Bears continue free fall

Whether it would have been a 57-yard field goal attempt or a 58-yarder would have depended on the placement of the football by Bears holder Brad Maynard Sunday. <P> Like it matters now.

Coach Dick Jauron said after the game, and elaborated again Monday during his press conference; the field goal was too far for Paul Edinger to attempt in the 23-21 loss to the Rams. Instead of even taking a shot -- Edinger has connected on a 54-yarder in his career -- Jauron opted to run another play with seven seconds left.

Chris Chandler threw a desperation heave into the left corner of the south end zone with nobody in sight. If the Bears had been lucky enough to have somebody actually catch the pass, the game would have been over because tackle Aaron Gibson was called for illegal use of hands on the play.

"It was out of the range of Paul, it was clearly out of Paul's range and to ask him to kick that just made no sense, so it made more sense to go for it on that play," Jauron said. "It just didn't work, they got pressure from the back and flushed (Chandler) out and he threw it up."

Jauron said the original plan was for Chandler to hit a receiver downfield, close to the sideline, and immediately get out of bounds to set up Edinger for a closer attempt. Chandler claims the headset in his helmet went out with 15 seconds on the play clock and all he got was the beginning of the formation.

You can blame Chandler, who was pretty much miserable (16-of-32, 153 yards passing, 2 interceptions) or coaching. The Jauron Watch began weeks ago, but you have to wonder why a team that held a 14-3 halftime lead against the Rams couldn't put the game away. When you're losing games late, it has to come down to more than just players. The Bears played good enough to win Sunday and two weeks prior played bad enough to even beat the Lions in a 12-10 loss.

The Bears are now 3-7 on the season, and just three other teams -- Atlanta, Jacksonville and San Diego -- have worse records.

"Nothing to this point that we haven't tried in terms of what we do in practice, how we approach it, how we study it, how we present it," Jauron said of the late collapses.

"We've certainly changed up a number of things in what we're doing to try to find the answers but clearly it happened (Sunday). It's nothing that anybody's happy about. We'll continue examining it and we'll come up with other ways to attack it."

The Bears offense couldn't sustain any drives to eat up clock in the second half and the defense couldn't make the big play to stop the Rams. It sounds like a broken record, but it's become the unpopular tune for the Bears and their fans this season.

Jauron -- don't laugh -- said he talked to the team about the playoffs and its chances to make it. The Bears would have to win out, and even if they did, a 9-7 record doesn't guarantee a playoff spot. Meanwhile, the Bears still have to travel Sunday to Denver, play at Green Bay and finish up at Kansas City. The Vikings, Redskins and Cardinals still have to come to Soldier Field.

"I don't know that we could be more frustrated," Jauron said of the state of the team. "The fact is we are where we are and all of the things that people talk about or you want to think about, they don't do you any good.

"They don't help you, they don't make the situation any different."

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