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CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman ran through the faults he saw in his team during its latest loss and it sure sounded familiar.
The Bears have dropped six of their last eight games, occupy last place in the NFC North and are playing more like a team expecting one of the top picks in the draft than one that expected to challenge for a division title.
"We didn't have any kind of consistency," Trestman said Tuesday, one day after a dispiriting 31-15 home loss to the Saints. "We had really no kind of passing game early in the game, for the first half. It was certainly not good enough. That's all there is to it."
When Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitted to the team last week he'd been the anonymous source for a story criticizing quarterback Jay Cutler, the perceived betrayal sent ripples through the team. Players and Trestman insisted that had little or nothing to do with Monday's game, in which the Chicago offense gained only 278 yards against a 31st-ranked Saints defense that had allowed more than 400 yards in four straight games.
"People make mistakes; we're not perfect," tackle Jordan Mills said of Kromer. "That had nothing to do with our focus this week. He apologized for it and we moved on for it. He was sincere about it. ... None of that affected us. We just need to be more consistent."
Cutler had three interceptions and was sacked seven times. Prior to an abbreviated postgame press conference, he told WBBM-AM that any effect from the Kromer comments diminished through the week.
"Monday was different," Cutler said of the day Kromer told the team. "I think Tuesday, Wednesday we adjusted fine. By Thursday, we were back to game planning and football. We just had to do the press conferences and do that. But it didn't affect me preparing for the game. It didn't affect the rest of the guys, I think, preparing for the game."
Kromer had suggested Cutler has problems reading defenses and changing out of running plays against certain formations. Following Monday's game, the Saints said they saw evidence of this so they disguised their coverages.
"Don't tell them (Cutler) what (defense) you're in," cornerback Keenan Lewis said. "Make them figure it out at the last minute. There was a lot of success doing that. By film study, we watched that and saw a couple teams do the same thing and have success."
When asked whether Cutler was off his game, Trestman said: "I was off my game. Our entire group was off their game tonight."
Penalties again plagued the Bears offense and special teams, and Trestman took the blame for the punt team lining up with only 10 men to try a failed fake punt.
"We should have had 11 players, but we had 10," Trestman said. "I'm responsible for that."
There were nearly 11,000 no-shows and the Bears left to a chorus of boos at halftime for a team now 5-9 on the year and 13-17 in two seasons under Trestman. The Bears were 10-6 in 2012, the final season under Lovie Smith before he was fired.
The team is trying to keep its focus on Sunday's home finale with Detroit and the season finale with Minnesota.
"There's a lot of good things going on with our football team, but the bottom line is that we aren't winning," Trestman said. "There's a lot of guys working hard. There's a bunch of guys getting better. We are developing young guys.
"But the bottom line is that this is a business based on winning and losing. We can't sugarcoat it. We are disappointed that we're not playing well enough to win and we haven't in the last three games."
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