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CHICAGO -- Brandon Marshall looked to suppress emotion but failed Sunday in the aftermath of a 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, saying, "Everybody involved in the offense should be accountable, even if that means jobs."
Fresh off the Chicago Bears losing control of their postseason fate by dropping their fifth in six games in addition to falling for the sixth consecutive time to the Packers, Marshall expressed frustration about the offense repeatedly enduring the same struggles week after week. Marshall's emotional remarks came minutes after Bears coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Jay Cutler calmly painted a picture of optimism concerning the team's dimming playoff hopes.
"It's been this way all year," Marshall said. "There's no excuse. We have two games left. There's still hope. But at the same time, we need to be held accountable."
Less than three minutes into his postgame news conference, Marshall -- who stopped twice during the interview to regain his composure -- left the podium before his session actually ended.
Marshall caught six passes for 56 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown in the second quarter to give the Bears a 7-0 lead after Olindo Mare's extra-point kick. But as a whole, the offense struggled with Cutler throwing an interception at the end of the first half, as the group failed to convert a single third down on nine attempts.
Cutler took responsibility for the woes on offense, including his interception to Casey Hayward on a pass intended for Devin Hester. That set up an 8-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to James Jones that gave Green Bay a 14-7 lead with 34 seconds remaining in the first half.
Cutler refused to go into specifics about what went wrong on the play, saying that "it came out of my hand," so "I'm responsible."
"That's how you lose ballgames against good teams like that," Cutler said.
Cutler completed 57.1 percent of his passes for 135 yards, one touchdown and an interception to finish with a passer rating of 72.5, leading an offense that missed on all four of its third-down conversions in the first half. Cutler suffered four sacks, and in the second half the offense managed to generate just 67 yards.
"It falls on me," Cutler said. "I'll take full responsibility for this offense and for this passing game. I didn't get the job done and we lost the ballgame."
Apparently, Cutler wasn't the only player needing to take responsibility for what transpired. The Bears tried to implement a run-heavy game plan against the Packers, and early on it seemed to work, with Matt Forte gaining 58 of his 69 yards over the first two quarters.
Smith declined to call the game plan conservative but acknowledged "the plan was to run the football." Once the Packers adjusted at the half and started to stuff the run in the third and fourth quarters, the Bears struggled to come up with adjustments that would enable the club to continue moving the ball.
Despite the Bears starting out with a run-heavy game plan, the Packers still dominated time of possession by nearly seven minutes.
Asked whether the Bears took Marshall out of the game plan in the second half, Smith said, "We did the same thing we did in the first half."
"Again, if you can't convert on third down, it's really hard," Smith said.
Cutler completed 6 of 9 in the first half, but in the second the quarterback hit 6 of 12 for 77 yards.
Penalties nullified three completions to rookie Alshon Jeffery, including one that should've gone for a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter. That play came at the end of a drive in which the Bears ran three consecutive plays from the Green Bay 1, yet failed to score before the penalty on Jeffery, and a delay of game call pushed the offense back to the 16, forcing the club to settle for a field goal.
"It's the same thing every single game," Marshall said. "We need to be held accountable. What I've got to do is I've got to try my best to keep it together and not let this affect m because it's starting to affect me more than it should. I love this game. I'm very passionate about his game, and right now it's affecting me way too much."
Marshall stopped briefly to fight back tears.
"I'm trying my all to do my job. So ... that's it," he said, before stepping from behind the podium and into the club's adjacent locker room.