Bears Stumble Across Finish Line

The Chicago Bears battled late in the season, including improbable back to back Overtime victories, but ran out of gas when it mattered most, falling to the Houston Texans 31-24 at Reliant Stadium to end their season.  It remains to be seen if the loss really matters, since the Vikings stole a victory with a long game-winning field goal over the resting New York Giants to clinch their first ever NFC North title.  The Oakland Raiders pulled off a huge upset with a 31-24 victory to quash Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes.  If the Bears had won, they still would have needed a Dallas loss to sneak into the last remaining Wild Card spot.

This game was a microcosm of the entire season.  The Bears came out fired up and scored early, but were unable to protect the lead, letting up 21 unanswered points as they failed to protect their lead and failed to finish the ballgame.  Does that sound like a common theme?  See Caroline, Tampa and Atlanta games in case there is any confusion about not finishing.

The Bears felt the loss of Mike Brown, as the Texans exploited the Bears’ secondary throughout the game.   Andre

Andre Johnson dominated the Bears in Houston's 31-24 victory

Andre Johnson dominated the Bears in Houston's 31-24 victory

Johnson went into the locker room with over 100 receiving yards and 2 TD’s.  At the half.   Any time the defense wants to stop him, please feel free.  He is wearing shirt #80.

Despite all the missteps, the Bears managed to hold the Texans to a short field goal early in the fourth quarter to keep it a 7 point game.  After a questionable no-call on what appeared to be pass interference on Brandon Lloyd, Brad Maynard boomed yet another punt inside the 20, down to the 11 yard line.  And here is where the season effectively ended, my friends.  When it mattered most, the once-vaunted Bears defense let Houston march 89 yards in over six minutes, capped off by a 2-yard Steve Slaton touchdown.  Bears down 2 scores and the season is on life support.

The Bears were able to run an effective 2-minute offense with a Kyle Orton QB-sneak bringing the Bears back to within one score.  Now it was up to Robbie Gould to kick an onside kick for the Bears to have a chance.  He hit the equivalent of a Derek Lee ground ball to the shortstop that Chicago native Kevin Walter easily covered.  And despite all of that, the Bears still had one last gasp.  Hold the Texans to a 3 and out and maybe, just maybe, you get a miraculous punt return or a Hail Mary.  Instead, Tommie Harris, who made over $10 million in bonuses this year, jumped offsides to give Houston a 1st and 5.  Five yards and a couple of kneel-downs later and the season went up in smoke.

I’ll have a lot more to discuss as I get a chance to digest the season.   Throughout the next week, I’ll take a closer look at the offense, defense, special teams and coaching as we head into the offseason.


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Tags: Andre Johnson Chicago Bears Dallas Cowboys Houston Texans Kevin Walter Kyle Orton Matt Forte Mike Brown Minnesota Vikings New York Giants Oakland Raiderd Playoffs Robbie Gould Steve Slaton Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tommie Harris Wild Card

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