Bears dismiss terrible loss after Trestman barely acknowledges it
BY RICK MORRISSEY Sports Columnist December 23, 2013 8:20PM
- Pitiful performance by the defense puts coordinator Mel Tucker on the hot seat
- LB Lance Briggs’ return was as bad as it looked
- Special teams’ gaffes helped put Bears in early hole
- Jay Cutler won’t speculate whether game against Packers could be his Bears’ swan song
- VIDEO: Fox Sports’ Brian Billick: Should Jay Cutler be benched in Week 17?
- VIDEO: Fox Sports’ Brian Billick: Should GB QB Aaron Rodgers start against Bears?
- Aaron Rodgers: Will he or won’t he play against Bears?
Updated: January 25, 2014 6:25AM
The Bears didn’t seem to follow any of coach Marc Trestman’s instructions during a brutal 54-11 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles, but they did embrace every word he said after the game.
For the life of me, I don’t know whether the latter part is good or bad.
The Bears set a land-speed record after the game for buying into a coach’s motivational angle. No sooner were the doors to the locker room opened to the media than players began repeating what Trestman had told them during his postgame speech.
What is this, high school?
‘‘As I told the guys, I want them to get home, appreciate Christmas, spend some time with their families and get themselves ready to go,’’ Trestman told reporters. ‘‘We’ll throw this tape in the trash can.’’
‘‘Pretty much we’ve got to throw this in the garbage,’’ kick returner Devin Hester said. ‘‘Enjoy Christmas and not even look at this film. This was a horrible game for us.’’
‘‘Forget about what happened,’’ running back Matt Forte said. ‘‘Throw this game away. Throw it in the trash and start studying Green Bay.’’
If you happen to find a DVD or a flash drive of the game in your garbage can, you’ll know how it got there.
Again, if I hadn’t known better, I would have thought I was dealing with Rural Consolidated School District 123. The players weren’t just on the same page with Trestman; they were on the same sentence.
Just wondering: There wasn’t one Bears player who thought, ‘‘The way we played tonight, we really have no business even thinking about the playoffs’’?
Apparently not. Instead, there were people sitting cross-legged in a circle who very much wanted to point out that the Eagles had lost 48-30 to the Minnesota Vikings the week before regrouping against the Bears. Message: We can put a similar beating on the Packers on Sunday at Soldier Field!
‘‘As I told our guys, we played a team that had 48 scored on them last week,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘We saw
the team that was able to show up.’’
‘‘Look at these guys in Minnesota last week,’’ quarterback Jay Cutler said. ‘‘They had a similar game that we had [Sunday] and came back and bounced back pretty well.’’
‘‘Same thing happened to them up in Minnesota, and they moved on,’’ safety Craig Steltz said. ‘‘They moved on from a tough loss last week and came out ready to play this week.’’
I never have seen a team so hungrily devour what a coach has thrown to them. The only other people who stay this much on message are the ones who address each other as ‘‘comrade.’’
As far as I can tell, not one Bear said, ‘‘We all need to look in the mirror after a game like this.’’ I didn’t see anger from anyone. How is that possible after such a beatdown?
The Bears could have won the NFC North with a victory. The Packers and Detroit Lions had lost earlier in the day. Instead, they got blown out with nary a discouraging word heard afterward.
The Coaching 101 tactic is obvious: The Bears still can win the division with a victory against the Packers, so why dwell on the immediate, painful past? But to dismiss the game against the Eagles as though it never happened, is that realistic? If you say something didn’t happen, does that mean it didn’t?
The tree falling in the forest was the Bears. And it made a thud everyone heard.
The anger boiling over in Chicago after the loss might be just ‘‘noise,’’ as Trestman refers to fan and media chatter, but it’s real. The defense gave up 289 rushing yards, and everybody is supposed to forget it. By the way, do all those yards mean we should question linebacker Lance Briggs’ heart, the way he did his defensive teammates’ hearts after they allowed 258 rushing yards against the Rams while he was sidelined?
This isn’t an issue of heart; it never was. It’s an issue of a mediocre defense getting hit with a boatload of injuries.
The Bears can lose to the Packers whether Matt Flynn or Aaron Rodgers is playing quarterback for them. A loss such as the one Sunday proved it.
I’m sorry. Did I mention a loss?
‘‘It’s done; it’s over with,’’ Cutler said. ‘‘I’m on to Green Bay. This game’s wiped clean. I think the rest of the locker room [feels] the same way.’’
Yeah, we know. But is that the right response?