No rush, no win for bumbling Bears
By: By Rick Gano, AP Sports Writer, Superior Telegram
CHICAGO (AP) — The last time Jay Cutler faced the Green Bay Packers, it was a bigger deal. He was trying to lead the Chicago Bears into the Super Bowl and was forced to the sidelines for most of the second half.
Eighth months ago in the NFC championship game on the same field, Cutler watched most of the final two quarters, sitting out with a knee injury. Unable to play, he became the target of rampant criticism — even though it was an injury that greatly limited his mobility.
Cutler and his Bears teammates had another difficult day Sunday against Chicago's longtime rivals. The Bears couldn't muster a running game, were bogged down by 10 penalties and beaten again by the Packers 27-17.
How the Bears (1-2) played Sunday just won't cut it, Cutler said.
"Lot of miscues. There were spurts of good football and just inconsistent," Cutler said. "Against a team like that, you're never going to beat them."
The Bears tried to run the ball only 12 times and managed just 13 yards. The franchise record for the fewest yards rushing was set in 1952 against the Rams when Chicago gained a single yard.
It wasn't quite that bad Sunday. But almost.
Featured running back Matt Forte finished with 2 yards on nine carries. He did catch seven passes for 80 yards.
"He's the only running back we have back there, so they are going to key on him. We just got to find ways to get him the ball, get him rushes, get him touches, get him going because he's an explosive player and I feel bad for him right now," Cutler said.
"He wants the ball and he wants to help out and we're not giving him a lot of opportunities."
When Forte ran for a 3-yard gain early in the second half, a mock cheer went up from the crowd.
"We didn't run the ball because we weren't able to," Forte said. "Obviously when they shut the run down, we have to throw the ball a little bit. It just didn't happen."
Green Bay's B.J. Raji said the Packers (3-0) were ready for any type of running game the Bears tried.
"We've played good backs this whole season. I know there is emphasis in the media on (Matt) Forte getting the ball, but we knew if we took care of business he wouldn't be a factor," Raji said.
Cutler was sacked three times, running his total to 14 on the season, but said the offensive line did a decent job protecting him.
He was 21 of 37 for 302 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and threw six straight incompletions to start the second half against a defense that allowed Drew Brees and Cam Newton to throw for more than 400.
Roy Williams, signed to give Cutler a big target, was nowhere to be found. Struggling with a groin injury, he didn't have a catch in four attempts. And two of the times Cutler tried to find Williams, the passes were picked off by Morgan Burnett.
"I can't just say Roy. Our entire offense needs to continue to make improvements," coach Lovie Smith said. "We're not there yet."
Chicago's 10 penalties were really costly, including one on receiver Devin Hester for a confrontation with Sam Shields just when the Bears had a chance to get back in the game.
Trailing 27-17, Brian Urlacher had intercepted Aaron Rodgers early in the fourth period and Chicago had the ball at its 45. But a holding call and then Hester's unnecessary roughness penalty turned the Bears away.
"I got called with a last hit and know that was a stupid mistake on my part," Hester said. "But I can only take so much of a guy pushing me three of four times. And (if I) just walk away, he's going to continue to do it the whole game."
The Bears also had a punt return TD nullified by a holding penalty with about a minute left. Johnny Knox got the ball after Hester faked as if it were coming to him, and then took it 89 yards, but Corey Graham was called for holding.
Rodgers completed 28 of 38 passes threw for 297 yards, including three touchdown passes to Jermichael Finley, who gave the Bears coverage problems all day.
Rodgers hit Finley with a 6-yard TD on the game's opening drive, a 7-yarder early in the second quarter that made it 14-0, and a 10-yarder that gave the Packers a commanding 27-10 lead early in the fourth.
Greg Jennings caught nine passes for 119 yards, while Finley finished with seven receptions and 85 yards. Ryan Grant ran for 92.