A somber Marc Trestman took the podium after Sunday afternoon's 33-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers and spoke primarily about two plays. Both came with Chicago on defense, and both had a significant impact on the outcome of the game which ended the Bears' season and vaulted their rivals to the north into the playoffs.
The first will go down as one of the oddest touchdowns allowed in Bears history. Midway through the second quarter, with the Packers facing 1st and 10 from the Bears' 17 yard line, Julius Peppers hit Aaron Rodgers' hand as the Packers quarterback was preparing to pass. The ball flew forward nine yards and landed on the ground, with every player on the field assuming an incomplete pass had been called.
But the play was still live, and Packers wide receiver grabbed the ball before seeing his sideline yelling for him to run the ball in. He did just that, and the play resulted in a 15-yard touchdown. The play was reviewed, and replays clearly showed the ball being knocked out of Rodgers' hand before his arm moved forward.
Trestman was perplexed that none of his 11 defenders thought to pick the ball up when they didn't hear a whistle.
"There's never been a time where I've blown the whistle in practice and the ball was on the ground and we didn't scoop and score with it," he said. "We've never allowed the ball to sit on the ground in practice.
"I didn't hear a whistle, so I was as curious as everybody else, why no one was moving toward the ball. I was completely disappointed."
The second play, Aaron Rodgers' 4th-and-8 touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 38 seconds left, also disappointed Trestman, but for different reasons.
The Bears head coach explained that the Bears had a zero-blitz on, and when Packers fullback John Kuhn chipped Peppers it bought Aaron Rodgers time to escape the pocket and find Cobb, who was left wide open for a 48-yard touchdown on a man-coverage breakdown.
"Aaron was able to get outside and we just lost coverage with our eyes in the backfield," Trestman said. "And once Aaron Rodgers got outside the pocket, anything can happen. You have to marvel that he was running to his left and made that throw. And he's a great player and it's hard for any defender to hold on to that coverage for so long."