The Bears talked all week about throwing coach Dick Jauron a life saver and on Sunday instead seemed to fit him with cement shoes.
The Bears provided one last glimpse of everything bad about Jauron's coaching regime in Sunday's 31-3 loss to the Chiefs. Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said Sunday he will make an announcement on Jauron's fate sometime this afternoon.
"We'll find out," Jauron volunteered when asked if he was returning for his contract's final year.
All indications have been toward a dismissal.
Jauron left little doubt he wants to keep coaching as he always had.
"I don't want to come back any more than I did two years ago, three years ago, or to be here in the beginning," Jauron said. "I love being here. I love being here. It's a great franchise, it's a the charter franchise and it's a great city to coach in. And I guess most importantly there's a terrific group of guys in there (in the locker room)."
All the usual suspects from the Bears' fourth losing season in five under Jauron came back out Sunday to take one last bow:
---A quarterback injury, this time to rookie Rex Grossman's hand, led to all three quarterbacks playing for the Bears in a scenario which appropriately capsulated the entire Jauron era.
---Poor pass defense which led to 19-of-27 passing by Chiefs quarterback Trent Green for 162 yards and an 88.6 passer rating by Chiefs quarterbacks.
--An error-prone offense running questionable plays for 241 net yards and total mismanagement of the game clock during a first-half two-minute drill that died on Kansas City's 6-yard line without a point scored.
"We actually talked about that situation last night," Jauron said. "We said we'd take one hot at the end zone and then kick a field goal. The communication is always it's a touchdown or it's out of bounds." Grossman tore a ligament in his right middle finger and left the game in the second quarter after being blind-sided by Gary Stills while heaving a bomb up field. Grossman finished 6-of-10 for 31 yards and left trailing 14-0.\
"Once a type of team like this gets a lead, it's hard to play catch-up," Grossman said.
Kordell Stewart tried, completing 5-of-15 for 86 yards with two interceptions. Chris Chandler relieved him after the second interception and went 6-of-10 for 81 yards as the Bears' offense failed to get into the end zone against the league's 29th-ranked defense -- their first game without a touchdown on offense since last year's season finale.
Stewart directed the Bears to their only score, a 48-yard Paul Edinger field goal in the third quarter. He also guided them on the first half's final drive, which died when Bobby Wade caught a 2-yard pass in bounds at the Chiefs' 6, allowing time to expire.
"I had to jump to get the ball and I couldn't even try to get out of bounds," Wade said.
"Kordell thought he could hit him in the flat and Bobby apparently thought he could stay in bounds and do something with the ball. So that's what happened," Jauron said. "It's relatively clear and there's really nothing more to it than that, but it lost points for us. Incomplete or out of bounds or a touchdown; that's what's communicated in the huddle."
The Bears trailed 14-0 at the time, but had run a draw play up the middle to Rabih Abdullah one down prior to Wade's catch, causing more time to expire.
The Bears' defense entered retreat mode late in the first quarter after holding its own at the outset against the league's top offense.
"It was disappointing and it was hard to see the defense fight like that and clearly tire in the end," Jauron said.
Priest Holmes ended an 11-play drive by stepping into the end zone from 1 yard out for an NFL single-season rushing touchdown record with 13:40 left in the second quarter. The Chiefs' lead hit 14-0 on their next drive when Trent Green threw for 41 yards in a 58-yard drive that ended in a 6-yard TD pass to Eddie Kennison.
"We just were not in a rhythm early and when we started to kind of get in a rhythm they had already got the momentum," Bears linebacker Warrick Holdman said.
The Chiefs stuck with their starters into the fourth quarter even in a meaningless game – New England had clinched home field through the playoffs on Saturday.
The Chiefs scored after Stewart's second interception with a 28-yard drive to Holmes' 2-yard TD dive with 2:15 left in the third quarter for a 21-3 lead. That run gave Holmes the all-time NFL single-season record for touchdowns.
The Bears' defense lost its composure at game's end. Pass interference penalties on Charles Tillman and Jerry Azumah on consecutive plays led to R.W. McQuarters drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. It allowed Chiefs kicker Morten Andersen kicked a 38-yard field goal with 10:03 left in the game.
The Chiefs finally took Green out of the game with 8:34 left after a 19-of-27 effort for 162 yards, and backup Todd Collins promptly directed a 67-yard scoring drive to Larry Johnson's 5-yard TD run with 3:40 left in the game.
The Bears wound up 7-9, their seventh losing season in the last eight, and they finished third in the NFC North.
"It was a losing season, not good enough," said tight end Desmond Clark. "That is the best summary right there."
Jauron expressed optimism about the future after the Bears won six of their last 10 and four of their final six.
"I think they're going to become a fine team," he said. "I think out of this group will come a fine football team."
Now he just hopes he's around to see it.