Updated: October 24, 2011 3:57PM
Chris Harris was in the right spot when he broke up a second-and-21 pass play late in the first quarter of the Bears’ 24-18 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday at Wembley Stadium. But he should have had an interception.
Is that a positive play in film review or a negative one.
‘‘It’s not a positive in this defense,’’ Harris told me after the game. ‘‘It’s a missed opportunity. If it’s not a turnover, it’s not a positive. It’s a minus.’’
The Harris play typified the kind of day it was for the Bears on Sunday. They overcame the difficulty of a an out-of-their-element week with an overseas trip to beat a Buccaneers team that is supposed to be on the rise and had four interceptions against a quarterback who is supposed to be on the rise.
But as usual, they left the door open for skepticism. In command for most of the game, they failed to shut the door and allowed the Buccaneers to have a chance to win at the end.
Even the interceptions they made turned into missed opportunities. After Chris Conte stole a pass from Mike Williams at the goal line for an interception, Matt Forte was tackled in the end zone for a safety. When Lance Briggs returned an interception 35 yards to the 1, the an illegal block by Tim Jennings sent the Bears back to midfield, where they went three-and-out and punted. After Brian Urlacher’s interception in the fourth quarter, Jay Cutler gave it right back with an interception of his own.
The Bears make it tough to love them — a byproduct of our neurotic fandom as much as their top-to-bottom dysfunction. But at 4-3 heading into the bye week, you can say this much for them: In the ever-increasing muck of NFL parity, they are in better shape than most. If you’re expecting more than that, you should know by now you’re expecting too much. And now 10 other observations from the Bears-Buccaneers game: