By Chris Emma-
CHICAGO (CBS) — When the Bears last walked off Soldier Field prior to Monday night, they were fresh off a loss to the Cowboys, quarterback Jay Cutler was left hanging his head and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer sought out the NFL Network reporter Ian Rapaport to vent.
A week at Halas Hall that coach Marc Trestman described as “excellent” ensued, with Kromer’s tearful apology and outing of himself as Rapaport’s anonymous source followed by harsh questions for Kromer, Cutler and Trestman. Plus, there was an attempt to prepare for the New Orleans Saints.
That last part didn’t work out so well.
On Monday, Cutler’s poor play — the worst, by his 55.8 quarterback rating, in two seasons under Trestman and Kromer — was just a blip in the Bears’ latest national embarrassment, a 31-15 loss to the Saints. He went 17-of-31 for just 194 yards and had three interceptions.
“I have to play better,” Cutler said in a brief postgame media session.
Only three questions came to Cutler from one of three reporters in the room for his presser. A miscommunication between the Bears and the media led to local reporters missing Cutler’s availability. With the inquiring reporter having nothing more to ask, Cutler left the podium.
Really, what more was there to say?
The Bears managed just 278 yards against the Saints’ 31st-ranked defense. Cutler was sacked seven times and struggled to move the football when he was upright. The offensive line did him few favors.
“We never got going offensively,” Bears center Roberto Garza said.
Trestman claimed that the distractions from Kromer didn’t cause the poor play. But the Bears had several mental mistakes that showed a lack of preparation offensively, namely costly penalties.
The Bears’ offensive woes start with Cutler, the target of Kromer’s harsh claims, and resonated throughout the entire unit. It’s the same look Chicago has shown throughout much of this 5-9 season.
“You get to a point where you don’t have the answer,” Cutler said. “I think that’s where we’re at.”
Bennett: Passion missing
In a locker room often filled with rhetoric, tight end Martellus Bennett is a breath of fresh air. He says what’s on his mind.
Now in his second season with Chicago, Bennett is frustrated with many of his teammates who don’t seem to care.
“We need passion in certain places,” Bennett said. “I don’t think the passion is always there. Overall, I think we just haven’t been there.”
Who’s missing the passion? Bennett didn’t want to name names — another controversy is the last thing the Bears need — but he certainly believes the team isn’t playing as one.
“They know who they are,” Bennett said.
Speaking before Bennett’s claims, Trestman seemed to suggest otherwise.
“I felt they finished the game and played as hard as they could,” Trestman said.
Dissecting the failed fake
Trestman wanted to roll the dice. Instead, he exposed what little control his coaches seem to have.
On a fourth-and-3 early in the second quarter, Trestman elected for a fake punt. It failed in more ways than one. The Bears had just 10 players on the field, which was penalized for being an illegal formation, and Danny McCray was hit just shy of the first-down marker.
“I’m not going to go through the litany of all that,” Trestman said. “(Reporters) have a right to ask the question, but it’s really simple. We should have had 11 players, but we had 10. I’m responsible for that.”
McCray was aware of how the Bears were short a man but declined to say which player was missing. Chicago’s coaches were evidently not aware of the error. The Bears could’ve salvaged the play by taking a timeout or even attempting to draw the Saints offside and take a delay of game penalty, but they instead ran the fake and gave New Orleans prime territory at the Chicago 41-yard line.
“We probably should’ve just taken the delay,” McCray said. “We shouldn’t have snapped it.”
Chicago’s defense would hold, and the Bears got the ball back three-and-a-half minutes later. However, had the fake been successful, a drive could have continued in an attempt to tie the game.
This was just one of many mistakes in another laughable loss.
Follow Chris on Twitter @CEmma670.