It doesn't get much worse than that folks.
In what should have been an easy home victory for the Chicago Bears turned into one of the worst defeats in years. The Bears were able to muster just three points on offense, wasting a number of scoring opportunities. On the other side of the ball, the defense played a solid game, giving up just 252 total yards.
Yet the nail in the coffin came on the last play of the first half. The Chiefs lined 3rd and 10 from the Chicago 38-yard line. Kansas City quarterback Tyler Palko rolled right and heaved a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. LB Brian Urlacher and S Chris Conte knocked the ball out of the air toward the ground, yet right into the waiting hands of Dexter McCluster. The play went for the game-winning touchdown.
LB Brian Urlacher & S Chris Conte
"We were doing what we were supposed to do," said Conte after the game. "You're supposed to knock the ball down and he didn't get blocked out. It's rough."
Injury wise, things were even worse. In the first quarter, RB Matt Forte took the ball off-tackle and was stuffed by ILB Derrick Johnson at the line of scrimmage. Johnson's tackle was low and he crashed right into the ball carrier's right knee. Forte did not return to the game and it was confirmed after the contest he has a sprained MCL.
The Bears also lost S Major Wright for the second half of the game with a shoulder injury. No news yet on the severity of the injury. DE Julius Peppers went to the locker room briefly but returned to the game. LB Brian Urlacher was hobbled by what appeared to be an ankle injury but did not miss any time.
-Caleb Hanie proved today that he's not a starting NFL quarterback. He was inaccurate all afternoon, completing just 11 of 24 pass attempts, and missed a number of open receivers. He threw for just 133 yards and three interceptions. In his first two starts, he's thrown six picks. To put it into perspective, Hanie was outplayed by Palko, who threw for 157 yards, 1TD and 0 INTs.
Hanie's performance today might force Bears brass to re-think signing Donovan McNabb, who cleared waivers last week and is currently a free agent. McNabb may be far over the hill but could he be any worse than Hanie was today?
-Hanie was not helped by the protection up front. The offensive line was horrible for most of the day in pass protection. The group gave up seven sacks and seven quarterback hits. For almost the entire second half, when the Bears were battling in a one-touchdown game, Hanie was running for his life. This front-five performance might be a wake up call to the decision makers on the team. Jay Cutler was able to perform well despite poor protection, but he's a rare breed. Any average quarterback like Hanie cannot succeed with defenders in his face on every drop back.
What was most disappointing up front was the play of RT Lance Louis, who had been dominating on the right edge the past month. Today, he looked slow and confused. Rookie Justin Houston, who had not earned a sack in his NFL career heading into the game, picked up three sacks against Louis.
-The team was at its worst on third downs. The Bears went 0-11 on third down attempts. For the day, Chicago's offense could muster just 181 total yards – 93 on the ground and 88 through the air.
-RB Marion Barber came in for the injured Forte and ran extremely hard. His power running was the only way the Bears were able to move the ball in the second half. Forte is going to be out a while, so Chicago will have to lean heavily on Barber, and Kahlil Bell, going forward. Bell ran very well, rushing for 8.5 yards per carry.
RB Marion Barber
-The Bears had first and goal twice in this game. Both times, Hanie was sacked on two straight plays. The first time knocked the Bears out of field goal range. The second set Chicago up for a 41-yard field goal attempt, which Robbie Gould missed. That's two first and goals, and zero points to show for it.
-WR Johnny Knox was again Hanie's favorite target, leading the team with 5 receptions for 53 yards. Yet his unwillingness to fight for a jump ball led to Hanie's second interception.
-Yet the most egregious mistake of any wide receiver came from Roy Williams. Late in the fourth quarter, the Bears were driving and had a first down at the Kansas City 13-yard line. Hanie dropped back to pass and found Roy Williams over the middle on a crossing pattern. The ball hit Williams in the hands but the receiver bobbled it. He then took a hit, which popped the ball up in the air. Chiefs S Jon McGraw then made a diving grab for the game-sealing interception. I've railed on Williams all season, saying one of his drops was going to cost this team. Sure enough, he drops an easy pass at a crucial time, costing his team the opportunity to tie up the game.
-Overall, Chicago's defense played very well. They gave up just a field goal, outside of the fluke Hail Mary play. Julius Peppers once against in Beast Mode, disrupting both the run and pass games of Kansas City. DE Israel Idonije and DT Henry Melton both picked up a sack, while on the inside, DT Stephen Paea was an immovable force.
-The Bears were lining up S Major Wright in the box throughout the game to stop Kansas City's rushing attack. It worked well, as the defense held the Chiefs' runners to just 3.1 yards per carry. When Wright left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury, Craig Steltz, and not Brandon Meriweather, replaced him. Steltz played well, leading the team in tackles (10) and forcing a fumble.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.