Despite a costly mistake late, Bears coach John Fox was pleased with how quarterback Jay Cutler performed in Sunday's 31-23 season-opening loss to the Packers.
Cutler helped the offense produce points on four of its first five possessions before being intercepted by outside linebacker Clay Matthews with 3:41 left in the fourth quarter and the Bears trailing 24-16. Matthews lined up to the right and ranged over to the left side of the field to pick off the pass.
"You know, it happens," Fox said. "It's part of the game. I saw it being a great play by [Matthews]. I thought Jay's performance was good today. But against this football team, we weren't quite as good as we needed to be."
Cutler completed 18 of 36 passes for 225 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 67.5 passer rating. The Bears quarterback did his best work on third down, connecting on 8 of 10 passes for 123 yards—including completions of 50 and 25 yards—and a 117.9 passer rating.
"I think he did a tremendous job of managing our game, getting us in the right position, making the right calls, and protecting the ball for us," said left tackle Jermon Bushrod. "When it was his time to get back there and throw the ball, he did. He did a good job.
"We're all trying to get better. I think we have to build off this. I've been in this locker room and we've had losses and I just don't want to talk to anyone. But we fought and competed and that's all we can ask for."
Welcome back:** After missing the entire preseason with a calf injury, receiver Alshon Jeffery started Sunday and caught five passes for a game-high 78 yards.
"For not to be out there really at all this week and missing three, four weeks of the preseason, I thought he did well," Cutler said. "He didn't have any assignment issues. He knew what we were playing. He knew what we were calling. He lined up and did exactly what we wanted to do. Hopefully we can continue to grow on this and get him back to full time."
Fellow receivers Marquess Wilson and Eddie Royal, both of whom were listed as questionable on the injury report like Jeffery, also played. Wilson caught two passes for 59 yards including a career-long 50-yarder, while Royal had one reception for eight yards.
Tough day: Bears defensive backs gave up big plays Sunday. Cornerback Alan Ball got beat by James Jones for touchdown catches of 13 and 1 yards. Nickel back Sherrick McManis allowed Randall Cobb's 5-yard TD reception. And cornerback Kyle Fuller drew a 34-yard pass interference penalty at the Chicago 2 that led to a Green Bay touchdown on the next play.
Asked about the culpability of the defensive backs, Fox said: "It's really hard to pin this loss on one person or somebody or some unit. I'm not really big into that anyway. We didn't play as good as we needed to play to beat that football team today."
Gould records: Robbie Gould set all-time Bears records with his first two field goals Sunday, breaking ties with Kevin Butler in both cases. Gould's 28-yarder in the first quarter was the 244th of his career and his 50-yarder in the second period was his 17th of at least 50 yards.
This and that: The only Bears player who exited with an injury Sunday and did not return was defensive end Cornelius Washington (quad). ... Cornerback Tracy Porter (hamstring) and linebacker Jonathan Bostic (ankle) did not play due to injuries. Quarterback David Fales, running back Ka'Deem Carey, center Hroniss Grasu, tackle Tayo Fabuluje and receiver Cameron Meredith also were inactive. ... Before the game, the Bears paid tribute to former players Doug Buffone and Mike Pyle, both of whom passed away during the offseason.