Penalty Flags Leave Bears Crying Foul

JACKSONVILLE, FL _ The Bears tried to hold their tongues but they were better at holding the Jaguars.

"The calls were unbalanced," cornerback Charles Tillman said after Sundays 22-3 Bears loss to Jacksonville.

No one was blaming the officials for a defeat, but players on defense were upset about some key defensive holding or contact penalties, as well as some unsportsmanlike conduct flags which made possible Jacksonville scores.

Jacksonville had eight penalties for 75 yards and the Bears 13 for 104 yards.

"I can't blame the officials for anything," coach Lovie Smith said.

But he couldn't agree with all the calls, either.

"Of course we saw some of the calls differently," he said. "I just think they should even up a little bit. But as you look at it those were the things we did wrong and they hurt us and again.

"It's really late in the year for us to have that many. But that's kind of what happened. We're just going to try to correct them and go from there."

The toughest was Mike Green's 5-yard illegal contact flag and automatic first down on a third-down incompletion. It gave the Jaguars first-and-goal at the Bears' 7 three plays before their first touchdown.

Safety R.W. McQuarters was flagged for defensive holding on the next play.

Every Bears starting defensive back except Jerry Azumah drew a penalty flag. Tillman got three penalty flags, including one for roughing quarterback Byron Leftwich with a blow to the head on a play in which Brian Urlacher recovered tight end Todd Yoder's fumble. The turnover would have wiped out a scoring threat and kept the Bears within 10-3 midway through the fourth quarter, but instead it was a first down and Josh Scobee kicked a 25-yard field goal 2 1/2 minutes later for a 13-3 Jaguars lead.

"I feel that it wasn't roughing the passer," Tillman said. "I thought I hit him in the shoulder pad area. I don't know if the rest was him acting that I pushed him that hard. I ain't that strong and he's a big guy."

Tillman is 6-foot-1, 196 pounds and Leftwich 6-5, 245.

"If I'm hitting guys like that, I mean, there should be people in comas or concussions or something," Tillman said. "I think it was a little acting, but, hey man, they threw the flag. You've got to live with the call."

Tillman was livid in the fourth quarter when he drew a pass interference penalty on a 31-yard bomb to Jimmy Smith.

He hadn't seen that Smith made a spectacular lunging catch in the end zone for the touchdown to render the penalty meaningless.

Tillman got perturbed at questions about whether that penalty had angered him.

"Obviously so, if I got up screaming and ranting and raving at the official," he said. "Don't ask questions you know the answer to."

Tillman stood resolute after the calls.

"They can throw flags on me all day, it will not change my mindset, it won't change my style of play," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and continue to play.

"Not a coach or any of my teammates said anything. The only thing my teammates said to me was 'keep playing,' I was like OK, teammates behind me, I have their support, hey, let's do it, let's keep playing.' "

Tillman wasn't alone in his frustration.

Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye was angry after he had to leave the game when gouged in the eye by a Jaguars tackle Maurice Williams in the first quarter. There was no penalty call.

Later in the game, the Bears were flagged for illegal hands to the face.

"The guys shot his hands to my face," Ogunleye said. "Last couple games, as aggressive as we are on the defensive line, the fact that we don't get any holding calls is really remarkable to me.

"I don't know why we don't do it. Today, it's like the refs don't like giving us the calls. It's like they're about to throw the flag and they bring it back."

Ogunleye expressed his anger on the field to officials.

"We got a penalty for hands to the face; I got up and said hey, I'm sitting here with a swollen eye and I have a shield on my helmet because I got poked in the eye and you're gonna go ahead and throw the flag on us but you didn't do it on them.

"They don't listen."

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