Kahlil Bell was asked to take on a major role for Chicago's offense against Seattle, and in doing so, he earned his first NFL touchdown. Yet Bell said he'd have gladly traded his moment of glory for a Bears win.
"It's bittersweet in a way," Bell said. "I was so excited to get that opportunity, that moment. I was hoping that would give us some positive momentum to close out the game."
Bell scored with 1:51 left in the second quarter, putting the team up 14-7 heading into halftime. Yet his 25-yard TD reception, along with Israel Idonije's fumble recovery in the end zone, were the only points the Bears could muster all day. Chicago was outscored 31-0 in the second half.
Bell split time in the backfield with Marion Barber, who had 11 carries for 33 yards. Bell had 65 yards on 15 rushing attempts and five receptions for 43 yards. It was the most action on offense the third-year player has seen in a single game in his career.
RB Kahlil Bell
"I realized when Matt Forte went down a while ago that my number might get called," said Bell. "Nobody wants to see a teammate get hurt but when and if that happens you have to be willing and able to step in. I am using this extra time on the field as a learning experience, soaking up everything I can."
Bell got considerably more attention from Caleb Hanie in the passing game than either veteran Earl Bennett or Roy Williams. Bennett played as the Invisible Man in Hanie's eyes, with only one reception for 20 yards. Williams was a more-frequent target but ended up with just one reception for nine yards.
Bell now feels the pressure to perform but claims that's something with which he's comfortable.
"I am fortunate enough to have good on-field communication with Caleb. He tends to pick me out of a crowd on the field. Now it's up to me to come in and step up, catching whatever comes my way."
Bell also filled in for the injured Johnny Knox as a kick returner, returning one kickoff for 25 yards. He said he was unsure if that would be part of his regular duties going forward.
"It's hard to say at this point," Bell said. "All we know is that Knox has a back injury. Again, I'll do my best to fill in where I can. I am working my learning curve. I want to be known as a player who can be counted on in many capacities."
Bell and the rest of Chicago's offense will have their hands full when they travel to Green Bay this week.
"The Packers are not perfect," said Bell. "They lost today so we know it can be done. Our team is beaten up with injuries and it's been a discouraging few weeks going from 7-3 to 7-7. We feel we can turn this around but we realize there is no luxury in terms of time. It has to be now."
Bears fans can only hope that Bell's teammates feel a similar sense of urgency.
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.