No excuses, say Bears

Turnovers, not late arrival, get blame for loss

December 21, 2009|By Don Markus | don.markus@baltsun.com

The way Lovie Smith saw it, the difference between the Chicago Bears and the Ravens on Sunday couldn't be measured in the amount of time his team had spent in Baltimore after its trip here was delayed by the snowstorm.

"We're not going to make excuses," the beleaguered Bears coach said after a 31-7 loss to the Ravens. "We get paid to play. We got to the stadium and had an opportunity to play the game, so none of that matters."

Or as Jay Cutler, the Bears' equally beleaguered quarterback, said: "We got here in plenty of time. Everyone was rested up. Everyone was ready to go. There's going to be some bumps in the road. It's not like we came in two hours before game time."

Maybe that would have helped a team that is 5-9 after having lost for the seventh time in the past eight weeks. The difference, as Smith and Cutler saw it, was what has become a theme to the Bears' season: turnovers.

The Bears committed six, including three interceptions by Cutler.

"Turnovers hurt us throughout the day. On the other side of the ball, we didn't take the ball away from them enough times," Smith said. "The game looked like one team was playing for something and the other really wasn't."

The Bears trailed at halftime by only 14-7 despite Cutler's throwing interceptions on the team's first two possessions and then failing to hit tight end Greg Olsen on fourth-and-goal from the Ravens' 1-yard line.

After the Ravens opened their lead to 21-7 to start the second half, a fumble on the ensuing kickoff return by Rashied Davis that was recovered at the Bears' 29 turned into another touchdown for the Ravens.

The road team that had arrived to its destination a day late was all but done more than a quarter early.

"They came out and played harder than we did and made more plays than we did," Bears safety Kevin Payne said.

Said Smith, "That's been our season. We've had opportunities so many times, and when it could go either way, we couldn't make the plays to get over the hump."

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