We were so close, yet so far away in this one. The Bears held onto a 10-0 lead with 2:08 to go into the game. I thought to myself, this game is over and there is no way we can lose at this point. 10 points to zero with only 2 minutes remaining. They found a way to prove me wrong.
Tim Tebow would find Demaryius Thomas for a 10 yard touchdown pass to make the score 10-7. The Bears allowed Tim Tebow to march down the field in an Elway like fashion on this drive. Not taking anything away from Tim Tebow but, when the defense is playing prevent with their safeties 25 yards deep, it's easy to move the ball down the field by dinking and dunking. Tebow would hit underneath routes and only throw deeper when something was glaringly wide open. The prevent defense, prevents wins.
The Bears would receive the ball back and Denver had no timeouts. After failing to recover the onside kick (Nick Roach recovered in dramatic fashion), the Bears could run the clock out. If only it was that easy. Marion Barber would get a plunge or two up the middle to drain the clock. Then for some unknown reason the Bears would run the ball to the inside hash mark, where Barber would bounce it outside and...run out of bounds. If Barber stays in bounds, our playoff hopes are alive and still in bloom. Instead he ran out of bounds, gave the Broncos the ball back with 53 seconds and allowed Denver Kicker Matt Prater to hit a 59 yard FG to force overtime.
Marion Barber must feel awful at this point. It only gets worse from here folks. While in field goal range, Marion Barber would break through the first level of defenders, and then fumble the ball and the game away. Tim Tebow did very little to move his team forward for the win. Matt Prater did most of the work by nailing a 51 yard FG to send the Bears back to Chicago with a 13-10 loss.
Watching this game was like watching a defensive UFC fight. Both fighters doing their best not to lose, they both forget that they must try to win. Caleb Hanie was 12/19 for 115 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs. Jay Cutler does these numbers on 1 drive. He is so good he can throw for 115 yards on a 100 yard regulation size field. Tim Tebow was 21/40 for 236 yards 1 TD, 1 INT. Very pedestrian numbers up until 2 minutes to go in the game when he completed passes against the prevent defense.
Marion Barber, despite his 2 glaringly huge mistakes to give Denver the win, had a solid game. The first 58 minutes of the game he played great. He had 27 carries for 108 yards with a long of 17 yards. The WR corps was very pedestrian this game. Johnny Knox had 3 catches for 37 yards. Pro bowl numbers right?
Defensively Julius Peppers had a huge blocked field goal in the 1st quarter. Charles Tillman had an incredible interception on Tim Tebow in the 1st quarter as well. Brian Urlacher had 10 tackles on the day.
This loss hurts. We could have kept our playoff hopes alive and kept our wildcard spot in the standings. Both wildcard contenders in Detroit and Atlanta won and right now we would be out of the playoffs if they started today. Barring a miracle, it looks like our season could be done.
Next week the Bears play the Seattle Seahawks. A re-match of the divisional round playoffs last season when the Bears thwolloped the Hawks in Chicago in the snow.