CHICAGO - Frustration boiled over in the aftermath of the Bengals 24-21 Opening Day loss that had head coach Marvin Lewis seething over his team's lack of composure and the way some of the calls came down.
Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga's roughing call on third down prevented the Bengals from getting the ball back with 1:06 left when he threw down Bears rookie right tackle Jordan Mills after the play.
"We had a lot of guys lose their composure today. We can't do that. Their guy is blocking them after the whistle. You think it would be offsetting fouls. But today we didn't get any offsets," Lewis said.
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick also gave the Bears a field goal at the end of the half when he hit a Bear out of bounds on a punt. The two flags were part of an ugly eight penalties for 84 yards, more than the Bengals rushing yaradge of 63 yards on 21 carries.
"He guy hit our guy out of bounds late on our sideline," Lewis said. "We can't retaliate. That's not what our team does. Unfortunately today we let them get under our skin. We did it twice today. We can't do that."
It was a messy loss all the way around as the Bengals blew a 21-10 third-quarter lead with three turnovers as well as squandering all three timeouts on defense in the second half with 8:06 left in the game against the first-year Bears coaching staff. The last two came after consecutive third-and-two and fourth-and-one plays inside the Bengals 30 en route to the go-ahead Bears touchdown.
"We had injuries at linebacker. They were confused by different personnels," Lewis said. "That's my fault that those guys had to make those calls."
Lewis also wasn't happy with the questioning about the final 1:43 of the half, which was an unmitigated disaster from the time Bengals punt returner Adam Jones allowed the ball to sail over his head to his own 12 to Chicago's Robbie Gould kicking a career-long 58-yard field goal with 11 seconds left.
Kirkpatrick's personal foul was in that mess on the punt when the Bengals mercifully kicked it away with 42 seconds left and he retaliated on the sidelines. After running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis got blown up for a four-yard loss, the Bengals threw an incompletion with 59 seconds left and got the Bears interested enough to call their last timeout before the punt.
"You want to pull our pants completely down?" Lewis asked. "I'm trying to get the first down. I don't just want to give up. Or you're asking about the other side of that story."
WILL linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who looked like he had sealed the win with an interception with more than 13 minutes left, was furious tight end Kyle Adams tackled him with a low shot to the knee that sent him limping off, but he returned on the next series and gutted it out in admirable fashion. He said he's fine and wouldn't talk about the injury with indications he's got some kind of a bruised quad.
"C'mon now. I'm not looking," Burifct said. "Are you scared to go up top? We're at their home, they get that. I feel like the refs were with them the whole game."
"I feel like we folded a little bit," Burfict said. "They had what, 97 yards at half? I feel like we folded a little bit. All of our leaders have to get in the film room tomorrow and have a chat without the coaches in there. How can we prevent this."
Burfict didn't think it was a discipline problem.
"They were talking a whole lot. They're at their home and some guys just didn't ignore it. The second guy always gets caught. What happened with Rey, the guy was pushing Rey and Rey was trying to get off him and slung him to the ground. That's something he can learn from. I'm just happy it happened now and not in the playoffs."
Lewis wasn't happy with questions about the snafu at the end of the half in wihch the Bengals gave the Bears a field goal with poor clock management. He said he wanted to try and get more points even though they were backed up, had a 14-7 lead and the Bears had just one timeout left.
How frustrating was it? The defense that set the franchise record for sacks last season had none against a retooled Bears offensive line. And that vaunted nickel package allowed Chicago to convert four of six third downs in the second half.
GREEN BONANZA: A.J. Green had the second-biggest day of his career with 162 yards on nine catches. But he was thinking about the points he cost the team when he let an easy catch go off his hands at the Bears 17 midway through the second quarter.
"Took my eye off it," Green said. "This team is going to be crazy once we stop killing ourselves."
AC COOLS OFF PEPPERS: Backup left tackle Anthony Collins asked the coaches not to give him any help against Bears end Julius Peppers and letting him go one-on-one against the future Hall of Famer and he rewarded them by offering a flawless effort in keeping Peppers out of the sack column.
"He's a man. A $100 million man, but I'm a grown man, too," Collins said.
Peppers didn't even appear on the stat sheet. But Collins wondered how the Bengals could lose their composure.
"We got kicked in the (butt). We got kicked in the (butt). We really did," Collins said. "We let them get in our head. We need to learn from every point. Offense, defense, special teams. Penalties. Everything. We need to learn from this. I'm glad this happend now so we can be straight for the rest of the season. It's hard not (to retaliate). Especially with all these fines they're handing out. It's very hard ... but Coach Lew says we have to (play through it)."
Collins wouldn't divulge how he stopped the 111.5-sack man Peppers in his 19th NFL start in his sixth NFL season.
"I might play him again in the Super Bowl," Collins said. "Can't tell you."