The Bears' work in progress devolved into a work in regress Sunday afternoon at Detroit.
That was going to happen sometime, but did the Bears have to expose so many flaws in one game?
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The Lions won 40-32, but most of the day it looked more like a 50-22 thumping. Perhaps most discouraging for the Bears was that Detroit didn't exactly play Super Bowl-quality football either.
"We didn't play a perfect game," Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said.
The big matchup was supposed to be Bears cornerback Charles Tillman on Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson, the reputed Megatron.
Even though Tillman surrendered during the third quarter to his ongoing knee and groin ailments, Johnson caught only 4 passes, and the Bears still couldn't stifle the Lions.
If the Lions didn't play all that well this time, what happens if they do in the rematch Nov. 10 in Soldier Field?
"We'll be ready for them next time," Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. "It'll be at our place."
Well, the Bears' hope is that they resume progressing the way they did while starting the season with 3 victories. It's not like they don't know what must improve after a game in which the Lions scored 27 points in the second quarter and led 40-16 in the fourth quarter.
That thing about head coach Marc Trestman being a genius? No, no coach is that on a day when he loses to Detroit's Jim Schwartz.
Cutler has become a consistent quarterback? No, for now he's back to being more like Good Jay-Bad Jay.
The offensive line's new kids on the block are totally NFL-ready? No, this outing was sort of a growing pain in the rear.
The Bears are disciplined? No, it's hard to say that when they lose both the turnover and penalty stats to the traditionally mistake-prone Lions.
Henry Melton won't be missed on the defensive line? Finally, a yes … he will be judging by how Reggie Bush ran up the middle.
Overall, the Bears' first loss of the season is difficult to take, like the first time your spouse cheats on you after you thought he or she was perfect.
Gosh oh mighty, the Bears aren't going to finish the regular season 16-0 and the postseason 19-0. Gosh oh mightier, the way they looked against the Lions they might finish 3-13.
Here's a wild guess: Once the Bears digest this latest performance they'll go on to finish somewhere between those two extremes. Just where remains to be determined the next three months.
Trestman called his first loss as an NFL head coach "a team loss" and included himself among the culprits. Cutler added citing his 4 turnovers, "If I play better it's a different game … I've gotta give us a better chance of winning."
This was the kind of game that crystallizes why the Bears held off on extending Cutler's contract.
Who is this guy, anyway, the quarterback who was so effective for three weeks? Or the one who threw 3 interceptions and committed a fumble that was returned for a touchdown? Or both?
Then there was the matter of the Bears going 0-for-12 on third down before converting their final opportunity. "That starts with me," Trestman said of the need to play-call the offense into more manageable third downs.
So, suddenly the Bears are faced with questions, questions, questions after they previously had answers, answers, answers whenever they needed them.
"We'll go back to work and do the things we need to do," Trestman said.
In other words, the Bears will try to get back to being a work in progress instead of regress.