Rozner: For next act, Bears' defense vanishes

If you had told the Bears before the season that they'd be 2-2 after four games, they would have taken it.

But if you had told the Bears before the season how they'd be 2-2 after four games, they wouldn't have believed it.

The Bears have now won two games on the road in prime time against top NFL defenses and lost twice at home, opening against Buffalo - 6-10 a year ago - and now losing to a Green Bay team that came in 1-2 and had done virtually nothing right for three weeks.

Welcome to the NFL.

"That was certainly a disappointing loss for us," said coach Marc Trestman. "It was a home game and a divisional opponent and we certainly didn't do enough to get it done."

Here's what the Bears did well in their 38-17 loss to the Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field: They ran the football against one of the worst rush defenses in the league, and stopped the run against one of the worst rushing games in the league.

Here's what they did wrong: pretty much everything else.

And while the city will light its collective hair on fire and focus much of this week on Jay Cutler and his struggles against Green Bay, the real problem continues to be the defense.

Granted, they were missing Jared Allen, Jeremiah Ratliff and Charles Tillman, but Aaron Rodgers and the Packers scored touchdowns on five of their first six possessions and got points on every possession of the game except the last, when the Bears blocked a field goal.

"He's the best quarterback in the league and it was their day today," said linebacker Lance Briggs. "We couldn't get to him."

It was a clinic. Rodgers was 22-of-28 passing for 302 yards, 4 TDs, a QB rating of 151.2 and was never touched in the backfield.

"Any time you give a quarterback that much time, he's going to pick you apart," said corner Tim Jennings. "We have to play better on the back end and the front end and all areas.

"We have to get the QB moving around and thinking and make him make throws he doesn't want to throw."

The Bears did get Rodgers moving a few times, but he simply bought himself some time and then found wide-open receivers.

"No, we didn't blitz much," Briggs said when asked about bringing more up front. "(Rodgers) was able to pat the ball and look a few different ways and find someone."

Rodgers doesn't have the weapons he once did, but when he's got all day to sit in the pocket, or use his feet to extend a play, he's going to find a player wearing the same jersey.

"Even though their struggles were well documented, you knew it wouldn't last," said safety Ryan Mundy. "Rodgers is so consistent. This league is about consistency and execution."

Rodgers executed and the Bears' defense was consistently late, but nearly all the blame goes to the pass rush, which was nonexistent against an offensive line that had been awful for three weeks.

"Guys were trying to make plays, trying to do too much, and we lacked discipline," said safety Chris Conte. "I guessed wrong on one and we paid for it."

The Bears ran it for 235 yards and piled up nearly 500 yards of total offense, but any possession that didn't result in a touchdown, combined with penalties and coaching mistakes, meant big trouble.

Twice the Packers extended drives with Bears' flags. After the failed onside kick before the half, the Packers outscored the Bears 24-0 the rest of the way. And the worst play of the game was Cutler's throw to Martellus Bennett at the half-yard line with no timeouts and a couple ticks on the clock to end the first half, when the Bears were down 4 and gave away at least 3.

"I liked the play. I liked the throw," said Cutler, who had 2 picks to go along with 2 TDs and 256 yards. "Defender made a great play to keep him out."

All of it remains irrelevant if the Bears allow good quarterbacks to do what Rodgers was able to do Sunday.

"I just know it's a long season," Rodgers said of his plea to Packers fans to relax last week. "There's always going to be freak-outs along the way. We just have to stick together and stay the course."

Bears defenders are thinking the same thing, knowing that Super Bowl talk follows every Bears victory and hysteria accompanies every defeat.

"That's typical. We understand," said Willie Young. "I'm not surprised when we have people taking shots at us. Everyone jumps on board after the next win."

The good news is the Bears get to go back on the road, where they're undefeated, and face a struggling QB in Cam Newton without his two best running backs and a Panthers team that has lost the last two games by a combined 44 points.

"This is football. You're gonna have ups and downs," Briggs said. "The key is to have more ups than downs."

Their record says they've had an equal number of both.

But as long as they get absolutely zero pressure on the quarterback, their words - and your eyes - will tell a very different story.

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

  Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had all kinds of time to throw during the Bears' 38-17 loss Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Steve Lundy/
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