A lot went wrong for the Bears in Sunday's 31-24 loss to the Carolina, from special teams miscues to turnovers by the offense in key situations. The loss dropped the team to 2-3 on the season, and with another tough road game versus an NFC South opponent just days away, Chicago is hoping to correct those mistakes quickly.
Given how disappointing the loss was, players and coaches were upbeat Monday addressing the loss to the Panthers on local radio shows. Head coach Marc Trestman, for one, said he sees the game against Carolina as a learning experience, but it did not alter his view of his team long-term.
"The bottom line is it's there for us, our guys are willing to go back to work to try and get it done, and we've got things in perspective," Trestman said on WBBM-780's 'Chicago Bears Coaches Show.' "We can't accept what happened (Sunday), we need to build that sense of urgency that a game like (Carolina) brought to us. But there's a lot of good things going on too, and I still look at the glass half full.
"I think we are working in that direction but we have to get it all together."
One area the team would like to improve is its play in the second half. The Bears had as many points as turnovers after halftime – three each – versus Carolina, and the team felt it gave the game away after being up by 14 points in the first half. It marked the third straight game the team has struggled to put up points after intermission, with six total points over their last six second-half quarters.
Quarterback Jay Cutler, speaking on WMVP-1000's 'Jay Cutler Show,' said that the team realizes they could have earned the victory over the Panthers if they had executed better in all three phases of the game.
"It's a game we should have won. It's a game we gave away at the end," Cutler said. "We did some good things in the first half and just let it slip away in the second."
Cutler said the team is optimistic that a turnaround is likely given the talent the Bears have on their roster, especially on offense. Wide receiver Brandon Marshall was the forgotten man in the offense on Sunday, as he was targeted only five times, hauling in just three receptions. Much of that had to do with the defense Carolina was playing, as the Panthers played mostly deep-zone coverage, forcing the quarterback to go underneath to running back to Kyle Long and not deep to Marshall.
"I'm very confident in the guys that we have in that offensive huddle. We can turn it around fairly quickly," Cutler said. "It starts during the week, we have to make sure everyone is locked in to the details and knows exactly what their assignment is, knows what their adjustment is. Know why we are running the play and what we are trying to accomplish with each and every play. And guy have to take some ownership. "
Cutler owned up to his own mistakes, including two costly interceptions. Both of them came through the quarterback forcing throws into windows that were not open, a problem he is working to correct.
Facing the Falcons this coming Sunday, the quarterback is looking to put those issues behind him and continue the positive things he did, including completing more than 71 percent of his passes.
"(Jay's) a professional," quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh said on the ''Chicago Bears Coaches Show.' "Playing that position, it's probably like playing cornerback in this league, you need to have a short memory. We are not going to ask him to not throw the ball, he throws the ball really well. As his coach, I'll tell you I thought he made two poor decisions in the game, and everything else was pretty good. But those two decisions, at those times, killed us.
"He can have a short memory, because he has a lot of confidence."
Against Atlanta, the Bears' offense will need to be mistake free to keep up with the Falcons' attack, which is loaded with talented players such as Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and Roddy White.
"We have our hands full," Trestman said. "They have a lot more guys offensively that are special players."