I don't know if I have ever been as disgusted watching a football game as I was watching the Bears choke on Sunday. I am still sick to my stomach thinking about it a day later.
Watching ESPN glorify Tim Tebow like he's the greatest thing in the world does not help. Tebow did not win that game; so much as the Bears lost it. This game all but ends the Bears playoff chances. It will take a run more miraculous than Denver's comeback to get the Bears into the post-season now.
Here is an interesting twist to my discontent, one that, I think, made it worse.
I used my DVR for the second half and watched it around 8:00 Sunday night. Even though I did not know the final outcome, a suspicious text message from a family member led me to believe that it would not end pretty.
Quite honestly, once Jay Cutler went down with the broken thumb three weeks ago, I put the Bears playoff chances on life support. They are, quite simply, an inept offense without him. I figured the Bears only chance at winning is to score on defense, or a Devin Hester return.
Nevertheless, I fired up the DVR and picked up the action in the third quarter, a scoreless 3rd quarter at that. And to my delight, the Bears took the lead on the offense. Then, they took a two score lead into the fourth quarter when Robbie Gould booted the longest field goal in franchise history.
At this point, I am thinking the only way they can lose is a colossal collapse and I was bracing for it. But a three & out by the Bears defense and then, on the next series, they strip Tim Tebow! Now I am watching the offense with great scrutiny knowing that Hanie can not throw the ball and also knowing that the defense is in complete control.
RUN THE BALL, KILL THE CLOCK, AND WIN THE GAME!
They don't. Hanie leaves Denver close to a minute, five to ten seconds at a time, by snapping the ball early. Mike Martz calls a pass incomplete that salvages another 30 seconds. And when Tim Tebow finally starts to do what Tebow does, he gets the Broncos into the end zone with 2:08 to go. It should have been well inside the two minute warning.
Even still, the Bears had the ball. Denver has no timeouts, and I'm thinking, "How the heck could they possible lose?"
And then, the answer: Not Tebow but Barber. Running out of bounds and keeping the game alive, when running backwards and taking a knee would have won the game. You know the rest. Tebow moves the Broncos into field goal range. They kick a tying 59 yard field goal and then win it in overtime, when Barber fumbles, while the Bears are in field goal range.
Fumbles happen but going out of bounds when stopping the clock is the only chance your opponent has should never happen.
I will give him credit. Tim Tebow made plays down the stretch but he does not win this game if the Bears don't hand him the opportunity on a silver platter. This was mile high magic. It was a mile high meltdown and the Bears choked. They have now lost three in a row to three pretty miserable teams.
And with Jay Cutler still injured, it is going to take something even more miraculous than that mile high magic we just witnessed for the Bears to make the playoffs now.