Offense Takes Step Back Against Pack

C Olin Kreutz (Jim Prisching/AP)

The Chicago Bears gave their best effort Sunday in Green Bay, even though they didn't have to with the playoffs secure. But three points scored on offense is cause for concern going into the postseason.

Coach Lovie Smith acknowledged the Bears weren't playing for much against the Packers on Sunday, but he kept his starters in for the entire game, as he had hinted he would do during the preceding week.

"Knowing that we had the bye week, we weren't playing for an awful lot," Smith said. "But we wanted to just keep momentum going. We hadn't peaked yet. We still thought there were some things we could improve upon, and that's what we went into the game to do. It's a great opportunity for us to get into the playoff mode as much as anything and to have a chance, as it turns out, to play against a playoff team and see how we matched up."

But two interceptions and six sacks helped keep the Bears out of the end zone in the 10-3 loss, and the inability of the offense to move for much of the day has to be a concern for Smith and the Bears as they head into their bye week but start preparing for a home playoff game on Jan. 16.

"Especially in the first half, there were times when we had control," Smith said. "You have to score points, though. Moving the ball and having momentum is one thing. But you have to be able to get the ball in the end zone. We had some opportunities. The turnovers really hurt us."

There's no denying the Bears gave a superb effort, especially considering they had nothing to gain and the Packers were playing for their postseason lives. But there's also no denying the Bears' offense, particularly the passing game, took a step back – maybe a couple steps.

"If we lose, it's a step back," center Olin Kreutz said. "We have two weeks to learn from it and then get ready for the next opponent. It was a playoff atmosphere, and they were coming after us from the start of the third quarter. They sent everything at us. All the credit goes to them for shutting down our offense."

The Bears can only hope that the bye week will provide ample time to do some rehab on an offense that managed just 227 total yards and allowed six sacks of quarterback Jay Cutler, who threw two interceptions and played one of his worst games of the season.

The only times the Bears generated less offense this season were in the 36-7 loss to the Patriots three weeks earlier and the 17-3 demolition at the hands of the Giants in Week 4.

RB Matt Forte
Jim Prisching/AP

After being the only team in the NFL to run the ball more than they threw it in the eight weeks leading up to the season finale, the Bears slipped back into the airborne ways that nagged them during a 4-3 start, with 45 dropbacks, which included six sacks, and just 20 running plays.

RB Matt Forte continues to get stronger as the season goes along. His 91-yard rushing effort on 15 attempts Sunday for a 6.1-yard average marked the fifth time in six weeks he's averaged 4.9 yards per carry or more. He's had more than 90 rushing yards in three straight games and five of the last seven.

LB Nick Roach left the game in the first quarter with a shoulder injury and did not return. ...

LB Pisa Tinoisamoa, who was being brought back gradually following arthroscopic knee surgery, was forced to play almost the entire game on the strong side after Roach, his replacement, departed with his injury. ...

S Chris Harris suffered a stinger late in the game that was not considered serious. ...

Cutler's 43.5 passer rating was his third-lowest of the season. In four of his previous five games, he was over 100. He was also sacked six times after being sacked just five times in the three previous games. ...

Forte had a game-high eight receptions for 60 yards and finished the season with 1,069 rushing yards and 547 receiving yards.

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