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‘One of our weaknesses’: Bears overrun by first-half penalties

Bears coach John Fox argues a call with line judge Bart Longson on Sunday. (AP)

Not even halftime stopped the Bears from getting flagged Sunday.

Offensive lineman Bradley Sowell was penalized for unnecessary roughness on a field goal after the clock expired in the first half, bringing the Bears’ first-half total to 73 yards — matching their highest full-game total of the year.

The Bears had seven first-half flags, and four more — including two on the same play — that were declined.

“We’re not good enough to overcome that,” coach John Fox said.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara’s 29-yard pass-interference penalty in the second quarter led to the Packers’ only touchdown of the first half, a 37-yard run by Ty Montgomery.


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All but two of the 11 total flags were on the Bears’ offense — not a stat befitting a team coming off a bye week.

“We’re going to analyze that because we know it’s one of our weaknesses,” quarterback Mitch Trubisky said. “We’re only hurting ourselves. It’s nothing they’re doing schematically. It’s just [that] everyone has to lock in, do our jobs and get better.”

After a cleaner second half, they finished with a season-high 78 penalty yards on eight penalties.

Long gets one play

Guard Kyle Long was on the active roster two weeks after injuring a finger on his left hand against the Saints, but he appeared for only one play. Because Long didn’t start, Hroniss Grasu played center and Cody Whitehair right guard.

“We wouldn’t have suited [Long] up if he wasn’t healthy,” Fox said. “I didn’t think maybe he was going to get the load of a whole game.”

Long had his finger in a cast after hurting it in the first quarter against the Saints, but Fox said then he opted for using a healthy player instead.

Barth makes three

The Bears opted not to replace Connor Barth during the bye despite the veteran missing four of his last 10 kicks. He rewarded them by making field goals of 44, 45 and 49 yards on a soggy field.

Barth said he spoke to his dad, his de facto coach, when he went home to North Carolina over the bye.

“I was being a little tentative in the first half of the season,” he said. “You gotta be 100 percent confident. I’m finally on the right track.”

This and that

With 15 carries for 54 yards, running back Jordan Howard surpassed 2,000 career rushing yards in his 24th game. Three other Bears have topped 2,000 rushing yards in their first two seasons — Matt Forte, Gale Sayers and Walter Payton — and none did it in fewer games than Howard.

• With Zach Miller on injured reserve with a dislocated knee and Dion Sims sidelined by illness, rookie tight end Adam Shaheen had two catches for 39 yards. He had one catch for two yards entering the game.

“Built up a little confidence catching the ball,” he said. “I hadn’t caught one in a few weeks.”

• Running back Tarik Cohen had one carry for one yard and one reception for 10.

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.