The Chicago Bears have not been able to get their offense rolling in normal weeks. Now they will try something entirely different.
With only a few days to prepare for Thursday's game at Detroit, the Bears will try to find a way to score in a first quarter and start faster than they have in their last six games.
"It's a challenge, but it's something that's universal throughout the league -- everybody's playing Thursday night games," coach Marc Trestman said Monday at Halas Hall. "We've all had experience in putting game plans together and knowing how much information the guys can handle going into a game without practice time."
Trestman said the thinking behind the game plan will have to be to "... at least keep thinking at a minimum and go out there and play. Everything we're doing today is designed to put a plan in tomorrow that they can handle and function in, get on a plane the next day and go play a game."
The offense has been anything but game-ready much of the season with normal preparation time. On Sunday, the Bears gained 68 yards and three first downs during the first half. They trailed 10-0 before the defense triggered a comeback to beat Tampa Bay and former Bears coach Lovie Smith, 21-13.
"I think it's been disturbing that we haven't been able to move the ball the way we would like to in games; that's a fact," Trestman said.
The Bears have trailed 10-0 or worse in each of the last five games before the offense scored.
"It's hard to get into a rhythm playing like that," quarterback Jay Cutler said after Sunday's win. "It's happened a few times to us. It's unacceptable."
Cutler said Trestman challenged offensive players at halftime Sunday and it could have been a factor in better production.
"Verbally, we questioned guys, made sure everyone was in this for the right reasons, made sure when we left that locker room everyone's mind was right on what we wanted to accomplish," Cutler said.
Tackle Jermon Bushrod called it a situation requiring more than one or two players to step forward and correct.
"We all took our turns messing up, and we had to find a way to come together and that's what we did," he said.
Cutler rarely threw down the field Sunday, and finished with 130 yards.
"We didn't go up the field as much as we would have liked to," Trestman said, blaming penalties for some of the pullback.
Before the win over Tampa Bay, coaches had talked about moving Cutler around in the pocket more, as they had done against Minnesota. It never happened.
"We were so out of sequence in the first half, we didn't get as much opportunity to do that," Trestman said. "We did it a couple times."
Tight end Martellus Bennett caught two passes when Cutler rolled out of the pocket, but the Bears' offense struggled along and had only one long scoring drive: 58 yards for a touchdown to start the second half. The other two TD drives were 13 and 15 yards after Tampa Bay turnovers.
"In the second half we were fortunate we had the short fields because of turnovers and the one drive," Trestman said. "Pretty good field position (Sunday)."
Offensive players know they have to improve because their defense will be challenged more Thursday — and not simply because of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Detroit's offense.
"We're just trying to focus on what we can do better and that is to be more consistent on offense and to use opportunities to make plays," Trestman said. "We need to do that from start to finish. We haven't done that the last couple weeks.
"We've finished, but we haven't started the way we'd like."
NOTES: Bears linebacker Lance Briggs suffered a groin injury in Sunday's game, and cornerback Kyle Fuller a knee injury. Trestman had no further information whether either will be available, saying only it's "an on-going situation" and they would be updated Tuesday.
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