CHICAGO — One of the things we have learned about coach Marc Trestman since Bourbonnais is his emphasis on avoiding penalties.
Until Sunday, the Bears were one of the best in the league.
Then, against the Ravens, the discipline and focus we had seen all year was gone, making it that much more impressive the Bears got out of Soldier Field with a 23-20 overtime win.
They entered the game with 40 penalties on the season, the fourth-fewest in the league, and committed 13 penalties for 111 yards, more than twice their previous season high of six. And, they had three other penalties declined.
“We had too many penalties, too many pre-snap penalties today that really inhibited our ability to function as well as we would have liked,” Trestman said.
Starting for Charles Tillman, Zack Bowman had five penalties (one was declined), including a horse-collar tackle on third down, allowing the Ravens to extend their fourth-quarter drive.
Martellus Bennett had two false start penalties. Corey Wootton and Julius Peppers each jumped into the neutral zone. Chris Conte got a defensive pass interference in the end zone. Brandon Marshall and Roberto Garza each committed holding penalties. Michael Ford’s offsides penalty on the opening kickoff of overtime cost the Bears 16 yards.
When discussing quarterback Josh McCown’s performance, Trestman referred back to the penalties and why it was so important that McCown protected the football.
“Even before [McCown] can be efficient, he’s got to take care of it. That’s really the No. 1 reason we were able to hang in the game with all the penalties that we had,” he said. “The penalties really hurt us. And they were penalties that we were in control of as much as anything. Pre-snap penalties that continued drives and put us back on offense.”
Clutch Jeffery: Alshon Jeffery led the Bears in receiving with seven catches for 83 yards. Six of his receptions went for first downs, and three of those came on third down.
Run ‘D’ struggles again: Ray Rice became the fourth starting running back this season to rush for his season-high total against the Bears. He had 131 yards on 25 carries, 57 yards more than his previous best this year. His 5.2-yard rushing average more than doubled his season average.
Strong debut: Defensive end Cheta Ozougwu made an impact in his first game this season. He was elevated from the practice squad Saturday and got a strip-sack of Joe Flacco on fourth down. He also participated on the Bears’ kickoff teams.
Another injury: Defensive tackle Stephen Paea left the game in the second quarter with a toe injury and did not return. He missed games against the Giants and Saints with turf toe on his left foot, and he was seen wearing a boot on that foot in the locker room Sunday.