NFL Wire News

Another dreadful performance by the Bears


LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Speculation over the coaching staff’s future can only increase after the latest Chicago Bears national television debacle, a 31-15 loss to New Orleans that followed a familiar trend.

“We can’t sugarcoat it,” coach Marc Trestman said.

The offense once again failed to produce early, the defense then disappeared in the second quarter and Jay Cutler filled televisions with three much-anticipated interceptions as the night wore on in a performance that very closely resembled three other losses during a stretch of six defeats in eight games. The Bears fell to 1-4 in national TV games.

“I thought, defensively, our guys really gave everything they had tonight,” Trestman said. “They were just on the field too long.”

Certainly Drew Brees wouldn’t have minded if they’d been on the field a few more minutes, after he had completed 24 of 27 passes against the Bears defense to stake the Saints to a 21-0 lead.

While Trestman complained about leaving the defense on the field a long time, it looked like the defense was hopelessly overmatched anyway. They had only a 2 1/2-minute difference in possession time by halftime and had stopped all three New Orleans third-down attempts. Yet they had been carved up for 245 yards and then gave up a touchdown starting the second half after resting, as they fell behind by three scores.

The offense started poorly and got worse, all amid the chaotic backdrop of revelations last week that offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer had been the anonymous source in a story criticizing Cutler. Kromer had fessed up to the team on the previous Monday in a tear-filled admission of guilt, and a full week later the Bears looked like a team still trying to cope with mistrust within the locker room.

“Monday was different,” Cutler admitted about Kromer’s confession. “I think Tuesday, Wednesday we adjusted fine. By Thursday, we were back to game planning and football. We just had to do the press conferences and do that.

“But it didn’t affect me preparing for the game. It didn’t affect the rest of the guys, I think, preparing for the game. We had a good week of practice. I’m sure a lot of people will say that it didn’t look like it with our performance today.”

The Kromer situation, along with the growing demand for drastic change within all corners of Halas Hall, make it seem like a snowball effect. The team keeps getting worse. Trestman claims none of this has an effect on their performance.

“The only thing I can say is that what’s going on outside the building is not going on inside the building on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

A season-high seven sacks allowed, an offense that gained 278 yards against a 31st-ranked defense that had allowed 400 yards-plus in four straight games, and a defense that has allowed a 106.1 passer rating all made it apparent something is very wrong.

A failed fake punt with only 10 men on the field summed up the entire effort.

“We should have had 11 players, but we had 10,” Trestman said. “I’m responsible for that.”

The Bears tried their best to spin the embarrassment, but like Trestman said, there is no sugar-coating the type of efforts they’ve had the majority of their last eight games.

“There’s a lot of good things going on with our football team, but the bottom line is that we aren’t winning,” Trestman said.

When it was all over, the team even dropped the ball off the field, as Cutler’s postgame press conference was mishandled.

Cutler answered three questions with only a few reporters present while media members were almost all in the locker room, having only just been told he was available and were en route.

“We’re going to wait for them?” Cutler asked of team media relations. Then he stood up and left.

In two weeks, there will be plenty of time for questions for everyone in the organization, from Cutler to Trestman to general manager Phil Emery — at least for those who still remain with the organization then.


–PASSING OFFENSE: F — This was a fiasco from the start. They obviously missed Brandon Marshall, as they had only one first-half first down passing. Jay Cutler’s three interceptions brought his season turnover total to a league-high 24. Cutler was better able to evade questioning by media at the postgame press conference than he was the Saints’ pass rush.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: D — An attempt, at least, was made this time to run the ball and Matt Forte rushed for 78 yards. However, penalties by Martellus Bennett and Jordan Mills helped derail the rushing game in the first half, and by the time the offense got the ball back in the second half, it was down 21-0 and in no position to run much.

–PASS DEFENSE: F — The entire secondary was a step behind all night. Pass-rush pressure at first proved adequate as Willie Young was able to reel in a sack to run his total to 9.5, but the Saints adjusted by moving Drew Brees around a bit or by leaving in an extra blocker and it snuffed out the only adequate aspect of the Bears’ defense on the night. A key aspect of the Saints’ offense all year has been screen passes. The Bears treated those in the first half as if they’d never seen one before. Running back Pierre Thomas had 83 yards receiving on five catches in the first half.

–RUSH DEFENSE: D-plus — New Orleans failed to run for big chunks, but when it needed a few yards, it had no problem producing them. Getting Jeremiah Ratliff back at defensive tackle helped the Bears stack up a few runs, but the stretch play occasionally broke a few times for key gains.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: D — The Bears get an A for creativity but an F for execution. The special teams pulled out a handful of tricks, like reverses and unusual formations on punts, but then had 10 men on the field while trying to run a fake punt that came up a half yard short. The obligatory holding penalty on the opening kickoff against Senorice Perry started this whole mess of a night off right.

–COACHING: F – From Aaron Kromer blasting Jay Cutler as an anonymous source and then admitting he did it, to an offensive game plan that again failed to produce any first-half points, the coaching staff struggled yet again. And all of this came after they had a week and a half to prepare to play a 5-8 team that had given up 41 points the previous week at home.

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