Four downs for nothing in ‘tough series’ for Bears
BY STEVE GREENBERG Staff Reporter November 24, 2013 6:36PM
Updated: November 24, 2013 9:58PM
ST. LOUIS — For the first 10 plays and 5:46 of the third quarter Sunday, the Bears appeared to be well on their way to a comeback. Trailing by 10, they drove 76 yards down the field, Matt Forte running well and Josh McCown finding four receivers along the way.
Over the four plays that followed, though, the Bears looked anything but ready to mount a challenge against the run-of-the-mill Rams.
“Tough series,” said running back Michael Bush, who had a lead role in the offense’s implosion on a crucial drive that ended without points in the Bears’ 42-21 loss. “It seemed like we had a chance to turn the game around.”
We’ll take you through the four plays again because why live through such a frustrating turn of events only once?
From the Rams’ 4, with Forte on the sideline — breathe, Bears fans — McCown threw a simple swing pass to the right side to a wide-open Bush. The ball was a smidge low, so let’s say an NFL running back catches it 98 times out of 100, not 99.
Somehow, Bush failed to corral it.
“Kind of a low ball,” Bush said. “It was just bad execution.”
Nothing much to talk about here. McCown tried to force one in to a tightly covered Alshon Jeffery in the end zone. Janoris Jenkins wasn’t having any of it.
McCown rolled right, and, well, he’ll kick himself when he reviews the tape and sees how open Martellus Bennett was — and how long he was open — in the back of the end zone.
Instead, McCown tucked the ball and made for paydirt, only to be stopped a yard short.
It can’t be that McCown failed to see Bennett; the tight end was a straight shot in front of him and, oh, by the way, is 6-6, 265 and was waving his right hand in the air in a “come on, man, what are you waiting for?” sort of way.
“I don’t remember the exact play,” Bennett said, “but I always put my hand up when I’m open.”
With the ball at the 1, many Bears fans undoubtedly were ready to quibble with coach Marc Trestman for not sending the field-goal unit onto the field. Many more surely were screaming for a pass given the team’s skyscraper receiving corps.
And that’s when Bush, still in for Forte, took a handoff intended to go off left tackle, but he was immediately vacuumed up by unblocked linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar for a four-yard loss.
“I didn’t pull far enough,” rookie guard Kyle Long said. “That one falls on me.”
Trestman said he’s very confident the right move was to go for it.
“We had to play for points out there today because of the nature of the game and the pace of the game,” he said. “It was frantic out there.”
Frantic? That’s putting it kindly.