By Dan Bernstein-
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) — Still in search of some kind of identity, the Bears may be closer than ever to finding one.
Sloppy, dumb and self-defeating aren’t the preferred traits teams want defining them, but you have to take what you can get. That’s what they were Sunday in all phases, and it’s possible that is what they are.
The vaunted Marc Trestman offense in its second year of evolution produced only 24 points against a Carolina defense crippled by injuries. For the record, this group of returning skill-position stars under the direction of the newly polished Jay Cutler has yet to score 30 points in a game. Every time it appears they have something working – like the short-passing and screen game, for instance – another aspect does them in.
Cutler’s first interception was a no-chance flip into heavy coverage, the second a flat-footed overthrow to the waiting safety. He took a sack for a 15-yard loss with 1:19 left in the game despite being outside the tackle and allowed to just throw it away. His fumble ended any hope. This is the same guy constantly praised for his abounding intelligence, when it’s his very lack thereof that has been a limiting factor in losses.
Matt Forte fumbled, too. Linemen took turns missing blocks. Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett were not open often enough, and Bennett’s lackadaisical blocking effort was noticed on a pass to Forte that could have been a touchdown.
Still, it was 21-7, and it ended 31-24.