Early in the second quarter of today's contest, the Chicago Bears had an opportunity to take a 10-0 lead over the Seattle Seahawks. Facing a 4th and 1 at their opponents' 15-yard line, the Bears chose to go for it. Running back Michael Bush took the carry up the middle but was stuffed at the line by linebacker Bobby Wagner. The play went for no gain.
The resulting change of possession appeared to energize the Seahawks, who scored later in the second quarter on a 4-yard run by Marshawn Lynch and again on a 31-yard field goal by Steven Hauschka. The Seahawks went on to rally late in the fourth quarter before finishing the Bears 23-17 in overtime.
"It was such a frustrating afternoon for all of us," said Michael Bush, who failed to get the first down. "What people don't seem to realize that we're all out there giving it everything we have. It wasn't our decision whether or not to run that particular play. But once the play was called, it was on all of us to execute properly."
With Minnesota and Green Bay next up for the Bears, effective execution will be more important than ever. And with injuries to three wide receivers – Devin Hester (concussion), Alshon Jeffery (knee) and Earl Bennett (concussion) – execution in the running game might be Chicago's only hope.
There is also the matter of a pasted-together offensive line, which has also been hit hard by injuries. It's a group that has yet to prove they can provide a strong, effective rushing attack.
"I thought they performed very well," RB Matt Forte said. "I felt they were creating holes for us and providing protection as needed. I have no complaints at all as far as what they did out there."
Bush and Forte combined for 18 carries for 105 yards. It is the third straight game Chicago has failed to rush for more than 4.0 yards per carry. The Bears also lost the time of possession battle 34:35 to 32:52.
Chicago's defense gave up 459 yards to Seattle's offense, the most in any single game this season, and failed twice late in the contest to keep the Seahawks out of the end zone.
"I pay attention to my job and my job only," Forte said. "We're a team who throws nobody under the bus. I know [the defense] was doing everything they could out there today, just as our offense was. Things just didn't end up going our way."
Which brings up the subject once more of the missed field goal opportunity from a distance, 32 yards, that is usually automatic for Robbie Gould. Could Seattle have been shut down early on and kept off balance by an early Chicago score?
"Hindsight," Bush said. "At that time we had no idea how things would go in the end. It's not the coaches' fault for calling that play. I know I should have gotten the yardage but I didn't. I tried, we all tried to execute successfully the rest of the game, but we simply fell short."
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.