GREEN BAY, Wis. — For the second straight game the Bears’ offense got off to a disjointed, ineffective start.
This time it never got any better in a pathetic, demoralizing offensive performance that resulted in a 23-10 loss to the Packers that left both NFC North foes at 1-1.
Quarterback Jay Cutler threw 4 interceptions and completed just 11 of 27 passes for 126 yards while being sacked seven times and finishing with a 28.2 passer rating, statistically the second-worst career performance of his seven-year career.
Cutler was bad, but so were his teammates. He lambasted his offensive linemen during the game and then afterward, when he was asked about it.
“I care about this,” Cutler said. “This isn’t just a hobby for me. I’m not doing this for my health. I’m trying to win football games; I’m trying to get first downs.
“When we’re not doing the little things consistently the right way, I’m going to say something. If they want a quarterback that doesn’t care, they can get somebody else.”
Even when the attack finally got moving on the first possession of the second half, there ultimately was disappointment.
Brandon Marshall, a nonfactor who was blanketed most of the night by Tramon Williams, dropped a perfectly thrown pass all alone in the end zone after Williams slipped to the turf 20 yards up the field.
The Bears settled for Robbie Gould’s 45-yard field goal, leaving them trailing 13-3.
Any chance at momentum ended on the ensuing possession with Cutler’s second interception. He threw late over the middle and was picked off by 15-year veteran Charles Woodson.
Coach Lovie Smith spread the blame around on a group that generated a puny 168 yards of total offense against a Packers defense that allowed more yards than any team in the NFL last season. The Bears’ longest run of the night was a 12-yard scamper by Cutler.
“It’s hard to get to that next step until you have enough time to see if you’re making the right decision,” Smith said of Cutler’s struggles. “He didn’t have a lot of time. I think it’s safe to say that.
“It’s a combination of everything. We didn’t have good enough protection, probably made a couple bad decisions, receivers didn’t get open as much as we needed to. We didn’t get the running game going to help the passing game. All of those things didn’t work for us.”
Even when cornerback Charles Tillman came up with a huge individual effort late in the third quarter, the Bears’ offense couldn’t take advantage. Tillman stripped Jermichael Finley and recovered the fumble at the Bears’ 20, but the offense went three-and-out.
After being held to zero net yards of offense in the first quarter, the Bears got a spark from Devin Hester’s 39-yard kickoff return early in the second.
Four Michael Bush runs produced 16 yards and a 10-yard completion from Cutler to Earl Bennett got the Bears to the Packers’ 37, their deepest penetration of the night.
But on the next snap, right tackle Gabe Carimi drew a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for shoving Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk in the back after the play.
On the next play, Packers sackmaster Clay Matthews blew past Bears left tackle J’Marcus Webb to drop Cutler for a 7-yard loss. Matthews had 3 of the Packers’ 7 sacks.
That led to a 69-yard Packers drive that appeared destined to end with a 45-yard FG attempt. But a fake field goal resulted in a Packers TD, when holder Tim Masthay caught the snap and flipped the ball to Tom Crabtree just to his left.
The tight end sprinted untouched through the end zone and into a Lambeau Leap for a 10-0 lead with 1:50 left in the first half.
A Cutler interception, thrown off his back foot and intended for Bennett, closed out a miserable first half of offensive Bears football (47 total yards). It also led to a 35-yard Mason Crosby field goal and a 13-0 Packers lead as time expired.
Fortunately the Bears’ defense was able to keep quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ offense at bay for a while.
The Bears sacked Rodgers five times and limited the Packers to 321 total yards and 215 passing yards, but that wasn’t nearly enough to offset a dysfunctional offense.
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