LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman said on Monday quarterback Jay Cutler was responsible for a critical red zone penalty that backed up an important drive with New Orleans up 23-7 with 5:03 left in the third quarter.
With the Bears facing first-and-goal from the Saints’ four-yard line, Cutler attempted a pass to wide receiver Earl Bennett that fell incomplete. But during the play right guard Kyle Long was penalized five yards for being an ineligible man downfield, which pushed the Bears back to the Saints’ nine-yard line. The drive fell apart from there as Cutler missed on his next three throws and the Bears had to settle for a Robbie Gould 27-yard field goal.
Trestman explained that Long was down the field blocking because the Bears called a run play in the huddle and Cutler “pulled the ball” away from the tailback upon receiving the snap without ever changing the call at the line of scrimmage.
“Jay saw a safety come down into the gap, and looking back he should have handed the ball off and stayed with the play or changed it, but he pulled the ball thinking he could get rid of the ball before Kyle went downfield,” Trestman said.
“He pulled the ball twice yesterday. He pulled the ball on another run and got some yards. He pulled the ball here and Kyle goes down the field and we got the penalty because Kyle is blocking the run. He has no idea that Jay is going to pull the ball and throw it in that situation.”
However, Trestman accepted his share of the blame for the Bears’ 26-18 loss, specifically in the first quarter when New Orleans linebacker David Hawthorne sacked Cutler for a seven yard loss. Cutler had already taken one sack and fumbled twice before the Hawthorn hit. Trestman pointed to his team’s slow start on offense as one of the biggest reasons the Bears came up short against the undefeated Saints.
“That was on me,” Trestman said. “I could’ve helped Jay with a call. We had a unique front and I accept accountability for that. I could’ve helped Jay in the headsets with a call and I didn’t do that. That caused a sack there.”