LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman had no major problem with Jay Cutler's decisions. His fundamentals were another issue.
Cutler threw three interceptions, lost a fumble and the Bears fell for the first time under Trestman with their 40-32 defeat in Detroit on Sunday. With Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints coming in this weekend, Chicago (3-1) can't afford a letdown from anyone, let alone its quarterback.
Against the Lions, the Bears were outplayed in just about every area. The defense gave up 139 yards rushing to Reggie Bush. Special teams struggled, but Cutler stood out for all the wrong reasons.
"I don't think what happened yesterday means that it has to happen next week or the week after," Trestman said. "It could, but we're working to prevent those situations from happening. We got guys committed to do that."
Cutler's sound mechanics and decision-making helped lead the Bears to three straight wins to start the season. But he sent out a reminder on Sunday that for all his talent, he's still prone to the sort of performance that leaves others shaking their head while wondering if he can lead a team to a Super Bowl.
Poor footwork led to an underthrown floater and an interception that Glover Quin returned 42 yards to the Chicago 2. That led to a 2-yard TD catch for Calvin Johnson.
In the third quarter, Louis Delmas picked off a pass that sailed on Cutler. Then, Cutler held on too long before getting sacked by Ndamukong Suh, and Nick Fairley returned the fumble 4 yards for a score that put Detroit up 37-16 late in the quarter.
"I see him do so many things in practice, moving his feet and doing the right things," Trestman said. "But he's got to hang onto the ball on the quick throw he had to the left backed up. He dropped the ball down. He put it in one hand. He's got to have it in two hands and he's got to throw it away or move on. He was trying to make something happen there late and he let his fundamentals go there as well. These are things he's done better this year and we're just going to continue to work at them."
Cutler has eight touchdowns and eight turnovers this season (six interceptions, two lost fumbles), and he's coughed it up about as many times as he's found the end zone in his career.
He has 144 TD passes in eight seasons with Chicago and Denver. Cutler also has 106 interceptions and 24 lost fumbles, be it because of poor protection or his gunslinger approach.
It's no secret he took a big beating the past few years in Chicago playing behind one of the league's worst lines, but the Bears upgraded in a big way in the offseason, adding four new starters.
Protection hasn't been a major issue this year, and it wasn't against the Lions, even if center Roberto Garza pointed at the line.
"Well it starts with all five guys up front and we don't stop the penetration and allow Jay to not scramble as much as he had to," he said. "He's got to be able to step in the pocket and finish his throwing his motion. It falls on squarely our shoulders to protect him and that's one of the keys to winning the football game, you have to protect your quarterback and get the running game established."
Trestman wasn't exactly buying that the line was to blame. He said the Bears did "more than a sufficient job protecting the quarterback," particularly given the flow of the game.
Cutler threw 47 passes but was sacked just three times. His decisions weren't the problem, either. His footwork was a different story.
"We sat in the meeting and Jay expressed his sense of accountability," Trestman said. "It all starts with me. I said there are some calls I'd like to have back and I want to take responsibility for that and as I did with the team. We're just going to work together . the corrections are we've got to get back and work on fundamentals and techniques, not only at the quarterback position but throughout our team."
Notes: Trestman said CB Charles Tillman is feeling better after being bothered by knee and groin problems in recent weeks. "I talked to (trainer) Chris Hanks this morning about it and he feels that we'll get a better Charles Tillman next week than we had this week and I thought he played well when he was in there," Trestman said. He also said DT Stephen Paea (bruised toe) will be monitored the next few days, but he doesn't expect him to miss the Saints game.