By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter 1:05 p.m. CST, December 12, 2011
The Chicago Bears went back to work Monday hoping to put a grisly 13-10 overtime loss Sunday at Denver behind them quickly now that they’re on the outside looking in at the NFC playoff picture.
“I told them it's OK to feel as bad as we felt,” coach Lovie Smith said Monday at his Halas Hall news conference. “It was a terrible feeling in the locker room yesterday. We're supposed to feel that way for a while. But then we have to get over it and move on because we've got a lot of football left to go. It's kind of as simple as that. That's how life goes sometimes. The breaks don't go your way. We had our opportunities. We didn't get the job done.”
The Bears were a little more than two minutes away from handing the Broncos their first home shutout in franchise history before Tim Tebow rallied Denver with the help of some terrible Bears miscues. Running back Marion Barber ran out of bounds with 1:55 remaining and the Broncos out of timeouts when the Bears were attempting to grind out the clock. In overtime, Barber’s fumble when the Bears were in field-goal position set up the Broncos’ game-winning drive.
“It's on all of us. Yeah, it's a coaching thing. It's on all of us,” Smith said. “But it's on our team, on Marion, on us, on all of us. It's a situation that shouldn't happen but it did and we're all suffering the consequences for it.”
Was it a mental error?
“I don't know about mental,” Smith said. “Yeah, you could say mental. It's something that shouldn't happen. Whether it's mental or not it's something that shouldn't happen but it did. And things like that do happen. Marion would tell you ... to stay in bounds, he was trying to stay in bounds, he should stay in bounds. But you know sometimes, trying to get a few more yards, it's best to get down. And what you call it is just something that hurts your team and hurts you. So that's how it goes.”
Because Barber split the locker room in Denver on Sunday without answering questions about his 108-yard game and untimely errors, his teammates were still answering for him Monday.
“Marion did some good things,” safety Craig Steltz said. “I know the focus is on that one play, which is bad, but as far as running the football he did some good things.”
At 7-6, the Bears are a game behind the Atlanta Falcons (8-5) and Detroit Lions (8-5) in the wild-card race. The offense has been struggling badly and unless it improves, it’s going to be difficult for Smith’s team to get another victory.
Smith called it a step forward for quarterback Caleb Hanie, who did not turn the ball over. He completed 12 of 19 passes for 115 yards. Five completions went to wide receivers for 59 yards, but the gameplan was to run the football and control the clock.
“You look at his numbers, they weren’t terrible numbers,” Smith said. “We protected the football. We missed a couple throws but most quarterbacks, you look at every game they miss a couple. Caleb did some good things. Again, he got us in position. Late in the game, even on the last drive, I think he was 3-of-4 in overtime when he moved us right down the field. When we needed him to pass the football more, he was able to do that. Caleb did some good things in the game.”
Smith talked about the game plenty. It’s clear he’s not over it yet. It marked only the second time in nine overtime games he’s lost as Bears coach. He had a 56-9 record with a lead entering the fourth quarter. None of those nine defeats stung quite like this one.
“One of the toughest ones I’ve had to deal with, we’ve had to deal with,” he said. “I think to a man most of the guys in the locker room would say that. We normally celebrate when we have a game in control like that late in the game. We haven’t been in this position very often, if at all, we don’t like. Now, it’s what we do. It’s how we respond. And we will respond.”
Well, at least Lovie admits that this team should feel bad about the loss, but he also sugar coats it a little bit as well. This team is horrible right now, and frankly, I don't know if they could be the Indianapolis Colts at this point with the offense not being able to put up anymore points than they have during the three game losing streak.
But fuck, look at it on the bright side. At least we're in perfect position to get a pretty good draft pick in April.
It is what it is. When you mess up of course you feel like sh*t, then you have to brush yourself off and keep it moving. Unless someone has a hot tub time machine, that loss will stand. Anyone feeling the need to break ankles jumping off the bandwagon, so be it.
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." Abraham Lincoln
I'll be ready to move on when significant changes happen to this organiztion. Mostly trying to trade up and get premier talent, and cutting the fat. Really, either get rid of angelo or martz. They cannot coexist, and as bad as some of martz' pull on the gm was, he finally got that good blocking te, and really never had faith in hanie, which i will give him credit for.....
I don't know, Henry. It's as if Angelo is syphoning Mike Martz's wang or something. Anything our fearless OC wants, he gets. I don't get it. Why can't we get a GM who will hire an offensive coordinator who will get results so we can go out and beat the Green Bay Packers? It's ridiculous!
On top of that, I really hate that there is so much hate coming down on Marion Barber for his mistakes in the game. Surely, they totally changed the complexion of the game itself, but everyone is due to make mistakes, and he has always been a very good player when either us or the Dallas Cowboys have needed have called upon him to be our workhorse. Thankfully, we will probably get Forte back in another week or two. Still, I would like to utilize all three running backs when everyone's healthy (Forte, Barber, and Bell). Since the the running game is the only thing we have going for us right now since we don't have an competent quarterback, we need to rotate all three running backs.