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Bears Mon Dec 05 2011

Hanie, Bears Sunk by Bad Breaks

Thumbnail image for bears.gifCaleb Hanie must have broken a mirror or walked under a ladder, because every break went against him and the Bears in Sunday's 10-3 home loss to Kansas City.

Here is a full list of the bad luck that plagued the young quarterback in his second career start:
• He lost his best offensive teammate, Matt Forte, early in the first quarter. Forte sprained his right knee and did not return to the game.
• His line failed to protect him, giving up seven sacks and forcing him to roll out on what felt like every pass play.
• On the one drive where the blocking was perfect, he made several nice throws to get the Bears into Kansas City territory, but Roy Williams couldn't hold onto a pass that would have brought Chicago near the goal line. And not only that, but the ball was bobbled around and intercepted.
• In the second quarter, he threw a touchdown pass to a wide open Marion Barber - except Barber wasn't lined up on the line of scrimmage, and the Bears were flagged for illegal formation. They had to settle for a field goal.
• He drove the offense down to the Kansas City 7-yard line late in the third quarter, but two sacks brought them out to the 23. Then, Robbie Gould, who is normally automatic on kicks under 50 yards, missed a 41-yarder.
• Devin Hester had only one good punt return, mostly just waving for fair catches.
• The worst break for Hanie and the Bears? The Chiefs got their only touchdown on a Hail Mary pass before halftime. Tyler Palko chucked it toward the end zone, and Brian Urlacher and Chris Conte batted it down ... right into the hands of Dexter McCluster.

Of course, teams create their own luck to an extent.

Kansas City was able to move the chains on the ground (113 rushing yards) by running through some pretty big holes. The Chiefs were able to get any short pass they wanted, and Palko finished with 157 yards passing. Kansas City outgained Chicago 252 to 181, and controlled the ball for a little over 32 minutes.

Dustin Colquitt, the Chiefs' punter, didn't outkick his coverage and got plenty of hangtime on his punts, killing the chances of a Hester return. Hester only really returned one punt, and got 44 yards on it.

Hanie had a few overthrows, including a ball to Earl Bennett that would have been a touchdown in the second quarter. His one real interception (not counting the Roy Williams bobble and a last-ditch Hail Mary at the end of the game) was underthrown, and Chiefs safety Brandon Carr fought off Johnny Knox for the ball.

As for the running game, the Bears struggled to get anything going, as Barber rushed for only 44 yards (3.1 yards per carry).

Matt Forte's injury, a Grade 2 MCL sprain, may keep him out two to six weeks. All of a sudden, the Bears offense is devoid of playmakers, with Cutler and Forte out. Hanie and Barber will expect increased roles for the next few weeks.

Chicago, however, was fortunate this week in one regard: their competition didn't make any advances in the standings. Atlanta, Detroit and New York all lost, keeping the Bears in the front of the chase for an NFC wild card spot. The Bears now sit at 7-5, with a game against Tim Tebow at Denver next week.

 
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