By Dan Durkin-

(CBS) It was likely accidental honesty, but Bears coach Marc Trestman summed up his team’s situation perfectly during Monday’s press conference.

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“The No. 1 thing we’ve got going for us right now is we’re into the bye,” Trestman said.

There’s no doubt about that.

At the midpoint of their season, the the 3-5 Bears are a disappointment, and it’s time to push the reset button.

With an extra week off, the Bears must be honest in their self-scouting if they want to have any hope of salvaging the season. Answers will be hard to come by, as through eight games, troubling patterns have developed and the Bears are still a team without an identity.

Certainly, Sunday’s 51-23 dismantling courtesy of the New England Patriots won’t provide much clarity, as it was a collective collapse in every phase.

By the time the Bears offense ran its first play on the other side of the field — there was 7:05 remaining in the first half — New England had 16 first downs while Chicago had only run 18 offensive plays.

Tom Brady put on a performance better than most collegiate quarterbacks have during their pro days throwing against air. Brady had only five incompletions — three of which were drops — and went a perfect 27-for-27 for 334 yards and five touchdowns when targeting receiver Brandon LaFell and tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Tim Wright.

On special teams, the Bears once again lost the field position battle. A punt was nearly blocked, and a long punt return was surrendered, which set up the Patriots’ second of three touchdowns in a 57-second span. Compounding problems, on the long punt return, the Bears gave away another 10 free yards via a holding penalty.

Given the conscious decision general manager Phil Emery has made to go for youth and speed on special teams — while they aren’t acceptable — the errors are understandable and, in a way, to be expected.

However, the consistently inconsistent play on both offense and defense speaks to systemic failures of personnel, scheme and execution.

The plan against the Patriots was clearly to run the football, both to minimize mistakes from quarterback Jay Cutler — which is a problem in itself — and take advantage of a vulnerable Patriots’ front. However, the hole the team dug derailed this plan, and the Bears were forced to throw the ball to play catch up. With the exception of tight end Martellus Bennett and running back Matt Forte, none of the Bears’ weapons in the passing game made a difference.

The Patriots followed suit from recent Bears’ opponents and played more zone coverage to keep everything underneath, and once again it worked. Darelle Revis and Brandon Browner bottled up Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, limiting them to a combined eight receptions for 94 yards, 22 of which came on a completion from Jimmy Clausen to Jeffery in the waning moments of the game.

The explosive element of the Bears’ passing game has vanished this season.

Marshall and Jeffery aren’t speed receivers. They win matchups with size and leverage but have struggled to consistently gain separation at the top of their routes when challenged in man or matchup-zone looks.

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Moving forward, in order to stretch defenses out vertically, the Bears must deploy a more balanced attack to set up the play-action game, as their receivers aren’t getting down field on their own.

Early on Sunday, Cutler didn’t see the field well. He wasn’t going through his progressions and twice missed a wide-open Jeffery over the middle of the field on plays that would’ve moved the chains.

Cutler was under pressure throughout the game, throwing from muddy pockets. Once again, Cutler made a negative play worse late in the second quarter. Under duress, he attempted to avoid a sack by heaving a basketball-style chest pass, which he fumbled and the Patriots scooped up and scored. Such decisions embody losing football.

The fumble was Cutler’s 11th turnover of the season (his 12th came on an end-of-the-half Hail Mary heave), which have directly led to 44 points for opponents.

The frequency of Cutler’s fundamental lapses in judgement are alarming and may never be coached out of him. Given his pay grade, it’s disturbing that the Bears — for at least two-and-a-half more seasons — may have to devise plans to minimize the negative impact their quarterback can have on games.

While there have been signs all season about the lack of depth and talent in the back seven of the Bears defense, the Patriots left no doubts. For the majority of the game, the Bears played with three undrafted free agents — linebacker Christian Jones and cornerbacks Demontre Hurst and Al Louis-Jean.

In short, the Bears had no chance against Brady.

Injuries have played a role, particularly at linebacker, but no one goes injury-free in the NFL, and thus Emery has to wear a large portion of the Bears’ defensive issues. This team is at least two players short in the secondary — a cornerback and a free safety — and the constant cycle at linebacker has left no continuity at the second level.

Brady was a puppeteer, deftly pulling the strings of the Bears’ young linebackers on play-action plays, creating huge voids in between the underneath and deep passing zones. Eye discipline has been an issue all year for Bears’ linebackers, who aren’t reading their keys — the sets of offensive lineman — and lose their assignment in the process.

Most defensive coordinators devise game plans to make someone other than the opponent’s best player beat them. For the Patriots, that player is Gronkowski. Yet Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker singled up his guys on Gronkowski. Bad idea.

Granted, Gronkowski is freakishly athletic and a matchup nightmare for most defenses, but Tucker’s refusal to double him or call for bracket coverage was inexcusable. Safety Ryan Mundy got the first crack and failed. Then it was Shea McClellin’s turn, and he also failed. Then it was Chris Conte’s turn, who, yep, you guessed it, failed.

Gronkowski beat all three using various skills in his arsenal: length, leverage, size and speed. This comes back to Emery’s decision this offseason to devalue the safety position and prioritize other areas of the defense, despite the fact it’s been a glaring need for years.

Once rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller was removed from the game, Brady targeted Louis-Jean mercilessly. LaFell had his way with Louis-Jean, setting career highs in receptions (11) and yards (124).

Looking ahead, the Bears have multiple matchups with premier quarterbacks and skill position players, all of which are NFC games. From EJ Manuel to Geno Smith to Ryan Tannehill to Aaron Rodgers to Brady, quarterbacks have had their best games of the season against the Bears’ pass defense.

Emery and Trestman are resolute to stay the course. In reality, what other option do they have? They made this mess and are now dealing with the repercussions.

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Dan Durkin covers the Bears for and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.