|Bears realize they're running out of time to make push for playoffs|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 19 November 2007 14:11|
So there were some signs of life from a unit that played dead the previous day at Seattle and may have killed the team's playoff hopes in the process.
On a day when the running game sprung to life and the quarterback looked good enough, the Bears were defenseless against Matt Hasselbeck and the Seahawks in a 30-23 loss on Sunday. It was a big blow for the defending NFC champions, if not a knockout blow.
At 4-6, the Bears still have a mathematical shot at the playoffs.
``Time is running out,'' cornerback Charles Tillman said. ``We can keep talking about making a run, making a run, but time is running out. Time's almost out right now.''
Hasselbeck threw for 337 yards and the Seahawks finished with 425 on offense. It was the fourth time this season the Bears allowed more than 400 yards and the fourth time an opponent scored more than 30 points.
When they reviewed the film on Monday, all they could do was shake their heads.
``By and large, it's pretty self-inflicted,'' safety Adam Archuleta said. ``You look at the tape, and it's always what we were doing.''
``It was hard, it was frustrating,'' cornerback Charles Tillman said.
The New York Giants made the playoffs with an 8-8 record last season, but the Bears will be hard-pressed to finish at .500, considering they have not won two in a row.
``We know we need to get that first win and hopefully sometime this year get that second win,'' coach Lovie Smith said.
The Bears' chances for a second straight win looked promising early on.
With the right side sealed off, Cedric Benson took advantage and broke off a career-best 43-yard touchdown run on the game's second play from scrimmage. It was also the first touchdown by the Bears' offense in an opening quarter this season. Benson's next run was a 20-yarder that helped set up a field goal.
Suddenly, a team that had scored all of 10 points in the first quarter through the first nine games had a 10-0 lead. And a running back who had not run for more than 16 yards had 63 on two attempts.
He was showing the burst the Bears had been waiting for all season, but the path to a career game hit a dead end. The Bears went with Adrian Peterson and took to the air, and Benson finished with 89 yards on 11 carries.
``When a guy averages over eight yards per carry, I can see why you would ask why we didn't get him the ball more,'' Smith said. ``We moved the ball fairly well throughout. Whether you're moving the ball with the run or the pass, it doesn't really matter. ... I like what we did offensively.''
Rex Grossman was steady through 3 1/2 quarters in his return to the starting lineup, but Smith would not commit to keeping him there when Denver visits this week. The quarterback made a strong case, going 24-for-37 for 266 yards with no interceptions despite being sacked five times.
Still, his lone mistake was a big one.
It came just after 22-yard completion to a sprawling Muhsin Muhammad and a one-handed catch by Bernard Berrian for a 23-yard gain that put the ball in Seattle territory with the Bears trailing by seven.
On the next play, Grossman scrambled rather than force a pass. What he didn't do was tuck the ball away and that allowed Patrick Kerney to catch him from behind and rip it out.
The Seahawks recovered and kicked a field goal.
There were few big plays by the Chicago defense and several mistakes in the secondary. The Bears clearly miss cornerback Nathan Vasher, who has sat out seven games with a groin injury.
A healthy Tommie Harris would help, too. It's no secret that the Pro Bowl defensive tackle's left knee has been bothering him for much of the season. He played sparingly on Sunday after sitting out practice last week, and the Chicago Sun-Times, citing a source close to the player, reported he will likely need surgery in the offseason.
Smith said the Bears are ``not to that point by any means'' and added: ``I thought he made it through the game pretty well yesterday.''