Deflating game, loss of Cutler leaves Bears searching for answers

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In the aftermath of dissecting the Chicago Bears heart-breaking 45-41 loss to the Washington Redskins on a sun-splashed Sunday in the nation’s capital, Bears first-year head coach Marc Trestman must feel like a medical doctor performing triage.

Starting quarterback Jay Cutler was forced to leave in the second quarter with a groin injury severe enough that the Bears put a call in to journeyman Jordan Palmer to visit Halas Hall on Monday. Whatever hopes the Bears have for 2013 might hinge on a Monday scheduled MRI for Cutler. Besides their signal caller, the Bears lost two key defensive stalwarts in LB Lance Briggs (shoulder) and CB Charles Tillman (knee) in the second half. Both remained on the sidelines as they watched the Redskins march 80 yards in 12 plays in the final four mintues to regain the lead for good.

Despite three touchdowns by Matt Forte and Devin Hester’s NFL record-tying  81-yard punt return for a touchdown, the Bears couldn’t overcome a woeful defense that is springing more leaks than the Titanic.  Chicago allowed Washington 499 total yards, and gave up five touchdown drives of over 74 yards. “They had to drive the whole field, and they drove it on us,”  Bears defensive end-tackle Corey Wootton lamented. “We have to stop them. It was on us, and we didn’t come through.”

The porous defensive outing is become a trend for a once-proud attack unit that lacks any consistent pass rush and is hampered by subpar play in the back end by safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright, who have been prone to missed assignments and blown coverages.

The Bears let Robert Griffin III buy time in the pocket with his feet, and RGIII made the Bears pay by finding open receivers running free downfield. He finished 18-of-29 for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Griffin also ran a season-high 11 times for 84 yards.Rookie TE Jordan Reed caught nine balls for 134 yards and a touchdown. When Chicago focused on RGIII, the Redskins gashed them with inside runs by Alfred Morris and Roy Helu. Helu darted in from three yards out for the game-winner with :45 seconds left to play.

The discouraging outcome overshadowed a solid performance by Bears back-up QB Josh McCown. 14 of 20 passes for 204 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown pass to tight end Martellus Bennett that gave the Bears a 41-38 lead with 3:57 to play. Perhaps optimistically, McCown tried to remain positive after the hard-luck loss. “All the things that we want to do, as far as the team, are still in front of us,” McCown said. “I think we’ve just got to take our break, get healthy, some of these guys on defense get a little bit more healthy and see where we are.”

The Bears will have two weeks to reassess things, lick their wounds, and make whatever adjustments they before traveling to Green Bay for a Monday night encounter on November 4.

Paw Prints: The Bears 41 points were the most points scored by the franchise in a loss….Forte rushed 16 times for 91 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown scamper….WR Alshon Jeffery caught four passes for 105 yards and fellow WR Brandon Marshall caught 6 balls for 75 yards….Rookie MLB Jon Bostic was unofficially credited with 8 tackles in his first NFL start….The Redskins have won five straight games over the Bears.



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