Missed opportunities plague Bears again
December 16, 2012, 5:40 pm
The Packers’ backward pass when they received a Bears fourth-quarter punt looked like something out of a comedy sketch. The Bears, surprised as anyone, were attentive enough to recover the fumble created by said screwy play, on Green Bay’s 16-yard line.
Down 21-10 at the time, the Bears had a golden opportunity to get a touchdown and put the squeeze on the Packers. But much like a third-quarter drive where the Bears couldn’t capitalize big on Packers' miscues, they couldn’t do it this time, either.
The Bears’ offensive issues were magnified on two second-half drives in a 21-13 loss to Green Bay. On the third-quarter one, back-to-back Packers penalties set the Bears up at Green Bay’s 5-yard line. But after Matt Forte gained four yards on first-and-goal, the Bears were stalled and had to settle for an Olindo Mare 34-yard field goal.
“On the goal line, the offensive line has got to get movement. I looked for a hole and try to hit it,” said Forte, who was stopped on second and third downs for no gain. “There are going to be unblocked players. My deal is I have to slam it up in there. That’s what I was doing. You have to give them credit, too. They played tough defense on the goal line.”
Right tackle Jonathan Scott said, “somewhere, it wasn’t 11 people working in unison. I’m not saying that’s what the reason was. But usually when we all work in unison, good things happen.”
And while the Bears have been banged up and rotating different players at different spots on the offensive line, Scott said that’s not an issue.
“We work well together, we talk, we communicate,” Scott said. “They have faith in all seven linemen, and all seven linemen have to be accountable.”
But the Bears got the chance to make amends. Flash forward to that bizarre Packers special-teams call in the fourth quarter. Not only did the Bears fail to get a touchdown starting at Green Bay’s 16, they didn’t even gain a yard.
“That’s another opportunity we’ve got to take advantage of,” said quarterback Jay Cutler, who was “surprised” at the Packers’ pass. “To get a ball like that, when the score is 21-10, those things don’t happen often. To get a turnover was a great job by special teams. For us not to take advantage of that kind of opportunity is another reason you lose football games.”
Not that the Bears were alone. Twice, the Packers could’ve extended their lead on Sunday. Beleaguered kicker Mason Crosby’s frustrating season continued, however, as he missed 43- and 42-yard field goals. He’s now 17-of-29 for the season. Didn’t matter: Aaron Rodgers’ three touchdown passes to James Jones were eventually enough.
The Bears’ offense has had its struggles all season. But not getting the optimum number of points on those two drives, in this big of a game, against their division rival, was incredibly costly.
“It hurts,” coach Lovie Smith said. “It was a one-score game at the end. We had excellent field position. You’ve got to capitalize and that’s the case most of the time. You can’t rely on field goals in those situations. We need to get touchdowns.”
Tags: Jay Cutler
, Matt Forte
, Chicago Bears
, Lovie Smith
, Green Bay Packers