Fingers of blame point everywhere in ugly loss by Bears
BY ADAM L. JAHNS Staff Reporter December 22, 2013 11:09PM
Updated: January 24, 2014 6:34AM
PHILADELPHIA — It was supposed to be a shootout, a prime-time explosion of touchdowns, field goals and big plays courtesy of two of the best offenses in the league.
Instead, everyone witnessed a drubbing.
The expected scoring show at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday night turned into a methodical 54-11 beatdown of the Bears by the non-stop Philadelphia Eagles. It was a dreadful time for a letdown by coach Marc Trestman’s vaunted offense. The Eagles’ hammering of the Bears gave the rival Green Bay Packers new life, setting up a NFC North deciding game for next Sunday.
“I don’t think we’ll study this much,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “There’s not much to study. We got beat down.”
The Bears’ defense is a struggling, porous bunch that has been torched a ton the last several weeks. What the Bears needed to do against the Eagles was use their offense as their best defense. Didn’t happen.
The Bears had two first-quarter three-and-outs that sandwiched kick returner Devin Hester’s ill-timed fumble. A four-play possession and punt that carried over into the second quarter was just as ugly. Even when the Bears were on the move they ended up going backward. Consecutive sacks of Cutler by linebackers Trent Cole and Mychal Kendricks were devastating losses of nine yards each and nixed a solid drive.
It was all part of an ugly day for Cutler, who was knocked back into last season thanks to a season-worst five sacks.
Cutler said falling into a 21-0 hole forced them into “street ball” in which they were “trying to climb back in the game passing the ball.” All it did was allow the Eagles to tee off against the Bears’ offensive line with stunts and blitzes.
“We played a terrible a football game,” Trestman said. “I’m not going to use any other word other than that. We were terrible in all three phases.”
But it’s the failures of the Bears’ offense against the Eagles’ 30th ranked defense that really stings. Running just nine offensive plays in the first quarter against a team that hurries the world up to run as many plays as possible is asking for problems.
How bad was it?
Start with the five sacks of Cutler (20-for-35, 222 yards, touchdown) and include nickel back Brandon Boykin’s interception and 54-yard return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Brandon Marshall’s four catches on nine targets for 36 yards. There’s the five carries Matt Forte had through three quarters and defensive end Cedric Thornton tackling Forte in the end zone for a safety.
“Nothing really happened on our side of it,” Trestman said.
The Eagles did what was expected. Quarterback Nick Foles (21 of 25 passes, two touchdowns, a 131.7 passer rating) was lethally efficient, while running back LeSean McCoy (18 carries, 133 yards, two TDs) was unstoppable.
In the fourth quarter, the Eagles sent in their offensive backups, and so did the Bears. It’s the only thing their offenses had in common.