Bears — well, not Jay Cutler — quick to cite mistakes vs. Packers
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org September 15, 2012 1:08AM
Charles Tillman’s miscues mattered more to him than forcing this fumble Thursday night. | Joe Robbins~Getty Images
Updated: October 17, 2012 6:39AM
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who missed most of the opener with a shin injury, returned Thursday night in classic fashion.
Late in the third quarter against the Green Bay Packers, after Jay Cutler’s second of four interceptions, Tillman forced his 30th career fumble and recovered the ball along the sideline.
After a 23-10 loss to the Packers, though, he cared less about what he did — rebound from injury, create the defense’s first turnover — and more about what he didn’t do.
‘‘We left some plays out there,’’ Tillman said. ‘‘I’ll be the first to admit, there are definitely things I could have done better. I missed a jam a couple of times. I could have been in a better position to make a tackle [on the fake field goal for a touchdown].
‘‘I don’t judge anyone, because I know I screwed up on some plays. An old wise man once told me, ‘When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.’ So when we watch this film, there are definitely some lessons we can learn.’’
Left tackle J’Marcus Webb said he didn’t properly use his hands against Packers Pro Bowl pass rusher Clay Matthews, who had 3½ sacks. Right tackle Gabe Carimi was flagged for unnecessary roughness with the Bears in Packers territory for the first time early in the second quarter. Linebacker Lance Briggs just missed an interception near the end of the first half that would have prevented a field goal. Receiver Brandon Marshall dropped a touchdown pass that would have made the score 13-7 early in the third quarter. Earl Bennett waited on a Cutler pass that safety Charles Woodson jumped and intercepted.
And Cutler threw passes off his back foot, clutched the ball too long on some of his seven sacks and completed just 11 of 28 passes, just under 40 percent.
Coach Lovie Smith aptly summed up the dismal performance.
‘‘All three phases . . . we didn’t play well enough,’’ Smith said. ‘‘As disappointed as we are, we are 1-1. This counts as one loss.’’
Dave Toub is rightly hailed as one of the league’s top special teams coaches. But his Packers counterpart, Shawn Slocum, called for a fake field goal on 4th-and-26, and his players perfectly executed the play for a touchdown that gave them a 10-0 lead instead of 6-0.
Both offenses started slowly, but the Packers regrouped quicker, making more plays and fewer mistakes. And while the Bears’ defense kept them within striking distance into the third quarter, the Packers finished with more sacks (seven to five), more turnovers (four to two) and allowed fewer third-down conversions (four of 14).
While Cutler was candid, he didn’t hold himself accountable during his news conference.
Several offensive linemen insisted the blame was on them, not their quarterback.
‘‘That’s on us,’’ Carimi said. ‘‘I mean, whenever you lose, you don’t look to blame someone else — you look to blame yourself. And you look at your accountability, and I had a stupid penalty that hurt my team in the first half.
‘‘I let too much pressure on Jay, and that’s an O-line thing, and we all take responsibility for not giving Jay enough time.’’
Visibly frustrated, Carimi suggested the long weekend will be difficult for him.
‘‘It makes it hard because you want to prove to yourself that you’re a good player and a physical player and a smart player,’’ he said, ‘‘and you have to wait a whole week and a half.’’
Rough start for corners
Two talented teams, the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants and the New Orleans Saints, suffered home defeats — in large part because of their defenses.
And, more specifically, because of cornerbacks who had trouble stopping opposing receivers.
Patrick Robinson of the Saints gave up an astounding 160 passing yards, according to STATS, while Corey Webster of the Giants wasn’t much better. He allowed 145.
Key defenders come out OK
At least the Bears’ Brian Urlacher and Charles Tillman appeared to come out of Thursday’s game without any issues. Urlacher seemed to get off to a slow start, then played better in the third quarter. He finished second on the team with eight tackles.
Tillman, meanwhile, was third with seven tackles, along with the forced fumble and recovery.
‘‘It was good, but nobody is healthy right now,” Tillman said of the game. ‘‘It’s a business, and it’s what we do to our bodies, but we know it.’’
Asked about his health, Urlacher said, ‘‘Personally, it doesn’t matter to me. I just want to win the game.’’