Brandon Marshall but won a couple against other Bears receivers, even preventing what could have been a touchdown pass to Earl Bennett.

The other interesting part about this is the player who took most of injured Alshon Jeffery's snaps was not Bennett. It was Devin Hester.

After averaging 19 offensive snaps in the previous five games, Hester played 59 Monday — 21 more than Bennett and eight more than Jeffery played in any game.

Bennett played only eight snaps more than his previous average.

Here is what else we learned upon further review.

Grading key: Grades are between 0 and 10 with 0 being complete failure and 10 being perfect.

Wide receivers

Grade 7

Marshall gave the Lions problems with his catching radius and ability to run after the catch. Both he and Bennett made some nice downfield blocks.

The Bears often throw a quick pass behind the line to Hester on a "smoke" route, but rarely have anything to show for it. On Monday, he took rookie Jonte Green to school, running 24 yards after catching a pass at his own 4.

For all of Hester's snaps, he had no catches until the fourth quarter.

Quarterback

Grade: 6

Cutler certainly wasn't flashy, but he was effective in leading the Bears to a touchdown on their opening drive and never turning the ball over. Three drops by receivers didn't help.

The touchdown pass on a bootleg was well designed and well executed. Cutler showed perfect timing and patience, directing Marshall, then sucking in linebackers Justin Durant and Stephen Tulloch before firing the ball to Marshall underneath Amari Spievey.

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