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Bears knee-deep in trouble

Bears lose game, Matt Forte and grip on playoffs in loss

December 04, 2011|RedEye

It wasn't supposed to be like this.

They were not supposed to leave Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon on the losing end of a 10-3 game against the struggling Kansas City Chiefs. The Bears were not supposed to leave Soldier Field unsure if running back Matt Forte would play any time soon. They were not supposed to leave Soldier Field with a fan base questioning who should be playing quarterback next week at Denver. And they most certainly not supposed to leave Soldier Field looking like a team destined to be watching the playoffs instead of playing in them.

But that's the reality the Bears face after a Sunday that went about as badly as it could for them. Here's what went wrong—or at least as much that we can print on two pages.

Man down, man down

The unthinkable happened Sunday. With the Bears already reeling from the loss of quarterback Jay Cutler, running back Matt Forte went down a right knee sprain. "It's not a good feeling when you see your star tailback go down with a knee injury, but it's part of the game," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "We'll just keep our fingers crossed and hopefully it's not that serious." He is expected to be out at least two weeks. Forte has not missed a game since being drafted in 2008. Of course …

Hail yes! Hail Mary

The Hail Mary is the ultimate desperation play, so when the Chiefs lined up for one last play with two seconds left in the first half, many fans probably penciled it in as an incompletion. But Tyler Palko's 38-yard pass found the waiting arms of Dexter McCluster thanks to Brian Urlacher and Chris Conte batting it out of the air, as the Hail Mary is supposed to be defended. "We were doing what we were supposed to do," Conte said. "It obviously was the difference in the game."

Missed field goal

You know things are definitely not going the Bears' way when normally sure-footed Robbie Gould is missing field goals, as he did with 23 seconds left in the third quarter. Gould lined up for a 41-yarder with a chance to pull the Bears to within four points of the Chiefs, but he pushed it wide left. It should be noted, however, that quarterback Caleb Hanie took a 6-yard sack on the play immediate preceding Gould's kick.

Touchdown disappears

With 9:53 left in the second quarter, the Bears appeared to take a 7-0 lead when Hanie connected with an uncovered Marion Barber for an easy four-yard touchdown. But the Bears running back was ruled to be lined up illegally, nullifying the score. The Bears went on to settle for a Gould field goal.

Butter fingers

Another potential Bears touchdown—and game-tying score--slipped through the hands of receiver Roy Williams. Hanie found Williams over the middle right at the Chiefs goal line, but Williams bobbled it, and it bounced into the hands of Chiefs safety Jon McGraw for a touchback.

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