Comeback Falls Short

Late heroics looked like they would lead to another Bears victory, but that was not the case in Buffalo.

With the game tied and 32 seconds left on the clock Buffalo placekicker Mike Hollis, who had already hit from 49 and 48 yards, lined up for a 39-yard field goal. The snap, hold and placement were all perfect, but the hand of James "Big Cat" Williams got in the way. Williams got just enough of the kick to make it fall short postponing a Bills victory.

Chicago won the toss in overtime and took the ball. However, the offense could not duplicate their success on the final drive of regulation that tied the game at 27. On third and five Jim Miller couldn't hit Marty Booker forcing the Bears to punt. The usually reliable Brad Maynard managed just a 32-yard punt.

Starting at their 44-yard line it took the Bills two plays to the end the game. Drew Bledsoe threw to a covered Eric Moulds, who jumped up over Todd McMillon for a 30-yard gain. Then on the following play Bledsoe dumped the ball off to Travis Henry and the running back scampered past the defense and into the endzone for a 33-27 Buffalo win.

The Bears struggled to contain Bledsoe for the majority of the day as the quarterback threw for over 300 yards and four touchdowns.

The first score of the day came on the opening drive of the game. Buffalo moved 75 yards on seven plays capped by a two-yard touchdown pass from Bledsoe to Peerless Price. The key play on the drive was a 35-yard completion to Eric Moulds on third and one, which positioned the Bills deep inside Bears territory.

The Bills were on the move again on their second drive before Warrick Holdman stripped RB Travis Henry, who has fumbled in every game this year, Rosevelt Colvin picked up the ball as he stumbled forward he tossed it back to Mike Brown. The safety ran the ball back 60 yards for a touchdown.

The bad news was Holdman left the game later in the quarter with a sprained right knee and did not return. Including Holdman the Bears were playing with four starters missing on defense.

The Bills continued to compile yards as they penetrated Chicago territory for a third straight drive thanks to two third and 10 conversions on Bledsoe completions. Jerry Azumah tackled Price inches short of converting a third and 6, which brought placekicker Mike Hollis on for a 48-yard filed goal reclaiming the lead for Buffalo at 10-7 early in the second quarter.

The Bears offense got their first down of the game on a Buffalo penalty, but did nothing further to advance the ball meaning the unit ran 11 plays in the first 20 minutes of the game.

Bledsoe completed all five of his passing attempts leading to another Bills touchdown. On the drive the running game complimented Bledsoe as Shawn Bryson carried the ball three times for 24 yards. A 14-yard reception by rookie Josh Reed gave Buffalo a first down inside the Bears thirty, but on the play Colvin was called for roughing Bledsoe that tacked on 15 additional yards. Two plays later Moulds caught a four-yard touchdown to extend the Buffalo's lead to 17-7 with 4:36 left in the half.

The offense finally got in Buffalo territory when Aaron Schobel was called for roughing the passer. Two plays later Miller hit Marty Booker for a 34-yard completion to the Bills 11-yard line. Miller went to his favorite target inside the redzone as David Terrell caught a five-yard touchdown pass. Terrell's third score of the year brought the Bears within a field goal at 17-14 at the half.

The Bears looked to take control of the game coming out of the lockerroom trailing by just a field goal despite being outplayed they could take the lead with a touchdown. However, the offense went three and out bringing Maynard on to punt. A 42-yard punt was minimized because of a 15-yard facemask penalty on Mike Caldwell, which gave the Bills the ball at the Chicago 44.

With excellent field position Bledsoe went to work. He hit Larry Centers for an 11-yard gain putting Buffalo within Hollis' range. The Bears defense stood up the Bills forcing Hollis to attempt a 49-yard kick. His second field goal of the game gave the home team a 20-14 lead early in the third quarter.

The teams traded punts following the field goal, but in that time the field position game swung in the Bears favor. A 44-yard punt by Maynard combined with a Buffalo holding penalty pinned them at their five-yard line. The Bears defense forced a three and out and a 17-yard punt return by Leon Johnson put Chicago at the Bills 34.

Although, the Bears offense did no turn the field position into seven points a 46-yard field goal by Paul Edinger cut the deficit to three points at 20-17 midway through the third quarter.

On the following Bears possession Johnson was stopped short on a third and one run. After seeing the ball was inches short of a first down, head coach Dick Jauron decided to go for it despite being on their 39-yard line, but the team never ran a play. Bernard Robertson was flagged for a false start pushing the offense back and the Bears had to punt.

The Bears looked like they took the lead early in the fourth quarter, but Terrell's second touchdown reception was overturned by replay. The receiver caught a ball along the side of the endzone and could only get one foot in bounds. Chicago had a replay go in their favor a few plays before when a Booker catch ruled incomplete but upon further review was ruled a 27-yard reception. An Edinger field goal tied the game at 20 with 12:39 left in the game.

It took six plays for Buffalo to retake the lead at 27-20. Bledsoe hit his tight ends four times for 52 yards including a one-yard TD catch by Dave Moore. Henry added 26 yards on two rushing attempts.

On their longest drive (11 plays) of the day Chicago marched 74 yards to tie the game. Miller hit Marcus Robinson for gains of 8, 9 and 12 yards moving the ball inside Buffalo territory. Then a pass interference call went the Bears way. Miller threw the ball toward to Terrell, who was running to the endzone, but Nate Clements was flagged for bumping into the receiver at the four-yard line. Two plays later Miller went to John Davis for a four-yard touchdown pass. Edinger's PAT tied the game at 27 with 2:46 left.

The Bills looked to win the game in regulation. Bledsoe hit Moore for an 18-yard catch. Then Bryan Robinson was called for tripping on a six-yard Bryson run, which put the Buffalo into the Bears territory. The Bills ran the clock down under a minute to go before brining Hollis on to attempt a 39-yard field goal. Williams, who is still recovering from a hip flexor injury, leapt and got just enough of the kick to make it fall short.

With 25 seconds left and no timeouts Miller took a knee sending the game into overtime.

The Bears won the toss and took the ball. The offense couldn't move the ball meaning it was up to the defense to stop Bledsoe. The unit couldn't meet the challenge due in part to great field position.

Maynard managed just 32 yards on his punt giving Buffalo the ball at their 44-yard line. For the second week in a row missed tackling led to a Bears loss. After Moulds out leapt McMillon on a 30-yard pass play Bledsoe went to Henry. The running back caught the ball in the open field and the result was a 26-yard game-winning score.

The loss drops the Bears to 2-2 and a game behind first place Green Bay, who survived for a 17-14 win against Carolina. The top two teams in the NFC North will play next week on Monday Night Football.

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