DETROIT (CBS) — After a drama-free 3-0 start to the season, one major question remained about Bears’ first-year head coach Marc Trestman.
How would he handle a loss?
That question was answered Sunday as the Bears suffered an ugly 40-32 defeat in Detroit.
“There are no moral victories, but I thought our guys played tough for the last 30 minutes,” Trestman said after the game. “I know the staff appreciated that.”
Indeed, the defense only allowed three points in the second half after the Lions put up 30 in the first 30 minutes of the game, but two crucial turnovers by quarterback Jay Cutler kept the game out of reach.
When the game was over, there was no other way to look at it other than as a defeat across the board.
“They won all three phases and they deserved to win the game,” Trestman said.
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But it wasn’t necessarily a deflated locker room after the game. The players accepted their mistakes, treating them as lessons and motivation to get better. Tight end Martellus Bennett went around the room and said something positive to every player in the room, something he said he does win or lose.
Meanwhile, the head coach, who isn’t afraid to be candid about his players’ mistakes, pinned a lot of it on himself.
“I think we were O-for on third down and that starts with me,” Trestman said. “We have to do a better job there to put (Cutler) in a position. We have done well on third down in the last few weeks. We did horribly today and again that starts with me. I have to do a better job.”
The Bears actually finished the game 1-for-13 on third down, with the only conversion coming on their last offensive play of the game — a 10-yard touchdown pass to Earl Bennett that made the score appear a lot closer than the game really was.
“Win or lose, Trestman is pretty even-keeled,” Cutler said.
That sentiment was repeated and acted out by his teammates too.
No Stopping Bush
The Bears did not have an answer for Lions’ running back Reggie Bush in the first half. He had 112 yards rushing on just 11 carries in the first half, finishing with 139 yards on 18 carries on the day.
“It’s Reggie Bush. He’s just another Adrian Peterson, if not quicker,” Paea said. “But for us, missed tackling was a big part in our game and we have to correct that.”
Long Handles Suh
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh finished the game with two sacks, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble that was recovered by Nick Fairley for a touchdown. On a stat sheet, that’s a monster game, but rookie right guard Kyle Long probably did not play as poorly as that stat-line would indicate.
The battle between Suh and Long was a fierce one and there were many plays where the rookie stopped Suh cold at the line of scrimmage. And on the forced fumble, Suh ran a stunt to the outside, away from Long.
“All those guys, they make a living on rushing the quarterback, so that’s what they do,” Long said. “They’re relentless, they’re big, they’re physical guys. So credit them, credit the Lions for bringing it every play. I thought we played our butts off, but you win some, you lose some.”
Special Teams Failures
Sunday was not a great day for Joe DeCamillis’ special teams unit.
Lions returner Michael Spurlock got off a 57-yard punt return in the first half and the Bears spent most of the day keeping the ball away from him from there. Adam Podlesh’s punt on that long return was a line drive and running Michael Ford — who was activated in place of Joe Anderson — missed a tackle as Spurlock caught the ball. A number of Bears then fell out of their lanes, allowing Spurlock to get free on the outside.
Podlesh averaged 40.2 yards on five punts, but the Bears lost some field position on a couple poor directional punts.
As for Devin Hester, he got free for one 32-yard kick return, but was otherwise bottled up on five other kick returns and two punt returns.
– Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis told MLive.com after the game that Bears doctors would not allow him to come back into the game after he was evaluated for a concussion in the first half. Mathis said he passes two concussion tests with Lions doctors, but the Bears doctors — who were the first to respond to him on the field — were worried he briefly lost consciousness. League protocol requires a player to remain out in that case.
– Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who was nursing both a knee and groin injury, was limited in the game.
– Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery finished the game with five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 27-yard run on an end-around.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.