CHICAGO (CBS) – After getting a win in his first game as an NFL head coach, Marc Trestman said he appreciated receiving the game ball from team captain Lance Briggs, but said he wished everyone in the organization could have gotten one.
“It was a gritty win by the guys,” Trestman said Monday, in an interview with WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Kerner.
The Bears rallied from an 11 point deficit in the 3rd quarter to beat the Bengals 24-21 at Soldier Field on Sunday. Trestman said he was “really proud” of the way the team played after falling behind.
“They played the game one play at a time, they didn’t look at the scoreboard, they played hard throughout, and they were able to find a way to win,” Trestman said. “I was just really proud of the guys, that they hung in there, and didn’t look at the scoreboard until the end of the game, when we were able to win a close game against a very good team.”
Trestman said he believed the offensive line’s ability to protect quarterback Jay Cutler, and avoid any sacks during the game helped Cutler build the confidence he needed to rally the team after the Bengals built a 21-10 lead in the 3rd quarter.
“I just think that … by keeping him clean in the first half, he felt more comfortable opening it up in the second half,” Trestman said. “You know, there were three significant plays that Jay made in the second half that really were difference makers, relative to the final score.
He also said Cutler’s one interception was not the result of a bad decision by the quarterback, but because he was hit by a defender while making the throw.
“I thought he was very efficient. Again, he took care of the football. He got grabbed on the one interception … where he couldn’t finish his throwing motion, was really the reason why the linebacker made the play. We had Martellus Bennett open over the top, but Jay couldn’t finish his throwing motion,” Trestman said.
As for the lack of a consistent pass rush from the defense until late in the game, Trestman said that was a result of a lack of playing time in preseason, especially for players like Henry Melton and D.J. Williams, who missed most of training camp with injuries. Julius Peppers also missed several practices and the first two preseason games as he nursed a strained hamstring.
“I think we know that our defense didn’t play much during the preseason. We had some guys out who had very minimal plays,” he said. “We played against a very, very good offense; one that had been together for three years, and with a lot of explosive players.”