"As a football team it was certainly a very disappointing loss yesterday. Disappointing to our club. Home game. Divisional opponent. Our guys recognized how important it was. It wasn't for a lack of effort that we lost the game, certainly. We found out today after we looked at the tape. We said it last night: we win as a team, we lose as a team. And the team just didn't include the players. It includes the coaches. We're accountable as well. We went into meeting today accepting accountability in all differerent phases for our inability to win this game. We felt we had a pretty chance to do that, a very good chance to do that.
"Just taking the offensive side of the ball, the basic storyline on the offensive side of the ball is that we all took turns in making mistakes at the wrong time. Everybody took a turn. Too many guys did that. there were too many, one mistake on this play or one mistake on that play. It could have been physical. It could have been technical. It could have been mental. But there were too many breakdowns at the wrong time around a lot of good play. A lot of excellent execution. And a lot of great individual play that was really minimized by the fact we couldn't get it done offensively and score touchdowns yesterday when we had the opportunity to do that.
"We opened the game with a terrific drive. We were three and out. And then we ran 26 plays. We had the ball for 11 minutes. We played against a team that's no. 1 or 2 in third-down conversions, at 29 percent, and we were at 63 percent at halftime. We were 5 of 8. But we all know what happened. We weren't able to convert on third and 1. We weren't able to convert on fourth and 1. And then we had the tipped ball in the end zone at the end of a 13-play drive. We only had four possessions in the first half. We weren't able to get in done. in that regard, it was really disappointing to our football team that we couldn't convert on the 10-play drive and then the 13-play drive couldn't get it done.
"Second half, we came out three-and-out and then we had a long drive again. We had an opportunity to score in the red zone. And couldn't get the completion to get it done. I wish I woulda on the second and third down switched the calls and run the shovel on second down and thrown it on third down to give us a chance to get into the end zone, but we were one block away on the shovel, of making the first down, which was disappointing.
"And then we had two punts. After Chris' interception, we couldn't convert. We had the holding penalty and then we had Alshon's great catch, which I believe was ruled correctly. He didn't have control. But it was a heck of an effort by him, certainly to get that. guys played hard, but I'll finish the way I started on the offense: we had a breakdown here, a breakdown there, which hurt us. We didn't block the run very well. We didn't do a good job enough on the run. Even with 17 carries by Matt, we didn't get enough productivity out of Matt in the running game. We didn't block the run well. We have to get better at that. we were very disappointed in our ability not to balance it out. Jay got hit more times this week than he's gotten hit in the past — and probably got hit less than any team that's played the lions. They get hits more than anybody, of any team we faced, they've done as good a job of rushing the passer. And we didn't do a good enough job.
"He got hit three or four times hard and then he got pushed down four or five times. We're disappointed we couldn't do a better job in that area.
"Defensively, they started fast. They also had a first drive. I thought our defense, three series they got nothing. In the second half, they got the long drive. Five series straight, nothing. And then they got the drive at the end of the game. I thought at the end of the day we held Stafford down. We held his passing percentage down. He wasn't as effective as he had been in the past against other teams. They didn't have a lot of explosive passes although calvin made the players that certainly made a difference in the game, in the pass-receiving dept. and we didn't do as good a job in stopping the run as we'd like. It's going to be ongoing with new players; we've just got to be better at it. But I did have a sense, as I talked to the team today, that over the last couple weeks, I do have a sense that it's coming together a little bit. We're going to have to pick it again without Charles, but I do have a sense we've picked it up a bit and gained some confidence playing the same type of offense we played yesterday. No, we're not perfect — nobody is in this league. I did have a sense that our younger guys were a little more sufficient playing. We got a little bit of pressure at times. We got Stafford to throw the ball high. We only had one turnover but we got the ball out four times — we had the tipped the ball, we didn't get that one, and we had the ball out a couple other times and it just bounced their way. So I'm optimistic that if we continue to just stay the course there, we have a chance to play pretty darn good defense each and every week. We'll see how that goes next week.
"The biggest disappointment certain was on the offensive side of the ball, we had a couple chances in the return game specifically one and we missed an assignment there that could have unlocked Devin in making a play there. But overall, defensively I was encouraged. I told the guys at the end we were at zero in the turnovers, we certainly lost a big one down in the red zone. We picked it up with Chris, we couldn't take advantage of it, we were disciplined, we only had 30-some yards in penalties. I didn't think we won the line of scrimmage on either side of the ball for one of the first times in a while. I thought they were, it wasn't one way or the other where they dominated but certainly it was at best a draw and you have to give credit to the Lions, both of their fronts played well and at the end of the day as we always talk about these games come down to the last series and the last drive. We didn't stop them and we didn't close. We finished with a touchdown and we didn't get it done in the second half relative to our 2 minute and our 2-point plays. So very, very disappointing.
"As far as Jay's injury, I think you all know he's got a high ankle sprain, he got it rolled on, it was unrelated to the groin injury. It happened in the second quarter, they taped him up, there was no indication from the trainers that there would be any further injury. I thought he had one of his best games. We played very well offensively in the first half overall, but as I said, we just didn't convert on those three plays. There was no indication I said by the trainers, I asked them if the groin was an issue at all, didn't feel that there was, they told me that even today, if he hadn't rolled up the ankle he would have been able to play today and, after looking at the tape twice today I thought really the last time, if you look at it closely there was an indication that we should take Jay out it was on the last throw. He climbed the pocket, it was awkward throw and he threw the ball into the ground to Alshon. But as I evaluted it and learned form the trainers that there was no indication that it would get worse, I spent a lot of time watching him. It's very tough to pull your starting quarterback out when he's throwing the ball with velocity, when he's hitting his receivers and he's able to move in the pocket and complete a throwing motion, and on all three of those indications confirmed with me that I should keep him in there. I know we sacrificed his ability to move around and run, but that was the case after 2 minutes and 53 seconds of the second quarter. So, I feel good about what we decided to do with him and then with Charles I think you all know that he's got a long-term injury where Jay will be week to week."
HIGH-ANKLE SPRAIN KEEP CUTLER OUT?
"It's safe to say that this is a week-to-week, and it certainly won't be this week."
WORRIED ABOUT ANKLE AFFECTING GROIN?
"No, I don't. Just talking to the trainers this morning. If the ankle injury hadn't been an issue, there's no indication that Jay wouldn't have started and played this week."
SEE ON FILM ANYTHING THAT INDICATED AN EARLIER MOVE TO GO TO JOSH?
"There really wasn't, and I said this morning I thought There might have been some, but when I looked at the tape it really reconfirmed what I had seen on the field, that he was struggling, no doubt about it, seen other quarterbacks play this game and do what Jay did and after talking to Chris and learning that he would not injure himself any further, it was can he throw the ball effectively in the pocket, did he have velocity on it, was he making the throws, the answer was yes on the previous throw he missed a ball, a throw to Brandon by just a yard and a half, that long ball down the numbers on their side of the field, an then he climbed the pocket and missed Alshon, that was the really one, but then I watched him go down and get up, and he actually pushed up on his left foot, but knew going into the 2-minute drill that this was the time to do it, but really no indication, pocket movement, velocity and be able to step into throws he was able to do that."
THEY SAID HE COULDN'T RE-INJURE IT FURTHER, BUT SINCE HE'S NOT PLAYING THIS WEEK, DID SOMETHING ELSE HAPPEN?
"Re-injure what? Well, there's swelling now and those kinds of things but it wasn't a case of it being anything more than a high-ankle sprain than it was, talking to the trainers at that time."
WHY HAS JOSH PICKED UP THE OFFENSE SO MUCH QUICKER THAN JAY?
"I think that's not the case. Josh has been here working for the last eight months learning the offense and when he's had the opportunity to play, he's played very well. In the times he's played, he's played very well, but he's played in limited action, so I don't think that's a question that I could answer any other way. I don't think there's any indication of that based on the time Josh has played and the time Jay has played. But I do think when Josh has played he's done an excellent job."
CHALLENGE IN OVERSEEING THE GAME AND DETERMINING IF CUTLER'S HURTING TEAM BY STAYING ON THE FIELD?
"I think it's just part of the job when I step in the shoes of as an offensive coach during the course of the game. Those evaluations are part of what we're doing. I'm talking to the other coaches and I'm watching the way things are happening and just trying to make the best decision based on experience and the input I get from the trainers and coaches."
"I don't know, he played under a lot of duress yesterday and I thought he played well. I don't think about it in those terms about the fundamental side, I mean he stood in there, take the tape down, go get the coaches tape and take the tape and slow it down for some of these throws he made with people in his face. He played an exceptional game to be able to make some of these throws. He pinpointed some passes. As I said the final evaluation is can he make the throws, can he move in the pocket and does he have velocity on it and the evaluation was clear, he was doing that throughout."
PLAYERS PERFORMING AT HIGH LEVEL WHILE IN PAIN
"I think that you see that all the time, and I saw it a few weeks ago with Ben Roethlisberger at the end of a game, fighting through that. Quarterback is a unique position. They're able to accomplish their task inhibited in some fashion. As long as they're not inhibited in a way that it's not in the best interest of the football team and No. 1 to hurt themselves even more than they are, but in the best interest of the football team you're going to leave them out there and that's really the analysis."
WHEN DID HE SUFFER ANKLE INJURY?
"Approximately two minutes into the second quarter."
WHAT PERCENTAGE OF CUTLER BETTER THAN 100 PERCENT OF MCCOWN
"I can't answer that. I can't do it through mathematics. It's just a feel thing. Are we moving the football team? The answer to that is yes. We were moving the football team. We had a three-and-out. We could have had a three-and-out with anybody. We came back and went on an eight-play drive. You remember those throws. They were outstanding throws. A third-down conversion, a bomb down the field, a great throw to Alshon Jeffery on the right side of the field and then a perfect throw down the middle in the red zone. These were all after two minutes of the second quarter. So it's just a feel thing. It's not percentages. He's our starting quarterback, he's our leader. If it's in the best interest of the football team and he can move the team and not hurt himself or the team, we want him to be in there and he wants to be in there. These things come up periodically in the course of seasons and in games with your starting quarterback and you've got to make those decisions and they're not easy ones. But there's no regrets here."
WERE YOU LIMITED IN GAME PLAN IN ANY WAY?
"The only thing we took out of the game plan were the movement passes. That was early on. That was really after the tipped ball and the movement there. Then we talked about it and we just minimized the game plan that way. We don't do a lot of that, but we had some in for this game and we took it out."
DID LIONS RECOGNIZE IMMOBILITY OF CUTLER AND DID THAT HELP THEM SHUT DOWN RUN?
"I can't answer that, I really can't. They were stopping the run pretty early. We weren't very effective in the running game throughout, so that's why we took some shots and went down the field and we were able to make some big plays."
JAY SAID HE HAD A WINDOW TO MARTELLUS ON PICK. DID YOU SEE THE SAME?
"Absolutely. I thought the same thing. Suh came on a twist. He came out of nowhere. He reached out his arm and tipped the ball. He wasn't trying to throw it through people. We had a good play on. Was it the best play? It turned out not to be. But that was the play we had up. We had Marty on an individual slant on the backside with two backside routes to Alshon and Brandon and we expected to get the coverage basically that we got. We had a free shot in there and he made a good play."
DID JAY ASK YOU IF HE LOOKED OK?
"We had discussions about it and I went through the same dialogue with him that I'm going through with you. Can you throw the ball effectively in the pocket? Can you move enough to make the throw? Can you step into it? I think he needed just the encouragement that he wasn't hurting the team and I think we went out there and did that."
DID THEY TELL YOU WHAT GRADE SPRAIN?
"They didn't with me. They just called it with me a high ankle sprain."
WERE YOU AWARE THAT CHARLES WAS PLAYING WITH A SERIOUS INJURY?
"We knew he was hurt, but we didn't know the extent that he was hurt."
LIONS SHUT DOWN RUN GAME
"Part of it was blocking. We had some missed assignments on some key plays, we really did. We had one toss play you saw Matt, so disappointed, just didn't pick up his foot. He had a big gain there. We had a couple of sweeps where we blocked it incorrectly and that was disappointing. We knew we weren't going to hit every one, but we had a chance to have three or maybe four explosive runs in the game, big runs, and we got the touchdown run called back. We can't say it wasn't a hold, but it was very close to not being a hold as well. It was right on the edge. So that was disappointing. If we get those three or four runs and we're sitting there at 85 or 90 yards, we're feeling a little bit better about ourselves against a good defensive front."
HOW TOUGH LOSING PEANUT?
"There's no way to replicate what Charles can do. We know Zack's up and we saw what Zack can do. Zack played in the Giant game and made a big play for us early in the game. He's got the ability to play. He's not going to tell you he's Charles Tillman and we're not going to tell you that either. But he's a good football player and he'll step in and I'm sure be at his best and that's where we are. We've got to step up in special teams because that has a special teams effect too because now Zack will be up starting for us."
CAN YOU EXPAND GAME PLANS WITH MCCOWN STARTING?
"You saw Josh play a week ago. He played very effectively. He took care of the football. He was very efficient. We hope to get the same out of him Sunday."
COVERAGE ON SECOND TD TO Calvin Johnson
"There's a couple of throws there. I believe it was just single safety. I did watch the tape. I haven't had a chance to talk to Mel on everything yet. Just single safety coverage and it didn't look like he had any help over the top on that particular play, no."
IN DESCRIBING FIRST TWO-POINT ATTEMPT, YOU SAID ALSHON WAS COVERED BY SAFETY BUT HE WASN'T ON THE FIELD?
"I meant Dante. Either Dante or Marty outside. I want to say it might have been Marty outside. It was a tight end. So what we did, we were in our goal line package. We knew that's the play we were going to run. We thought we had something, and we really did. We had man-to-man coverage. We had a backer on Matt, and we just couldn't uncover him. We just couldn't get it done. The linebacker made a good play on it and covered him in the flat. They happened to be not in goal line. They were in their base defense, which really hurt our ability to get to the edge. But we did have the coverage out there that we wanted. We just didn't get it done."
TO HAVE Marshall AND JEFFERY OUT FOR A PASS PLAY DOWN THERE, YOU'RE COMFORTABLE WITH THAT?
"That doesn't happen in the norm. You haven't seen it ever happen. We just thought we had a play designed at that particular time to get it done. We had practiced it. We had worked through it. We just didn't get it done. You've got to really like the play, obviously, to have them off the field, and it didn't work out. We're certainly disappointed because you always want them out there. So there is a chance it won't work, and it didn't work. Fortunately we got another shot, and we didn't get it done, either."
WHAT DID YOU SEE ON 2ND TWO-POINT TRY?
"We just thought we could get to the edge in this game. We had some chances to get inside the 9-techniques, the wide ends and outside the tackles, and we just didn't block it effectively. And as we had a couple times, we had everybody cut off. It was one man making the mistake that didn't get it done."
BRIGGS BACK SOON
"I don't have an answer to that. That hasn't come into any discussions at this point.
JON BOSTIC LOOK BETTER?
"I thought he did. From the sideline, I thought he was physical. I thought he was good on his run fits. He moved around. I think he's getting better, and I think that Khaseem played well. Did he play great? No, but most of the time he's in the right spot. This is a great opportunity for them. I don't think they're hurting us at all. I think they're getting better each and every day. I'm excited about those two young guys. I really am."
MOVING BUSHROD TO RIGHT SIDE ON 4TH DOWN
"Well that just goes into game planning and matchups and things like that. I don't think there's anything that—I don't think it goes any deeper than that, really."
SHORT WEEK HEADING INTO LIONS AFFECT YOU?
"I don't know that. I think that when you look at the teams Detroit has played, and you look how they've hit their quarterbacks and what they've done—we didn't play at our best in the run game. We missed some assignments more than anything. We protected sufficiently compared to what other teams have played. We came out and we played an explosive first half. We had a great first drive. We blocked them up. We had three-and-out. We had a chance even to convert on the three-and-out, and we went 26 plays and we couldn't get it done on a third-and-1 and on fourth-and-1 and on a goal-line pass. That's what the game came down to in the first half. So for us to rebound after Green Bay, get some emotional stability, go back to work on a short week and play as hard and as effectively as we did in the first half—because we're talking offensively here—you can't be disappointed in your team and the way they worked. We just didn't convert on three plays, which made a big difference in the result of the game in the first half. Run-game-wise, as I said, I just don't think we did a good enough job blocking them. But a lot of it was assignment related. We just had one guy here, one guy there, one guy getting an edge. How that relates to the week before, I can't answer that question, but it wasn't good enough. We know standing here as an offensive staff member and as a head coach, we didn't play well enough up front in the running game giving Matt the opportunities. We called his number enough—17 times—and we didn't get enough out of it."
TRUST PLAYERS TO TELL YOU WHEN THEY ARE HEALTHY?
"That's a tough question. I think it's as you get to know the players, you have a better idea. We talk to the trainers a lot. They're the first step in it. Can he go back in? Is he likely to hurt himself any more? That's the No. 1 thing—we never want a player to hurt himself any more. There's very few players that are going to take themselves out of a game unless you take them out of the game, and that's why you've got to ask the right questions. And then you've got to make a final decision based on your observations. But the first question is: Can he re-injure himself or hurt himself any more? And can he go out there and perform at a level that can allow you to win the game? But it's tough for players. They want to be out there. They're going to fight. They're going to battle, so that's a tough question to even ask them. You can do it as part of your information gathering, but at the end of the day they're going to want to play."
TOUGHER TO PULL QB THAN OTHER POSITION?
"I think it is at times because I just think that it's the nature of the position. It's hard to give you a long-term bullet point on why. I just think it is. He's the guy leading your team. You don't want to put him in a position where it could hurt your team, but you know that if he could make the plays to help you win, you want to keep him out there. But you don't ever want to keep a player out there if he's going to hurt himself more or diminish his ability to extend his career in any way. You'd never to that for the interest of the team at that time."
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT YOUR LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIP WITH CUTLER?
"Everything you do with your quarterback is going to develop a foundation for growth. I feel I can talk to Jay about anything, and he will give me an honest answer. He's a straight shooter. He just wanted support that he wasn't hurting the football team. He felt he could play, but he didn't want to hurt the football team."
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his third season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Bear Report Web site or magazine, click here.