The Chicago Bears had 11 days to prepare for their Week 15 tilt against the New Orleans Saints. On the opening kickoff, the team incurred a penalty, and it was an out-of-control, downhill steamroller from that point on, resulting in a 31-15 loss at Soldier Field.
The loss is Chicago’s ninth of the season. It was a team effort, with all three phases of the team displaying ineptitude at severe levels.
The first nine drives by the offense resulted in interception, punt, punt, punt, turnover on downs, punt, interception, punt and interception. Quarterback Jay Cutler was inaccurate from the start of the game and was not helped by the offensive line, which allowed a season-high seven sacks.
“We just have to be more consistent. That’s it,” right tackle Jordan Mills said following the game. “When we have a bad play, we have to move on and make a good play and just keep drives going.”
Cutler finished 17 of 31 for 194 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. His 55.8 passer rating is his worst under Marc Trestman in any game he’s started and finished.
Defensively, Chicago gave up 443 total yards, with Saints quarterback Drew Brees passing for 375 yards and three touchdowns. At one point in the first half, Brees completed 15 straight passes.
“You have to tip your hat to them. They made more plays than we did today,” linebacker Jon Bostic said. “We made too many mistakes. We gave them too many big plays and those big plays turned into points for them.”
The defense had no answer for Jimmy Graham, who led the Saints with five catches for 87 yards. The Bears matched up cornerbacks, safeties and linebackers on Graham, with no success.
“We’ve got to get better,” said Jared Allen. “I mean we’re running the same plays. We’ve got to get people on the same page so we don’t’ give up so many points.”
The 31 points by the Saints was the seventh time this year Chicago’s defense has allowed 30 or more points.
Finally, special teams once again failed to show up. Coordinator Joe DeCamillis’ units committed four penalties, including a fake punt in which only 10 men were on the field – something few people in the Soldier Field press box had seen before.
“It’s real simple, we should’ve had 11 players but we had 10,” Marc Trestman said. “I’m responsible for that.”
The loss on Monday night secures the first losing season for the Bears since 2009 and further puts into question the future of Trestman and the entire coaching staff.
Tight end Martellus Bennett said after the game the team is lacking passion, which has been blatantly obvious the past two months.
“We need passion to come from certain places. There are some positions on the team that need to step up with leadership,” said Bennett. “I don’t really get into the name thing. They know who they are.”
Nearly 11,000 fans were no shows for the prime time contest, yet that didn’t stop the crowd from producing hearty boos throughout the contest.
“They should be mad,” Allen said. “I’m pissed off. They should be pissed off too.”
At this point, the question isn’t if the hammer will be brought down, it’s a matter of when and how hard. The Bears have two more games this season. In the days following the campaign, we’ll find out just how committed the ownership is to winning.
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.