It was a result none of the Chicago Bears players or their fans had hoped to see at Soldier Field today. The team was beat on both sides of the ball, resulting in an ugly 27-17 home loss to the rival Green Bay Packers.
If there was a bright side to the game, it could only be found in the fact most of the team emerged physically unscathed after a long, punishing afternoon.
"I got tight later in the second quarter, near half time," Williams said. "I went out of the game for a time, then I knew I had to come back. Johnny went down and then I was back in. At the half they worked on me in the locker room. I felt a little twinge when I returned in the second half and tried to keep going as best I could after that."
The pain experienced by most of the players was mental, not physical. It was a game of missed opportunities. The team appeared more frustrated than they had after last week's loss in New Orleans.
"I never felt that we were on the same page," Johnny Knox said. "I have no idea why that happened, as practice went well all week and our communication then was excellent."
Knox said that Cutler's hoarseness, which had been a problem for the offense earlier in the week, had healed.
WR Johnny Knox
Rob Grabowski/US Presswire
"We could hear him fine," Knox said.
The Bears were unable to run the ball all game forcing coordinator Mike Martz into heavy pass mode. Many have blamed the play-calling the last few weeks for the lack of cohesion on offense.
"I can't comment on that," said Knox. "We just try to carry out what comes in for us in terms of plays. I have no opinion on what was called or when. "
Knox had 84 receiving yards on the day, the most on the team. The offense amassed 278 passing yards but only 13 on the ground, compared to Green Bay's 100 yards rushing and 292 yards passing.
Knox added some late game fireworks after returning a kickoff for a touchdown on a play that had everyone fooled. The Bears trailed by 10 with 1:08 left on the clock. Green Bay punted the ball to the Chicago 11-yard line. The television coverage showed Devin Hester seemingly waving for a fair catch but then panned over to Knox who was sprinting down the sidelines into the end zone.
It was an outstanding play call that for a moment had brought the Bears within three points of the Packers. The touchdown though was called back as Corey Graham was cited for holding. Three plays and several short passes later, the clock wound down with the Bears out of time and out of timeouts.
"It was a shame to have wasted that play," Knox said. "It was something Dave Toub came up with a few weeks ago and we'd been practicing a lot. If it had been successful that would definitely have put us within striking distance. Now everybody's seen it, or will see it on the game film. I don't know. Maybe we can use it later in the season. Maybe not. It wouldn't be my call anyway."
Tight end Kellen Davis scored for the Bears on a 32-yard pass play with 11:46 to go in the fourth quarter, providing the team with a brief spark of hope.
"I can't take any joy in that play because we lost the game," Davis said. "What's most frustrating to me just that we worked hard all week, cleaned a lot of things up, but the little things still kept going wrong. Maybe it was our timing, maybe the Packers had our number. I won't know definitely until I see the game film."
The score was Davis' only catch of the night, a statistic that he'd like to improve going forward.
"I can play better than that and I will do better than that," he said. "Watching from the sidelines while our defense was out there, I was planning in my head how we could turn the game around. Unfortunately that didn't happen."
Devin Hester, who had three catches for 62 yards, also expressed his frustration.
"The offense had some good plays but over and over we just couldn't keep it going," said Hester. "When we get in a rhythm we've got to stay in a rhythm. We can't keep going in and out like we did. That's what hurt us late in the game."
Next up for the Bears are the Carolina Panthers in a home game this Sunday. Can Martz balance his offense by then? The players remain optimistic.
"Another tough contest," Davis said. "It's been a challenging start but I still think we'll turn things around."
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.