After watching tape of Sunday's disappointing 31-24 loss to the Panthers, coach Marc Trestman told reporters about the message he delivered to Bears players Monday at Halas Hall.
"We were very clear that yesterday's collective performance was unacceptable; that that was a game we were in control of and had a great opportunity," Trestman said. "We didn't get it done.
"We talked about our record at 2-3 is certainly not where we expected to be or wanted to be. But the perspective is that's where we are and we've got work to do in all three phases."
The Bears blew leads of 21-7 and 24-21, committing turnovers on each of their final three possessions, enabling the Panthers to score the tying and winning points.
The Bears have now been outscored 34-3 in the second half of back-to-back losses to Carolina and Green Bay. They'll try to snap their two-game skid Sunday against the Falcons (2-3) in Atlanta.
"We've got to get better and the only way to do that is to get some rest over the next couple days and get ourselves ready to practice on Wednesday and move on," Trestman said. "Moving forward to Atlanta is the only thing and the best thing we can do to resolve some of the issues that we have and we can do that starting in practice and with our meetings on Wednesday."
Their biggest issue seems to be protecting the ball; the six turnovers the Bears committed against the Packers (2) and Panthers (4) are their most in back-to-back games in Trestman's two seasons as coach.
The first giveaway Sunday came when Jay Cutler's pass over the middle into double coverage intended for Brandon Marshall was intercepted by safety Roman Harper. Trestman acknowledged Monday that Cutler should have thrown the ball elsewhere on the play.
"The issue was really very easy there," Trestman said. "He had Brandon down the middle. It was a shell coverage. By shell we mean it could be either a two-deep zone or a four-deep coverage and it was a four-deep coverage. Brandon's job was to go down the middle and Jay's job was to read the coverage and make the best decision, and his decision would have to work back outside.
"He tried to get the ball in there, which he's done many times before into Brandon and Brandon's made those kind of plays. But just looking it over, coming off of Brandon and moving on would have been the best situation in that regard."
Trestman has generally been pleased with how Cutler has taken what the defense has given him instead of forcing throws downfield this season. Cutler repeatedly threw checkdown passes Sunday to running back Kyle Long, who had a game-high 12 receptions for 105 yards.
"[Cutler] has been tremendous," Trestman said. "He completed over 77 percent of his passes [Sunday]. He's almost at 70 percent [for the season]. This year his rating is much higher.
"The thing that he knows that he's got to do and we know that we've got to help him do and I've got to help him do is take it one step farther in making the right decisions at the right times to stay out of that mode, and I know he's going to work really hard at it. He has worked tremendously hard to get to this point, but we've got to take care of the football and that starts with me."
Defensively, Trestman felt the Bears did a good job against the run, keeping Cam Newton in the pocket and shutting down top receiver Kelvin Benjamin. But the coach would like to see better results in the red zone after the Panthers scored TDs on all three of their possessions inside-the-20.
With top running backs DeAngelo Williams (ankle) and Jonathan Stewart (knee) both sidelined, Darrin Reaves (11 carries for 35 yards) and Chris Ogbonnaya (8-24) combined for just 59 yards on 19 rushes, an average of 3.1 yards per carry.
Newton completed 19 of 35 passes for 255 yards with two touchdowns, one interception and an 84.8 passer rating. He also lost a fumble when he was sacked by defensive end Willie Young.