Bears experienced similar situation in ’11, bounced back
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org September 14, 2012 9:48PM
Jay Cutler also was roughed up in Week 2 last season, but he recovered to win six of the next eight games. | AP
Updated: October 16, 2012 6:13AM
Brian Urlacher told it like it was after the Bears were outsmarted and outplayed in a 23-10 loss Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
‘‘Maybe we’re not as good as we thought we were,’’ Urlacher said. ‘‘We’ve got a long ways to go, and that’s obvious. Maybe Green Bay is just that good — I don’t know. But we didn’t play well, and they played good enough to do what they did to us.’’
The Bears and Jay Cutler were skewered by fans, media and critics from coast to coast after the nationally televised debacle. But while there was no defending the discouraging performance, they could take legitimate solace in one factor: They’ve been here before.
Last year, in fact — when the Bears arguably laid an even bigger egg in a 30-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome in Week 2 after an impressive 30-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in their opener. Cutler was sacked six times in that one and could barely speak after being kicked in the throat in one late-game onslaught.
The Bears recovered to win six of their next eight games, including five in a row to give them a 7-3 record with six games to go. Their season was doomed only after Cutler suffered a broken thumb.
‘‘Disappointing effort,’’ coach Lovie Smith said. ‘‘I thought we would play better in a lot of different areas. We know it’s always tough coming up [to Lambeau Field]. We are better than we showed. All three phases ... didn’t play well enough.
‘‘As disappointed as we are, we are 1-1. This counts as one loss.’’
It might have been more costly than that. Running back Matt Forte suffered what could be a high ankle sprain early in the third quarter and could miss two to six weeks. But after losing to the Saints last year, the Bears lost right tackle Gabe Carimi for the season with a partially dislocated kneecap and wide receiver Earl Bennett for five games with what they said was a chest bruise.
Carimi had a costly personal-foul penalty against Green Bay that stunted a promising early drive. But he was still standing at the end. He acknowledged his culpability for the ‘‘stupid’’ play.
‘‘That hurt the team a lot, and that is all on me,’’ Carimi said. ‘‘It was a stupid penalty, and I need to learn from my mistakes.’’
He has a lot of company in that regard. The Bears committed eight penalties, threw four interceptions and gave up seven sacks. They were burned by a fake field goal that tight end Tom Crabtree turned into a 27-yard touchdown on a fourth-and-26 play that gave the Packers a 10-0 lead.
But after playing poorly with three days between games, the Bears have 10 days before facing the St. Louis Rams on Sept. 23 at Soldier Field. The loss to the Packers wasn’t pretty, but the Bears have time to prove Urlacher’s assessment wrong.
‘‘We’re definitely as good as we think we are, but offensively we have to do a better job,’’ said wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who didn’t even have a ball thrown his way in the first half and finished with two receptions for 24 yards. ‘‘They’re a great team. They won the Super Bowl two years ago. So it’s going to take more than just walking on the field to dethrone them.’’