DETROIT — Inept at almost everything they tried in their 20-10 loss to the -Lions on Saturday, the Bears finally found their niche in the fourth quarter: moving backward. Over the course of three fourth-quarter plays, the Bears went from their 8-yard line to the 1.
Blame it on holding penalties by center Hroniss Grasu and receiver Josh Bellamy and Mitch Trubisky’s delay-of-game penalty.
“It’s hard to win like that, and it’s hard when your offense has to start back there,” receiver Kendall Wright said. “What play can you really call back there?”
Does it matter? The Bears finished with 13 penalties for 97 yards, both season highs. It felt twice as bad when DeAndre Houston-Carson’s holding penalty wiped out Tarik Cohen’s 90-yard second-quarter kickoff return, which counted for only 10 yards.
“It’s like a shoelace tackle — ‘Dang, almost had that one,’ ” Cohen said. “That’s basically the same thing, a penalty after a 90-yard return.
“Just being so close, you want those to go the other way. You just got to get back out there and do it again.”
Mercifully, coach John Fox and the Bears (4-10) only have two games left. This late in the season, six days after their most dominant victory in five years, the Bears looked as undisciplined as they have all season. That’s the coach’s fault. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman had a 15-yard unnecessary-roughness penalty on the first play of the game.
“I think some of it was some new guys in because of some guys we lost,” said Fox, who briefed his players on the tendencies of Jeff Triplette’s officiating crew. “That’s not an excuse. It’s just reality.”
It’s neither. Grasu was one of two Bears players flagged who didn’t start the game.
Veteran starting cornerbacks committed the two most terrible offenses. In the first quarter, Kyle Fuller was flagged for illegal use of hands on a third-down incomplete pass. The Lions would eventually settle for the first of two Matt Prater field goals. On the next drive, after Fox inexplicably punted on fourth-and-one at the Bears’ 45, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw an incomplete pass on third-and-eight that was nullified by Prince Amukamara’s holding call. The Lions would later score on Stafford’s three-yard pass to T.J. Jones.
“Can’t win games like that,” inside linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “It’s one bad day at the office.”
With two games left, Amukamara said the coaching staff doesn’t want players to think about job security.
“I think that’s [what] we’re worried about, is trying to win these two games,” he said. “And then we’ll address that at the end, see what happens then.”
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