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Jay Cutler and Matt Forte: Bears can’t win with only 8 rushes

It would have been easier to find a foam cheesehead Monday at Halas Hall than someone who thought running the ball eight times was a winning strategy.

“There’s no one out there who can drop back 40-50 times consistently and win football games,” quarterback Jay Cutler said. “It’s really hard.”

The franchise of Walter Payton and Gale Sayers had never run the ball as few times in one game as the Bears did in Thursday’s 34-17 loss in Detroit. Don’t expect the Bears to do it again Thursday against the Cowboys at Solider Field.

“It’s of the utmost importance, especially if we’re playing outside, with the weather and stuff,” running back Matt Forte said. “You can’t just sit back there and throw 50 passes a game and expect to win.”

While the Bears believed short passes were simply an extension of their run game, an actual run game would have been nice.

“The only thing I could say is we didn’t run it enough,” coach Marc Trestman said. “We would have liked to run it more.”

Then why didn’t they?

The plan, offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer said, was to throw screens and quick passes early to loosen up Lions’ magnificent run defense, and run the ball later in the game. The problem, he said, was that the Bears fell behind in the second quarter.

Still, someone said, they trailed by only 10 points at halftime, and the Bears received to start the second half. They could have run, right?

“Yeah, that’s a good point,” Kromer said. “And I think in the future, that will happen.”

Trestman told his players they don’t need to average seven yards per rush. The threat — what Cutler called “the illusion that you’re going to run the ball” — would have been enough to open up play-action and other movement plays.

“We all know these things,” Trestman said. “And so we’ll try to do more of that.”

The quarterback thinks they should.

“You want to throw the ball, you want to throw touchdowns, you want to throw for big yards,” Cutler said. “But you definitely want to win football games.

“And I think anyone who has been doing this for a while realizes that you’ve got to have the best of both worlds. You’ve got to move the pocket, you’ve got to be able to run the ball, you’ve got to do some play-action. You’ve got to mix it up.”

Forte said the Lions’ linemen weren’t worried about the anything but a pass rush.

“They’re not respecting the run,” Forte said. “And then if you play-fake, they’re not going take the play-fake because you haven’t been running the ball.”

And, yes, we’re still having this conversation.

During the bye week, Trestman and general manager Phil Emery preached the need for balance. Since then, the Bears have thrown 158 attempts — completing 102 — and run only 89 times.

You can blame the fact the Bears fell disastrously behind early in Green Bay, that they were married to the Detroit game plan, or that their Penalty-Palooza on offense has forced passing situations.

Excuses aside, though, their balance Thursday was worse than Maggie Simpson.

”I don’t think it has been the way we wanted it to be, but we’re still pushing for that,” Trestman said. “We’re making every attempt to do that.

“This week gives us another opportunity to try to put it all together, and that’s what we’re focused on with this Dallas team.”

The same Cowboys, it must be noted, the Bears beat by 17 last year.

They ran threw 36 times and ran — wait for it — on 32 occasions.

“I remember,” guard Kyle Long said, “we ran the crap out of the ball.”

Seems a long time ago, doesn’t it?

Email: pfinley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @patrickfinley