Bears offense good but not good enough

The Chicago Bears dominated the Green Bay Packers in total yards and time of possession, yet were still thumped 38-17 at Soldier Field.

Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman pulled out all the stops during Sunday’s 38-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Trestman used a two-running-back backfield featuring Matt Forte and Ka’Deem Carey, a formation he’s never before used with the Bears. He then deployed a play few have ever before seen, one in which WR Alshon Jeffery began an end around before stopping and reversing field to catch a touchdown pass in the opposite flat.

Trestman also attempted an onside kick in the second quarter after his team went up 17-13, obviously trying to put the pedal down and keep Green Bay’s high-octane offense off the field.

In reality, there wasn’t much more Trestman could have done in terms of play calling. His efforts, as well as that of the players, resulted in 496 total yards, 33 first downs, 235 rushing yards and more than 36 minutes in time of possession.

The result? Packers 38, Bears 17.

“To have 500 total yards and to not have enough points to show for it is the main part we take from this game,” running back Matt Forte said after the game. “A lot of time we’d get down there and we had a few opportunities to put points on the board. One time we got three instead of seven, which in a game like this, three points are good, scoring is good, but we easily could have got a touchdown.”

The offense’s inability to finish drives, particularly in the second half, was one of the main deciding factors in Green Bay’s victory. The Bears moved the ball with ease for most of the game yet two Jay Cutler interceptions, both in Green Bay territory, didn’t allow the offense to keep pace with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.

“The turnovers on the offensive side, we’ve got to clean that stuff up,” Cutler said. “They’re unfortunate ones, things we could have limited from happening and gave ourselves a better chance of winning the football game.”

The Bears also failed to put points on the board before halftime despite having 1st and goal at the 9-yard line with 14 seconds on the clock. On 2nd down, Cutler fired a pass over the middle to tight end Martellus Bennett, who was dragged down at the 1-yard line, leaving no time on the clock for a field goal attempt.

“I liked the call. I liked the throw,” said Cutler. “I thought their defender made a heck of a play.”

The good new for Chicago’s offense was the success of the run game, something on which they can build going forward. Forte rushed for 122 yards, while rookie Ka’Deem Carey added 72 yards on the ground. The Bears had the worst rushing attack in the league coming into the game, so finding success on the ground today could portend even more running room in the future.

“We ran the ball as a team today,” said Forte. “We ran the ball pretty physical today but to have a lot of yards and not have enough points to show fir it is the main part that is frustrating to us.”

It’s clear the Bears have one of the most-potent offenses in the league. The unit has two Pro Bowlers along the offensive line (Jermon Bushrod and Kyle Long) and Pro Bowlers at the skill positions in Cutler, Forte, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. On top of that, tight end Martellus Bennett has emerged as arguably the most-dangerous weapon on the team.

“A loss is a loss,” said Bennett, who set a single-game career high with 134 receiving yards. “You never want to lose to the Packers at home. It was a little upsetting. We just didn’t make the plays we usually make.”

The NFL becomes more offense-friendly by the year and it’s been proven that top-tier offenses can carry a team to a Super Bowl title. Yet the Bears showed today that even a good offense can’t overcome turnovers and a shaky defense. Chicago is going to score a lot of points this year but that won’t impact the win-loss column until all three phases play at a consistently high level.

Game Notes

-Today was the first time the Bears lost a game when Forte had more than 120 yards rushing (122). They were previously 10-0.

-Forte’s 171 combined yards give him more than 10,000 yards from scrimmage for his career, second most in franchise history.

-Today’s game did not feature a single punt for only the second time in NFL history. The only other punt-less contest came on Sept. 13, 1992 between the Buffalo Bills and San Francisco 49ers.

-Rodgers had a 151.2 QB rating in this game. The highest QB rating possible is 151.3.

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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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