CHICAGO (CBS) — Bears Coach Lovie Smith said quarterback Caleb Hanie should not get all the blame for the crushing loss to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday, but would not rule out any lineup changes for when the Bears take on the Green Bay Packers next week.
Coach Smith told WBBM Newsradio’s Josh Liss that the team simply failed in the second half against the Seahawks at Soldier Field, after an impressive and successful first half.
LISTEN: Coach Lovie Smith talks with WBBM Newsradio’s Josh Liss reports
The Bears lost the game 38-14, after Seattle scored 31 unanswered points in the second half.
“You know, when you play at home, you know you’re going to have the crowd behind you, and you want to have a fast start, which we were able to do; get that lead, you know, going in at the half. We did a lot of things to get in that, but if you have that lead, definitely at the start of the second half, you have to play the same type of ball, and we didn’t,” he said. “That first drive by the end of the second half really hurt.”
Hanie had two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the second half, and was eventually benched in favor of Josh McCown. Will McCown be starting against the Packers on Christmas night? Smith wouldn’t say.
“We never – it’s the same routine we go through each week,” he said. We see who gives us the best chance to win that week, and that process has already started.”
But before that, Smith did say that the blame for the Bears’ second-half failure should go to the whole team, not just to Hanie.
“It’s the same process we always go through; I mean, yesterday, we didn’t have a choice, you know, but to give Josh an opportunity to play and see exactly where he was,” he said. But Caleb played just like the rest of us; in that second half, we didn’t play well enough. The quarterback gets blamed for a lot of it, but it was more than just him. So we’ll go through the same evaluation we go through each week.”
Smith also would not go so far as to say it is time for the Bears to stop trying for a playoff berth.
“I think until we’re eliminated, you have (the playoffs) back of your min. It’s always about the next opponent for us, and Green Bay is up next. I mean, it’s kind of simple as that,” he said. “For us to have any chance of anything, it’s just about us getting a win this week.”
In Sunday’s game, wide receiver Johnny Knox was carted off the field, having hurt his back as he scrambled for a fumble. Smith said Knox is “resting comfortably.”
“As you probably know, Johnny does have a fractured vertebra. He’s going to have surgery this morning to stabilize that, but we’re expecting a full recovery from it, so that’s the good news; he should be getting, right about now, going into surgery,” Smith said.
Smith also would not rule out the possibility that the two highest-profile injured players – quarterback Jay Cutler and running back Matt Forte – might be back before the end of the season.
“Nothing has changed,” he said. “We have been talking about hopefully getting him back by the end of the second, and we’re still hopeful of that same thing. But we’ll know little bit more about them, also, this week.”