Bears quarterback Jim Miller did his best last week to fire up his team with tough words of warning.
And it worked to the extent that his teammates were unanimous in saying they were a little extra charged for Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles. But while added intensity may well have contributed to one of the defense's better efforts of late, the offense still ran into the same old problems.
"I think guys were very relaxed, very focused," said Miller, returning to the starting lineup after two weeks sidelined with tendinitis in his throwing elbow and shoulder. "When you think about it, you look at all those penalties and we were still in the ballgame.
"That was a very good team we played today. This team is good enough to get it done. We just make crucial mistakes at crucial times, and as a result we're getting losses. That's basically what it is. The only remedy to solve that is to not make those crucial mistakes. That's all you need to do."
Miller, his left (non-throwing) hand wrapped in ice after the game, finished with 205 yards passing on 19-of-36 passing and said he was not limited by his sore arm.
"I'm as good as can be, I guess," he said after the 19-13 loss. "It's a good defense, they got some good hits on me, but I feel fine."
What hurt the Bears was an almost completely unproductive second half on offense, including a key bobble by Dez White on a pitch from Miller in the fourth quarter that gave the Eagles the ball at the Bears' 18-yard line.
David Akers converted a 27-yard field goal, giving the Eagles what turned out to be the winning points.
The Bears had a chance to win on their last drive, getting as far as the Philadelphia 24-yard line with 35 seconds remaining, but Miller threw three incomplete passes to White, John Davis and Marcus Robinson in the end zone on the last play of the game. On the play before the incomplete pass to Robinson, Miller was sacked by Hugh Douglas.
"We had an opportunity to win and those are games we like to be in, close games where it's up to us to do it, and we just fell short," Miller said. "I thought we mixed it up pretty good in the first half and then we got into some third-and-longs and that's not a situation you want to be in against this defense.
"They did a lot of blitzing. But again, it wasn't what they did, it was what we didn't do. We missed a couple protection pick-ups, and things like that cost you football games."
Asked if Miller's return sparked the offense in the first half, even his favorite receiver, Marty Booker, wouldn't bite.
"If you want to say that," Booker said. "No matter who's in there, no matter what happens, you still have to move the ball and you've got to be consistent.
"No matter what quarterback is in there, Jim's return or [Chris] Chandler's return, no matter what, we still have to move the ball and still have to execute in the second half."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times