Streak Continues

For the third straight game the Bears had victory within their grasp and couldn't come up with a definitive play to end their losing streak, which now stands at eight games equaling the longest in franchise history.

Trailing 21-16 the Bears had just over a minute to go and 76 yards between them and a win. With no timeouts the offense failed to move the ball forward finishing their final drive with minus five yards on Chris Chandler's seven sack of the night.

In his third start Chandler averaged less than five yards per pass attempts completing a high percentage of 20-33 for just 157 yards. The quarterback was under constant pressure and was sacked seven times bringing his total to 17 in three games, which equals the number of QB takedowns allowed by the offensive line all last year.

"I thought Chris did a good job getting the ball out of his hands when he needed to," head coach Dick Jauron said. "They had a stiff rush and he took a lot of hits."

On the opposite side of the ball the defense gave up 388 yards of total offense, but surrendered just 21 points against the high powered offense of the Rams.

"There were a lot of big plays against us defensively," said Jauron. "That being said we still only allowed them to put 21 points, but we weren't able to match it."

St. Louis jumped out to a 7-0 lead on the opening possession of the game. The majority of a ten-play drive 65-yard drive came on the arm of quarterback Marc Bulger, who improved his record to 5-0 as the starter, completing three of four passes for 60 yards. Bulger finished the game with 21-35 passing for 347 yards and two touchdowns. But, the Rams touchdown came on a one-yard plunge from TE Ernie Conwell.

However, he will still be the Rams backup QB as Kurt Warner will start next week against the Redskins. Warner did make a cameo appearance for one possession in the second quarter as Bulger left the game for one series after a Rosevelt Colvin hit sprained a ligament on his throwing hand and forced a fumble that the Bears recovered. Warner replaced Bulger and was sacked by Phillip Daniels and Keith Traylor on his first play since Week Five.

The Bears used trick plays to stay close to the Rams. Marty Booker attempted two more passes both falling incomplete. The most successful gadget play came when Brad Maynard came on to punt, but as the ball was snapped Rabih Abdullah ran behind the punter. He pretended to take the ball from Maynard's backside as the punter kept the ball and scrambled for 20 yards picking up a first down. A 17-yard run by Anthony Thomas put the Bears in field goal range and that is what Chicago had to settle for after Chris Chandler was sacked by Grant Wistrom. A Paul Edinger field goal cut the Rams lead to 7-3 early in the second quarter.

After another Edinger field goal brought the score to 7-6 as the Bears had an opportunity to take the lead before the half, but failed to convert on a third and one. Bulger returned to the game and promptly led the Rams on a scoring drive that covered 81 yards in under a minute. Bulger completed four consecutive passes the last of which ended in Lamar Gordon finding the endzone on a 22-yard touchdown reception that gave St. Louis a 14-6 lead.

The Bears tried to mount a drive of their own before the half, but couldn't move the ball and lost another offensive lineman in the process. Rookie first-round pick Marc Colombo the injured his left leg and was carted off the field. The severity of the injury is unknown at this point, but Jauron said it was kneecap related.

Coming out of the lockerroom the Bears were able to move the ball slowly down the field on an 11-play drive that turned into seven points thanks to a 13-yard TD run by Anthony Thomas, which moved the Bears within a point at 14-13.

The score remained the same into the fourth quarter. Following a third and five conversion, R.W. McQuarters pressured Bulger, but the cornerback failed to bring down the quarterback. Bulger then completed a 32-yard pass to Isaac Bruce moving the Rams inside Bears territory. The defense couldn't stop a third and nine situation as seldom used receiver Troy Edwards got the necessary yardage, which led to Bulger throwing his second touchdown pass of the game to former Bear Ricky Proehl giving the Rams a 21-13 advantage with just over nine minutes to play.

Edinger's third field goal of the game cut the deficit to 21-16, but that was as close as the visitors would get on their way to an eighth consecutive defeat and an overall record of 2-8.

The Bears are now in sole possession of last place in the NFC North with both Minnesota and Detroit one-game ahead of Chicago at 3-7.

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