The Bears got the kind of game they wanted with the Denver Broncos, close and with chances to win in the closing minutes. Marion Barbers mistakes, however, were again crushing, more significant this time than simply failing to line up properly as he did against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The simple fact is that Caleb Hanie was unable to create game-winning plays for the third week in a row. He completed 12-of-19 passes for 115 yards with neither an interception nor a TD pass, for a rating of 79.9. Hanie was sacked four times but also did his line no favors with slow reactions to obvious pressure and failed on more than one occasion to get rid of the ball on time. His overthrow of a wide-open Marion Barber on a fourth-quarter third down cost the Bears a golden chance to sustain a drive.
Hanie did have the Bears moving into position for the win in OT with completions to Johnny Knox, Roy Williams and Marion Barber in succession, the last a touch pass over coverage.
RUNNING BACK F
Marion Barber rushed for 108 yards on 27 carries, one for a nine-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. But his errors were catastrophic. Barber failed to pick up a Denver blitz to allow a third-down sack of Hanie in the first quarter. Most significantly, he committed the defining gaffes of the game by stepping out of bounds on the Bears final possession, giving Denver time that would result in a tying field goal. Then he fumbled the ball inside the Denver 35 with the Bears going for the winning field goal in overtime.
Kahlil Bell was solid in relief with 40 yards on nine carries and caught a team-high five passes with a long of 13 yards.
Johnny Knox caught three passes for 37 total yards, 18 of them on the first play of what should have been the Bears winning drive in overtime. But receivers were consistently failing to gain separation from defensive back in a game that needed quick-release opportunities given the Denver pass rush.
OFFENSIVE LINE C-
Lance Louis and Chris Spencer was flagged for a false starts on third downs in the first half and Louis on another third down on the opening possession of the third quarter. Louis was beaten for a third-quarter sack by Von Miller although his blocking technique suggested that Hanie was supposed to have gotten rid of the ball quickly.
The protection allowed four sacks of Caleb Hanie but not all were the lines fault. And Bears running backs gained 148 yards on 36 carries.
Hard to fault coaching when the game plan went right at a strong Denver defense and ran the ball reasonably well despite everyone in Colorado knowing what was coming. And no amount of coaching at this point in his career will get Marion Barber to get out of bounds or hold onto the ball.