CHICAGO – Bears running back Matt Forte had a pair of golden opportunities to prove he could punch the ball across the goal line Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.
Instead, Forte fell flat with back-to-back duds.
Many factors played a role in the Bears’ 21-13 loss to the Packers, but Forte’s failures at the goal line deserved a leading credit. In the third quarter with the Bears trailing, 21-7, Forte was stuffed on the 1-yard line on back-to-back possessions on second and third down.
The Bears settled for a field goal by Olindo Mare and did not come as close to the end zone for the rest of the game.
Forte, who finished the game with 20 carries for 69 yards, seemed to point the finger at his teammates on the Bears’ offensive line for his inability to score. He earned the goal-line opportunities in place of Michael Bush, who was active but did not play because of sore ribs.
“On the goal line, the offensive line has got to get movement,” said Forte, who has rushed for three touchdowns in 14 games. “I look for a hole and try to hit it.
“There are going to be unblocked players. My deal is I have to slam it up in there. That’s what I was doing.”
High road: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler declined to implicate wide receiver Devin Hester for his role in a first-half interception that set up a touchdown by the Packers.
A miscommunication by Cutler and Hester resulted in an interception by Packers cornerback Casey Hayward, who returned the ball to the Bears’ 26-yard line. Cutler was animated on the sidelines after the play but would not say whether Hester ran a bad route.
“It came out of my hands," Cutler said. "I’m responsible. Those things can’t happen. That’s how you lose ballgames against good teams like that.”
Asked again about whether Hester ran a different route than expected, Cutler didn’t budge.
“I’m not going to get into it,” Cutler said. “It’s my responsibility.”
Bad idea: Packers coach Mike McCarthy took responsibility for calling a failed trick play on a punt return that gave the Bears terrific field position in the fourth quarter.
On the play, Packers kick returner Randall Cobb fielded the punt and attempted a backward pass across the field to teammate Jeremy Ross. The ball bounced away from Ross, and Bears special-teams player Anthony Walters recovered it at the Packers’ 16-yard line.
“Really, the reason behind the fake punt is that Aaron [Rodgers] had come off with an ankle [injury],” McCarthy said. “We had a couple injuries on the sideline. …
“Now, in the end, it’s not a very good decision. I wish I had that back.”
Bears bits: Linebacker Blake Costanzo made his first career start on defense in place of Geno Hayes, who was inactive because of a knee injury. … Israel Idonije started at defensive tackle in place of Henry Melton, who was inactive because of a chest injury.