After a regular season game, the Chicago Bears locker room is usually a scene of controlled chaos, as players shed equipment, head to the showers or dress for a hasty exit. The noise level is noticeable, and even after a loss, players talk among themselves, making plans for the week ahead.
Last night in Green Bay, everything changed. Players sat in front of their lockers staring at the floor in stunned disbelief. Coaches and staff silently filed by, heading to the busses that would bring the team home.
A loss is always difficult to take, but clearly this was something quite different. Confidence among the players had been high and although most viewed the game as a challenge, few expected that things would end as they did.
Jay Cutler's halting speech as he addressed the media post-game showed his frustration.
"This isn't a hobby," Cutler said. "In football you've got to do things the right way, consistently. If you have somebody who doesn't care, he should be playing somewhere else."
Cutler, who had a dismal quarterback rating of 28.2, could be seen throughout the game grabbing linemen and receivers by their jerseys, shouting to get their attention.
"We had no passing game," Cutler continued. "It's kind of hard when that is your situation."
Brandon Marshall, the team's best receiver, had only 4 catches for 24 yards. Earl Bennett, another Cutler favorite, finished with 2 catches for 21 yards. Matt Forte led the team with 4 receptions for 49 yards while Kellen Davis, Alshon Jeffery, and Matt Spaeth each had one reception. Devin Hester's day saw 8 yards on punt returns but none for rushing or receiving.
That was the extent of the Bears' passing attack, which also included Cutler throwing four interceptions.
"We have to go back and regroup," Marshall said. "This wasn't the way we expected to go out there and play. When they've got two or three guys on you all of the time, as a receiver it's very hard. It definitely doesn't feel good to lose this game coming into Lambeau, into this environment, but I still think we have a chance to do some very good things this year."
Marshall went on to say that it was a night so disheartening, the best way to deal with the aftermath is to move on as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the Bears now have 10 days to reflect on this miserable performance before facing the St. Louis Rams next Sunday.
"You never really forget something like this," Marshall said. "But it's important to turn things into a positive, to learn from your mistakes, to correct things and move in a good direction. It's still early in the season, so I don't feel by any means that all is lost."
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.