Noise, penalties hound Bears’ offensive line
By Mark Potash firstname.lastname@example.org October 11, 2011 12:30AM
Jay Cutler, Cliff Avril
Updated: December 10, 2011 1:34AM
DETROIT — Six false starts in one half? Three timeouts in one quarter? Are the Bears ever going to get their act together?
With a chance to show progress from their last episode in a domed stadium, the Bears looked as discombobulated as ever in a 24-13 loss to the Detroit Lions on Monday night at Ford Field. Only the resourcefulness of quarterback Jay Cutler and some timely runs by Matt Forte kept them in it as long as they were.
‘‘We just couldn’t play well,’’ Bears center Roberto Garza said. ‘‘We each took turns. There were a lot of breakdowns today. It can’t happen against a good football team.’’
The Bears’ offense was called for eight false-start penalties — three by left tackle J’Marcus Webb — and one holding penalty. On the team’s first third-and-one play, Cutler was sacked for a four-yard loss but was bailed out by a facemask penalty. On its next third-and-one, Ndamukong Suh stopped Forte for no gain. On fourth-and-one, Suh stopped Forte for no gain again.
And that was just in the first quarter.
‘‘We know we’re better than that,’’ said right guard Lance Louis, who started in place of Chris Spencer. ‘‘It was loud out there. But to have that many penalties, we just have to go back and work on our stuff.’’
‘‘I don’t know [what the problem was. Too many breakdowns,’’ Garza said. ‘‘We have to watch the film and go from there. The noise was an issue, all the false starts. Not executing . . .’’
The Bears were unsettled from the start. With the capacity crowd at a fever pitch, tight end Kellen Davis was called for a false start on their first offensive play from scrimmage. Chris Williams was called for a false start two plays later. J’Marcus Webb was called for a false start on the next play.
‘‘We knew coming in it was going to be loud,’’ said Garza, who was not called for a false start but was called for holding in the second half. ‘‘Obviously we didn’t adjust to it. It’s an issue. It’s part of playing in the NFL. We have to adjust to it . . . do a lot better job than we did.’’
One series of plays in particular illustrated the Bears’ difficulty. After an encroachment penalty on the Lions’ Cliff Avril gave the Bears third-and-one at the Lions’ 26-yard line late in the first quarter, Forte was stopped by Suh for no gain and the Bears called a timeout to avoid a delay-of-game penalty.
After the timeout, the fourth-and-one play failed when Suh beat Frank Omiyale to tackle Forte for no gain. The Bears compounded the problem by challenging the spot of the ball. They lost the challenge, possession of the ball and their final timeout with six seconds left in the first quarter.
‘‘He just beat me off the snap,’’ Omiyale said. ‘‘Once he got in there, I couldn’t take him over. He did get me.’’
It was that kind of night for the Bears. And it has been that kind of season.
‘‘We knew what it was going to be like coming in,’’ said Omiyale, who had one false start. ‘‘I myself have to do a better job of handling crowd noise and different situations. I just want to be there for my teammates when my number’s called. I definitely fell short of that today.’’
‘‘Anytime you lose, it’s a disappointment. We put in a lot of work. When you don’t get the results you want, it is hard. I definitely have to look at myself and where I’m at right now. I have to dig deep and get better.’’