(CBS) There was a sense of loss beyond the final score of the Bears’ 23-16 defeat to the Packers at Soldier Field on Sunday.
The Bears had an opportunity to climb into contention for the 2017 campaign, facing a division rival struggling without its starting quarterback. Chicago was even favored for the first time this season. But far too much went wrong, dropping the Bears to 3-6 on the year.
A Bears defense that had been playing well had a rough showing against the Packers, who started 24-year-old backup Brett Hundley at quarterback and were down to their third-string running back by the second quarter. Chicago surrendered 212 yards through the air to Hundley, and Green Bay’s three running backs rushed for a combined 160 yards.
“It’s never a good thing to not perform the way you want to perform,” Bears defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said on the Mully and Hanley Show on Monday morning. “You can try to point at a lot of things. The bottom line is Green Bay won that game and we got to do our best to control what we can control and come out on top next time.
“I would say that you never want anybody to have a good day against your defense. Unfortunately, they managed their game better than we wanted them to. You just got to take what you take from that, go in and look at the tape and try to have a different outcome next time.”
The game changed in the second quarter when Bears coach John Fox had a challenge badly backfire. Running back Benny Cunningham dove for the pylon and Fox believed it was a touchdown, throwing the challenge flag. Upon further review, it was determined that Cunningham fumbled the football before it touched the pylon, making it a touchback and Packers ball.
Fox technically won the challenge, but the Bears missed out on the potential seven points that proved to be the difference in the game.
“Coach Fox is a realist,” Hicks said. “You got to do your best to stay as positive as you can in this league. But at the end of the day, I think that he’s more of a realist. He shoots you straight. There’s no possible way that he could’ve known that situation could’ve turned out the way it did. He was doing what’s best for his football team, and you got to give him credit for that.”
The Bears returned to work at Halas Hall on Monday in preparation for their game against the Lions (7-2) at Soldier Field. Chicago has three NFC North games remaining, including two against Detroit.
Though his team now stands at 3-6, Hicks isn’t losing any faith in what can still be accomplished.
“I would say that there’s still a good number of games to play,” Hicks said. “I don’t see anybody packing their bags. I would say that everything we hope to achieve is still very reachable. We just got to put in the effort.”
For the Bears, it’s about moving on from the loss to the Packers and getting re-focused to play the Lions.
“Another division opponent,” Hicks said. “You got to be able to attack them and really get after them. Look for a different outcome than we had this last weekend. Two times we play them. It means a lot for our division. We just got to go out and execute.”