By Chris Emma–
SOLDIER FIELD (CBS) — Charles Woodson has moved on, but his words seem to echo each time the Bears and Packers meet.
Same old Jay
As the Bears’ starting quarterback, Jay Cutler is now 1-9 against the Green Bay Packers after a 38-17 loss Sunday at Solider Field. That talented arm seems more prone for mistakes each time the rivals meet. Sunday’s loss was no different than the previous nine.
Cutler threw two costly interceptions and made critical mistakes that kept Chicago from flipping the script on its recent history with Green Bay.
“(Cutler) gave us some opportunities today,” Packers cornerback Sam Shields said. “That’s what we need — opportunities we have to come up with and take advantage of.”
It all seems familiar from games past. In the waning seconds of the first half with his team out of timeouts, Cutler connected with Martellus Bennett just shy of the end zone, and time expired without a Bears score. The second half saw more critical miscues, namely Clay Matthews’ interception in which Tramon Williams had jumped the slant route, causing a deflection to the linebacker.
“It was obviously a very disappointing turnover for a lot of reasons,” Cutler said.
Later, Cutler followed that pick with another one, as Brandon Marshall ran the wrong route and Cutler’s pass floated to the hands of Shields, with no blue jersey in sight.
“That was a miscommunication between Jay and Brandon,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said.
These are the things that happen to Cutler far too often against the Packers. Misfortunes seem awfully common when the rivals meet.
Same old Jay reared its ugly head once again.
Where the tide turned
There was the good, followed by the bad.
With the Bears driving in the red zone in the second quarter, Alshon Jeffery came across in motion, appearing to set up an end-around. Then, he stopped momentum and reversed speed the other direction at the snap.
The receiver was wide open for an easy score on a swing pass.
“You guys could’ve thrown that one in there,” Cutler joked to the media after the game.
It was a brilliant play call from Trestman, one taken from the St. Louis Rams. The Packers just weren’t ready for it.
The Bears recognized man coverage before the snap, required for the play to function. After that, it was just about execution.
“Alshon did a great job of selling it,” Cutler said. “We got it called and caught man, finally. They didn’t play a lot of man today. It was a great call, great execution by Alshon.”
Credit goes to Trestman for pulling it off, but the memory was quickly erased after a questionable decision that would follow.
Chicago lined up to kick it deep, but Robbie Gould instead offered an onside kick. The ball somehow managed to escape the Bears, giving Green Bay great field position that it would later take advantage of.
Trestman’s gamble seemed to swing momentum in favor of the Packers, who didn’t allow another Bears score.
“We thought we had a really good play,” Trestman said. “We knew when we were going to do it and why we were going to do it. We didn’t get it done.”
Perhaps the day’s result would’ve been a bit different had the Bears booted it deep or scooped up the bouncing football. That’s the risk Trestman was willing to take. It backfired and proved to be costly.
Allen’s status still uncertain
When general manager Phil Emery revamped the Bears’ defensive line, bad memories of Chicago’s season-ending loss to Green Bay last season had to be fresh on his mind.
The Bears pass rush faltered again Sunday, when it was without one of the most notable offseason additions. Jared Allen was nowhere to be seen at Soldier Field after a week of missing practice with an illness.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported before kickoff that Allen is suffering from pneumonia and has lost 18 pounds. Asked about Allen’s status after the game, Trestman declined to elaborate.
“I’ll say this — Jared has been sick this week,” Trestman said. “I want to lave it at that. I dont’ think it goes any farther than that. I think I’ll just leave it as where we had it. He was not well this week. He is getting better, but the doctors and trainers determined he was unable to play.”
Chicago’s defense struggled tremendously, failing to even hit Rodgers once. Willie Young is an adequate replacement for Allen, but the front four still faltered.
“Jared is a big part of what we do,” linebacker Lance Briggs said.
Trestman described Allen’s status as “day-to-day” and plans to offer further updates during the week. When asked if the illness could last longer than that, the coach stood firm on keeping the news quiet.
“I would certainly hope not,” Trestman replied.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.