- Michael C. Wright, ESPN Chicago Bears reporter
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Jay Cutler acknowledged the struggles the offense experienced in the Chicago Bears' 21-13 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, but he pointed out the team can’t dwell on them with a Thursday afternoon matchup on deck against the Detroit Lions.
On six first-half drives against the Buccaneers, Chicago’s offense generated 68 yards and three first downs, with one of those coming by way of a roughing-the-kicker call on the team’s second possession.
“We made some mistakes,” Cutler said Monday during the “Jay Cutler Show” on ESPN 1000. “We came in at halftime, made some adjustments, talked about what we liked moving forward. Defense got some turnovers, and we put some points on the board. Win or loss, we’re always trying to improve on offense. We’re always looking at what we did wrong. This week’s a little bit different because we’ve got to move on. We can’t really dwell on much that happened yesterday. We’ll make some corrections to some major things, then after that we’ve got to go.”
Bears coach Marc Trestman called the offense’s performance in the first half “very poor because of the mistakes that we made.”
Of the club’s six first-half possessions, three went three-and-out and one ended in a Cutler fumble the Buccaneers converted into a touchdown. Receiver Brandon Marshall was flagged for illegal-block penalties on two of those drives (one was declined), and he was flagged for false start on the team’s second play from scrimmage.
Cutler finished the game with one touchdown pass and a passer rating of 87.0 after absorbing three sacks in the first half and producing a passer rating of 65.0.
“What was a positive was the way we came out in the second half and took advantage of the turnovers,” Trestman said. “We got the ball in the end zone. I think that was the positive part of the day for Jay and our entire offense, that we were able to push it in. Everybody was taking turns. It wasn’t what we wanted it to be. We got out of sync. But we hung in there. Again, defensively getting the turnovers and being able to push the ball into the end zone was the most favorable part of the day offensively for Jay and for all of us. The penalties, the things that we can control, are the things that we’ve got to continue to work on. We will in various ways. Those are the things that take away from your opportunity to move the football, stay in sequence, do the things you want to do with your entire offense. When you’re in sequence and you’re not hurting yourself, certainly you have opportunities to do more things.”
Now the Bears plan to use the next day and a half to absorb a stripped-down game plan headed into Thursday’s contest at Detroit with just a four-day turnaround. Several of the team’s coaches returned to Halas Hall Sunday night to jump start the game plan installation process.
Trestman called the short turnaround “a challenge” but pointed to the staff’s “experience in putting game plans together and knowing how much information guys can handle going into a game without practice time.”
The Bears plan to put in the game plan on Tuesday, hold several meetings and walk-through sessions the same day and board a plane Wednesday for Detroit.
When the NFL first introduced Thursday games, Cutler said he “liked them because you got the weekend off,” which was “kind of like a mini-bye.”
Now, Cutler said the turnaround for a Thursday game is more difficult.
“As you get older, it gets harder,” Cutler said. “I think the older you get, the harder it gets game planning-wise, physically, just getting your body back to where it needs to be for game time.”
With a Thursday afternoon game on tap this week, the Chicago Bears can't dwell on their offensive mistakes against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.