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Bears suffer heartbreaking 23-17 overtime loss to Seahawks

Seattle receiver Sidney Rice scores winning touchdown overtime as Bears safety Major Wright (21) meets him too late goal line.

Seattle receiver Sidney Rice scores the winning touchdown in overtime as Bears safety Major Wright (21) meets him too late at the goal line. The Chicago Bears lost 23-17 to the Seattle Seahawks Sunday December 2, 2012 at Soldier Field. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 1, 2013 1:53AM



Seattle Seahawks center Max Unger — a gash on his nose, his knuckle sliced open — couldn’t really appreciate the virtuoso performance of Russell Wilson on Sunday at Soldier Field.

Unger focused more on the players lined up in front of him, not the rookie quarterback mostly behind him.

“To be honest with you,” Unger said, “I’ve never played a game like that before, against a defense that is very, very, very good.”

The constant in the Bears’ eight victories has been the play of the defense, a unit leading the league in takeaways and ranking third overall.

But the defense couldn’t protect a four-point lead late in the fourth quarter and couldn’t — even after a game-tying field goal by Robbie Gould that followed a 56-yard catch by Brandon Marshall — prevent a touchdown in overtime.

Those drives went 97 and 80 yards and keyed the Seahawks’ 23-17 victory.

“I can’t sit here and explain it or go into a lot of detail because I’m not exactly sure,” defensive end Julius Peppers said. “What I do know is that we got outplayed and we didn’t finish the game well enough to win.”

Quarterback Jay Cutler had a mistake-free day (17-for-26 for 233 yards with two touchdowns and four runs for 27 yards), but he lamented some missed chances by the offense. It finished with 358 yards and had a balanced effort between the run and the pass. But it could have had more yards, first downs and, most importantly, points.

Early in the second quarter, the Bears passed up a 33-yard field-goal attempt and failed to convert a fourth-and-one. Then, with just over two minutes left in the first half, receiver Earl Bennett dropped what would have been a 62-yard touchdown. On the play, Cutler avoided a sack and launched a deep pass to Bennett, who had at least three steps on cornerback Brandon Browner.

“Some decisions I made really hurt us early on,” coach Lovie Smith said. “We should have taken the field goal.

“I wanted to really try to knock them out and get them on their heels a little bit.”

Instead, the Bears felt fortunate to only trail 10-7 heading into halftime, after a pass to receiver Braylon Edwards in the end zone was ruled a touchdown, then overturned.

The Bears regained momentum in the third quarter and had a chance to drain valuable seconds off the clock with just under six minutes left.

They converted a third-and-one with a nine-yard outside run by Matt Forte. But then left tackle J’Marcus Webb was flagged for a false start, and Cutler fumbled the ball.

Facing third-and-21 from their 45, the Bears conservatively ran the ball and Forte gained seven yards, allowing Wilson’s two unforgettable drives.

The Bears dropped to 8-4, the same record as the Green Bay Packers, who beat the Minnesota Vikings 23-14 at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The Packers hold the advantage because of their victory in Week 2 over Bears. The Bears head to Minneapolis next Sunday to play the 6-6 Vikings.

“We don’t have a lot of time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Smith said. “We have the Vikings coming up here quickly.”



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