Bears don't give their fans anything to cheer about
CHICAGO -- If being the guests of honor at the city's biggest party of the year couldn't revive the Chicago Bears, there's probably little else that would.
Despite having the previous week off to rest and regroup, the Bears played the same embarrassing football that's become their trademark the last two seasons. They were pushed all over the field by the Green Bay Packers on Monday night, falling to 0-3 with a 38-23 loss that wasn't as close as the score indicated.
And fans at the glitzy new stadium weren't happy about the debacle, booing the Bears before the first quarter was even over.
"I'm embarrassed. I'm angry," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said, clearly livid. "We've got a new house. We've got a great place for our fans, and we let a lot of people down. We've got to realize that."
The Bears realize it. Whether they can do anything about it is a different story.
Aside from Anthony Thomas, who ripped off a career-long, 67-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to cut Green Bay's lead to 24-16, the Bears did little else right.
The offense managed 361 yards, but 168 of that came in the fourth quarter, when the game was already out of reach. Kordell Stewart was 25-of-44 for 201 yards, but he had one interception and no touchdown passes. He also was sacked five times, and seemed to have a Packer in his face on every play.
His quarterback rating? A mere 49.5.
"I think all quarterbacks, and especially a guy like Kordell that has the ability to run the ball, are a lot better when they're third-and-5 or less," offensive coordinator John Shoop said. "And we got ourselves, early in the game, in third-and-longer situations where, not only Kordell, but all quarterbacks obviously become more one-dimensional."
The defense gave up close to 400 yards of total offense for a third straight game. Almost 200 of that -- 187 yards, to be exact -- was on the ground, with Ahman Green averaging 9.3 yards per carry.
The Bears make stopping the run their priority every week, but Green had holes as wide as those Escalades the players like so much. The game wasn't even three minutes old when he faked left on cornerback Jerry Azumah, juked right and sprinted 60 yards for Green Bay's first touchdown.
"We thought we could stop the run. That's our No. 1 goal every week is to take the running backs out of the game," linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "But we just didn't do it again."
Didn't stop the pass, either. Brett Favre did his usual number on the Bears, going 21-of-30 for 179 yards and three touchdowns. He had what seemed to be hours to throw, and his receivers were wide open almost the entire night.
Favre is 19-4 against the Bears, including 10 straight road wins.
"We just didn't make plays, man," Urlacher said. "The whole season we haven't made plays when we have to. When we get third-and-2, third-and-3, we need to make a stop and we don't do it.
"We're always prepared, that's why I don't understand why we don't play better," Urlacher said. "We're prepared to play, we just don't. ... We go out there and make screw-ups."
PACKERS 38, BEARS 23
Green Bay 17 7 0 14 -- 38
; Chicago 0 6 3 14 -- 23
; First Quarter
GB--A.Green 60 run (Longwell kick), 11:55.
GB--FG Longwell 34, 2:32.
GB--A.Green 6 run (Longwell kick), :19.
Chi--FG Edinger 31, 9:07.
GB--Henderson 14 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 3:51.
Chi--FG Edinger 38, :48.
Chi--FG Edinger 41, :02.
Chi--A.Thomas 67 run (Edinger kick), 12:36.
GB--J.Walker 9 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 8:51.
GB--Franks 1 pass from Favre (Longwell kick), 4:21.
Chi--Stewart 1 run (Edinger kick), 1:28.
GB ; Chi
First downs 20 23
; Total Net Yards 380 361
; Rushes-yards 25-187 28-181
; Passing 193 180
; Punt Returns 1-5 1-11
; Kickoff Returns 5-120 7-118
; Interceptions Ret. 2-13 1-3
; Comp-Att-Int 22-31-1 25-44-2
; Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0 5-21
; Punts 3-39.3 5-32.4
; Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
; Penalties-Yards 4-38 6-62
; Time of Possession 27:31 32:29
; INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING--Green Bay, A.Green 19-176, Fisher 4-12, J.Walker 1-1, Pederson 1-(minus 2). Chicago, A.Thomas 13-110, Stewart 12-71, Peterson 1-3, White 1-1, Abdullah 1-(minus 4).
PASSING--Green Bay, Favre 21-30-1-179, Pederson 1-1-0-14. Chicago, Stewart 25-44-2-201.
RECEIVING--Green Bay, J.Walker 5-41, Driver 4-50, Henderson 4-47, A.Green 4-4, Franks 3-39, Fisher 2-12. Chicago, Terrell 7-48, Clark 6-63, Booker 3-34, White 2-26, Abdullah 2-14, Pritchett 2-6, A.Thomas 2-4, Lyman 1-6.
MISSED FIELD GOALS--None.