CHICAGO | Marc Trestman would not allow his Bears to hoist him upon their shoulders and carry him off the Soldier Field turf.
Sunday's 24-21 win over Cincinnati was a great way to open the season, but hopefully the Bears didn't use up all their mojo.
This was a game the Bengals should've won. Coach Marvin Lewis certainly thought so.
"We had the lead (21-17) going into the fourth quarter and we got outplayed down the stretch," Lewis said, biting his lip in disgust. "We made it difficult on ourselves. You can't come in here and turn the football over ... and the (eight) penalties we had.
"We could've played better and won the game."
That's not sour grapes. That's an aching gut.
The Bears scored the game's final 14 points, had 14 points off turnovers, and rallied from a 21-10 deficit against a team many believe could reach the Super Bowl.
Trestman knows the Bears were lucky, though he can't say it.
He knows a rebuilt offensive line that didn't allow a sack can't be that good, this early.
He knows second-half comebacks are rare against elite teams.
He knows the very talented Matt Forte has to be more productive than 19 carries for 50 yards — a 2.6 average.
He knows return specialist Devin Hester has to become ridiculous once again, the sooner, the better.
He knows Brandon Marshall can't do it all, though try telling Marshall.
He knows cornerback Charles ''Peanut" Tillman can still bring it as he did Sunday with two interceptions. But Tillman has a difficult time against superstar receivers like A.J. Green, who faked No. 33 out of his cleats on several occasions and drew a costly pass interference call.
He also knows, against real competition, that Jay Cutler is at his best when he scrambles. It opens the whole field like a giant sink hole.
"Our goal was all about getting our line and our protection package organized, to keep Jay clean, so that's what we tried to do," Trestman said. "And we tried to stick in some runs."
Just what did the big win mean to the 14th head coach in Bears history?
"I really don't tend to think about it," Trestman replied. "All I asked of them was to go out there and be great teammates to each other. They played 60 minutes of football. I give them all the credit."
Let the man walk off the field if he chooses.
He knows it's all about the players.