Lions bring out worst in Bears, Cutler

Marc Trestman is a realist.

If you’re sure of nothing else about him at this point, you can be certain of that.

And the Bears head coach tried to warn everyone last week that the Bears’ 3-0 start suggested little beyond their ability to find a way to survive the first three games.

“Past performance is no indication of future success,” Trestman said a few days ago. “It can’t be.”

In this case, it certainly wasn’t.

It’s not as though Trestman knew the Bears were in for a beating Sunday in Detroit, but he can watch film and he knew the Bears were fortunate to be 3-0.

So maybe he wasn’t shocked that all the good luck of the first few games disappeared Sunday and just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong for the Bears at Ford Field.

“No. 1, it’s about turnovers,” Trestman said. “We lost the ball four times. That really hurt us. Third down offensively really hurt us. All that makes it tough on the defense, which doesn’t get a chance to rest between series.”

Jay Cutler tasted adversity for the first time this year, and he spit it up, revealing Bad Jay in a big way. So if Trestman was looking for a coaching opportunity and the chance to get Cutler’s attention, he’s got plenty of video evidence to work with this week.

“I have to see how my footwork was and see if I was where I want to be,” said Cutler, who had 3 picks. “It wasn’t anything mental. I just missed throws.”

Trestman seemed confident, without seeing tape, that he already knew the answer.

“Second (interception) was an underthrow. He just didn’t get his feet set,” Trestman said. “The third (interception) he didn’t set his feet and threw the ball high. We had a wide-open player down the middle.”

The list of bad Bears performances was long, but you could probably sum up the day with one third-down sequence.

The Bears were already 0-for-7 on third down midway through the third quarter but trailing by only 14 points when they were third-and-8 from their own 32.

Cutler hit Earl Bennett for 27 yards to the Detroit 41 and the Bears were in business with a chance to cut the lead to 7 points. But rookie Kyle Long, who had a tough day against an imposing Detroit defensive line, was called for hands to the face and that took away a big gain.

On third-and-18, Cutler was pressured again, stepped up and found Alshon Jeffery wide open for the first down, but Cutler overthrew his receiver by 5 yards and the ball was picked off.

That was the Bears’ last legitimate chance to get back in the game. A few minutes later, Cutler held the ball too long again, was stripped by Ndamukong Suh, and Nick Fairley ran the fumble in for a 37-16 lead.

At that point, Cutler had suffered 3 sacks, 3 interceptions and a lost fumble against Detroit, after suffering 3 sacks, 3 interceptions and a lost fumble in the first three games combined.

“The second (interception), I underthrew (Brandon Marshall), and the third I overthrew Alshon (Jeffery),” Cutler said. “Ball’s going where it’s supposed to go. Just missed it. Gotta do better to give us a chance.

“I have to limit my turnovers. Two balls got away from me. I felt good about my decisions, but I have to play better. It’s hard to win with turnovers on offense like that.”

With new staff, personnel and schemes, there figured to be growing pains this season, and Sunday’s game featured them all.

Offensively, they were terrible on third down and in the red zone, committed penalties, dropped passes, took sacks and threw interceptions.

Defense and special teams also made plenty of mistakes, but the offense — specifically Cutler — was by far the worst offender.

“It boils down to my turnovers,” Cutler said. “I’ve gotta play better to get this offense up off the ground and playing the way we want to play and help the defense out as well.”

There was no point Sunday when the Bears looked like the better team, not even early when the Bears had a 10-6 lead. Detroit was settling for field goals, and you knew that wasn’t going to continue all day, especially with Charles Tillman hurting and the Bears’ defense on its heels.

“We didn’t do well on first or second down defensively, which allowed them to gain possession of the clock,” said Trestman, aware that the Lions had 11 first-down rushes for 118 yards in the first half.

“Offensively, we weren’t good at all on third down (1-for-13), and then when we got to the red zone we were limited with field goals.

“We lost this game as a team. It starts with me. You don’t win or lose as separate entities. We lost in all three phases today. We’ll get back to work tomorrow and we’ll get better this week.”

So the Bears got their helmets handed to them by the Lions (3-1) on Sunday, but they’re 3-1 and New Orleans comes in next week after a Monday night game and a short week.

Yeah, these are the growing pains that were expected when the season began.

Now, the Bears have a week to grow or there will certainly be more pain.

ŸHear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

Images: Bears vs. Lions

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