Bears’ offense has something to prove, too
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter December 26, 2013 9:36PM
The Bears’ offense gained 257 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per play — both season lows — against the Eagles. | Michael Perez/AP
Updated: January 28, 2014 6:29AM
The Bears’ defense has been on the spot just about every week this season. This week, it has company.
Coach Marc Trestman’s offense, a revelation for most of the season and ranked as high as seventh in the NFL, also has some atoning to do.
While it hardly was the biggest culprit in the Bears’ 54-11 loss Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles, the offense played a key role in the rout with two three-and-outs to open the game as the team fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter. The Bears’ 257 yards and 4.1 yards per play were season lows, and their five sacks allowed were a season high.
And it came against an Eagles defense that was ranked 30th in the NFL in total yards, 19th in yards per play and 26th in sacks.
‘‘It’s no secret we [played terribly],’’ guard Kyle Long said. ‘‘You feel like you let the team down when you’re not doing the things that have come to be expected of us. So it’ll be a great opportunity for us to bounce back. We all understand this is it for us. The playoffs start this Sunday. Gotta win to stay alive. So we’ve got to really hunker down and focus on the things we’ve got to focus on.’’
By now, nobody is expecting miracles from the Bears’ beleaguered defense, which is ranked 29th in total yards and 32nd against the run. The big improvement is expected to come on offense against a Green Bay Packers defense that ranks 26th in total yards (374 yards per game).
The offense found itself in a bind with the 21-0 deficit in the first quarter, but coordinator Aaron Kromer and Trestman acknowledged there were fundamental issues against the Eagles — mostly, it appears, stemming from technique and focus. Trestman and Kromer aren’t cracking the whip this week, just reaffirming the attention to detail that got the Bears where they are.
‘‘You just talk [to the players] about . . . the technique you missed or the assignment you missed,’’ Kromer said. ‘‘When you miss them early in a game, it can snowball on you quickly, and that’s what happened. We’re moving on from that and understanding what went wrong.
‘‘It was kind of a perfect storm. It happens to people every year. It happens to the best teams; it happens to the worst teams. But you learn from it, put it behind you and move on to the next play, just like the next game.’’
With Josh McCown at quarterback, the Bears gained 442 yards — 171 rushing and 271 passing — against the Packers in a 27-20 victory Nov. 4 at Lambeau Field.
‘‘We feel, as an offense, when we go on the field, we should score,’’ Kromer said. ‘‘So whether somebody expects it or doesn’t, we know we do not expect three-and-outs. We expect to drive the football and get a touchdown or a field goal. That’s the expectation of a good offense.’’