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updated: 12/4/2011 9:19 PM

Ugly loss leaves Bears looking for answers

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  • Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie (12) sits in a pile of Kansas City defenders after a fourth quarter sack during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

      Chicago Bears quarterback Caleb Hanie (12) sits in a pile of Kansas City defenders after a fourth quarter sack during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) celebrates after teammate Jon McGraw pulled in an interception that went off the hands of Chicago Bears wide receiver Roy Williams (11) late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.

      Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali (91) celebrates after teammate Jon McGraw pulled in an interception that went off the hands of Chicago Bears wide receiver Roy Williams (11) late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Three Chiefs defenders clamor for the ball after it went off the hands of Chicago Bears wide receiver Roy Williams (11) during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago. It was intercepted in the end zone by the Chiefs.

      Three Chiefs defenders clamor for the ball after it went off the hands of Chicago Bears wide receiver Roy Williams (11) during Sunday's game at Soldier Field in Chicago. It was intercepted in the end zone by the Chiefs.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

 
 

It was difficult to tell which was the 7-4 team with its sights set on the playoffs and which was the 4-7 team that was playing for pride.

Actually it was difficult to watch the Bears for most of the afternoon in their 10-3 loss to the Chiefs -- especially an eyesore of an offense that produced a season-low 181 total yards.

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"Offensively, we didn't get anything done," coach Lovie Smith said Sunday. "It's hard to maintain drives when you can't convert on third downs."

The Bears had 11 third-down opportunities; they converted none. Their 88 passing yards also were a season low, and they allowed 7 sacks against a team that had an NFL-low 13 in its first 11 games.

But it wasn't just the offense. Just about everyone in a Bears uniform had reason to be embarrassed by this one.

This was a game that should have been won, could have been won and would have put the Bears in a secure playoff position.

Instead, Lovie Smith's 7-5 team finds itself lumped in with a bunch of contenders who have failed to distance themselves from the pack of mediocrity in the NFC.

Maybe worse than the disappointing loss was the loss of do-everything running back Matt Forte to a sprained MCL in his right knee in the first quarter. He's expected to be out 2-4 weeks.

As valuable as Forte has been, his departure shouldn't have prevented the Bears from defeating an inferior team at home. The loss raises serious concerns about an offense with Caleb Hanie at quarterback and without Forte.

The Bears were expecting improvement from Hanie's NFL debut last season, but what they got was a disaster. Unemployed quarterback Donovan McNabb never looked so good.

Hanie was intercepted three times for the second straight week, and he completed just 11 of 24 passes for 133 yards while being sacked seven times for minus-45 yards. His passer rating of 23.8 brought back memories of Henry Burris, Jonathan Quinn and Todd Collins.

"I know Caleb will be blamed for a lot of it," Smith said, "but it's us as an offense, overall."

It appeared Hanie could have gotten rid of the ball sooner on some of the sacks, but on others he barely had time to cover up before he was engulfed by the Chiefs' defense.

"We did it to ourselves," center Roberto Garza said. "We weren't being effective on first or second down, so we were in third-and-long. We have to go out there and protect our quarterback. It falls squarely on our shoulders, and we didn't do that today and that's the result."

It didn't help that wide receiver Roy Williams not only dropped a perfect Hanie pass in the end zone with 4:10 left, but he bobbled it into the hands of Chiefs safety Jon McGraw for an interception and touchback.

Or that Robbie Gould was wide left on a 41-yard field goal.

Or that Marion Barber's apparent 4-yard TD catch was negated by an illegal formation penalty because he lined up behind the line of scrimmage.

The Bears allowed just 10 points, including 7 on a fluke Hail Mary pass with no time on the clock at halftime, but it's difficult to absolve the defense of blame.

It was playing against a quarterback who had thrown 6 interceptions and no touchdowns in the two previous games, his only two NFL starts. The Chiefs' offense scored a total of 1 touchdown in the entire month of November.

Still, the Bears' defense, which had vowed to step up its game after Cutler was lost for several weeks on Nov. 20, allowed a 16-play, 87-yard TD drive that ended as time expired in the first half.

Just to prove the drive wasn't a fluke, the Chiefs' opened the second half with a 15-play, 86-yard drive that ended with Ryan Succop's 21-yard field goal, giving them a 10-3 lead with 6:16 remaining in the third quarter.

That was all the scoring the Chiefs needed to hand the Bears their second straight defeat.

•Follow Bob's Bears reports via Twitter @BobLeGere and check out our Bear Essentials blog at dailyherald.com.

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