By Laurence Holmes–

(CBS) So, now that we all — myself included — have given the Bears their participation ribbon for Sunday’s game, perhaps we can now talk about some ugly truths on why they lost.

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There’s no doubt that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a magician and showed why in a 31-23 win Sunday. The good news is that the Bears forced him into incredible improvisational plays. At times, it looked like Rodgers was doing his version of “And 1 Mixtape.” He used a jumpshot pass that still somehow had touch. I was just waiting for him to go behind his back. Maybe he’s saving that for Thanksgiving.

The bad news is that the Bears recorded no sacks. In fact, they really didn’t get that close. In the final defensive statistics, the Bears recorded zero quarterback hits. So outside of the sliding Rodgers did when he escaped the pocket, the Bears didn’t force him to get his uniform dirty.

On third down, the Bears couldn’t get off the field. This is how bad it was. Rodgers completed 71 percent of his passes, converting three first downs. He also rushed for 14 yards on two carries and converted another two first downs. Even distance didn’t bother him. When Chicago put Green Bay in third-and-7 or longer, Rodgers went 11-for-13 for 123 yards and a touchdown with a rating of 105-plus. Third-and-long is what every defensive coordinator dreams about, and it didn’t matter at all because the pressure never got home.

I thought Bears linebacker Jared Allen looked decent in the run game, setting the edge a couple of times to force Eddie Lacy back inside. The problem is that neither he nor fellow linebacker Pernell McPhee produced enough effective pressure to bother Rodgers. This is best illustrated by soul-crushing 16-play, 78-yard drive the Packers put together that ate up big chunks of the third and fourth quarters (9:31).

To their credit, the Bears put up long drives of their own. In fact, they had five drives that were nine plays or more. Their run game was outstanding, as Matt Forte averaged almost six yards a carry. That makes it even more befuddling that with four shots from inside the 6-yard line in a crucial fourth-quarter sequence while trailing by eight, the Bears didn’t once think to run.

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I’ll give coach John Fox credit — he owned this.

“At that point in the game, you have to be fairly aggressive,” he said. “It had to work that way. We didn’t get any points, and I realize that. But we did get real good field position. We had to get a stop defensively. All this stuff is great after the fact, but you have to have those things happen. I would do the same thing again, if that’s what you’re asking me.”

It’s hard to fault a coach for being aggressive in that situation, but I did find myself wondering if taking the three points was the better strategy. And if you are going to go for the touchdown, toss a run in there. The Bears spent most of the game taking the ball out of Jay Cutler’s hands ,and it was successful — but when it was winning time, they put the game on his shoulders.

I don’t need to tell you the difference between Rodgers and Cutler, but it was front and center in the fourth quarter. On the all-pass goal-line series, Cutler missed his targets. And with the game still in doubt and the team down a score, Cutler targeted a streaking Martellus Bennnett, and it was picked off by Clay Matthews, who read the play the entire way.

Cutler’s fourth-quarter numbers: 8-for-15 for 130 yards, one touchdown and one glaring interception.

There’s a lot to work with here for the Bears. I walked away impressed with how offensive coordinator Adam Gase kept perplexing Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers. The team was definitely better coached than what we’ve seen in the last two years, but remember that some of this stuff caught Green Bay by surprise. Fox kept the Bears plans cloaked better than a Romulan battle-cruiser. Arizona gets to use the tape. The Cardinals can work on scheme instead of just knowing the personnel. Keep that in mind before you go buy their next participation ribbon.

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Laurence Holmes hosts the Laurence Holmes Show on 670 The Score and is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Follow him on Twitter @LaurenceWHolmes.