Jay Cutler, Marc Trestman under fire as Bears drop out of playoff contention
By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor
The Chicago Bears gave up more than 30 points for the sixth time this season in their Thursday night, Dec. 4, 41-28 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The Bears trailed 35-7 heading into the fourth quarter, before scoring three touchdowns during junk time to make the score less lopsided.
Much maligned quarterback Jay Cutler was 32-for-46 for 341 yards, two touchdowns and an end zone interception at the end of the game.
Running back Matt Forte carried the ball 13 times for 26 yards and also lost a fumble early in the game. Forte caught eight passes for 74 yards.
Receiver Brandon Marshall had three receptions for 61 yards, before being removed from the field in an ambulance after taking a hard knee to the back on a tackle by Cowboys safety Barry Church. After his ambulance ride, Marshall tweeted: “Thanks for the Prayers … I’m Good. #MindOverMatter.”
The loss to the Cowboys drops the Bears to 5-8 and out of the playoff picture. If the Minnesota Vikings beat the New York Jets at home this Sunday, Dec. 7, the Bears will sit alone in last place in the NFC North.
The Bears have now given up more than 30 points in two consecutive games, for a total of six games in 2014 — they lost 38-17 at home against Green Bay Sept. 28; 31-24 at Carolina Oct. 5; 51-23 at New England Oct. 26; 55-14 at Green Bay Nov. 9; 34-17 at Detroit Nov. 27; and 41-28 to Dallas Dec. 4. The Bears are giving up 29.1 points per game this season, worst in the NFL.
Following the loss to Dallas, Bears Head Coach Marc Trestman — now 13-16 in his second season with the team — was asked about his job security.
“The only thing I’m concerned about is the health of my football team right now and some of the players on it,” Trestman said. “I’m concerned with bringing them in tomorrow and coaching them up to do a better job than what they’ve done. That is my only focus.”
Trestman said of the loss: “You can certainly see that as a football team, we’re not doing the things in all three phases that we need to do to win on a consistent basis in this league and certainly against a very good football team like the Dallas Cowboys. … We’ll go over the tape and do everything we can to continue coaching these guys to get it right. We have a long way to go.”
Dallas running back DeMarco Murray carried the ball 32 times for 179 yards and one touchdown against the Bears. He also had nine receptions for 49 yards. Quarterback Tony Romo was 21-for-26 for 205 yards and three touchdowns. The win kept the Cowboys, now 9-4, in the playoff hunt and assured the team its first winning season since 2009.
Next up for the Bears is another prime-time match-up at Soldier Field — a Monday night, Dec. 15, game against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints are averaging 26.9 points per game on offense.
When Cutler was asked how this season stacks up in terms of disappointment in his nine-year career, he said: “It’s got to be No. 1. The expectations coming into this one were extremely high. And yet since the first game, we haven’t been able to do a good enough job week in and week out. So that adds up.
“That being said, we can’t cash it in,” Cutler said. “We’ve got to still continue to try to build on this and find ways to get better and better each week. … I’m still kind of surprised that we’re in this situation. But if you look back at the games and you break things down, there are definitely instances where you can see why we’re here. It didn’t happen by accident, that’s for sure.”
Cutler and Trestman — along with Defensive Coordinator Mel Tucker — have shouldered much of the blame from the media for the team’s woes this season. Many sports commentators continue to call for a change at the head coaching position. Among the names thrown out as possible replacements are San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh and New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan. Both Harbaugh and Ryan have faced their own adversity this season, and there is speculation their current franchises may not want them back in 2015.
Harbaugh, who was drafted by the Bears in 1987 and was the team’s starting quarterback from 1988 to 1993, reportedly is not interested in leaving the West Coast. Ryan’s father, Buddy Ryan, was defensive coordinator for the Bears from 1978 to 1985, including during Super Bowl XX.
Cutler, meantime, defended the Bears’ current coaching staff: “I’ve been on teams where on Sunday, you knew the plan wasn’t going to be good enough,” he said. “And I’ve never lined up with this crew and felt like, ‘This plan isn’t going to get it done. We don’t have enough.’ Or ‘We’re outmatched.’ Or ‘We’re outschemed.’ That has never been a thought of mine.”
Posted Dec. 5, 2014