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Chris Chandler stayed in the trainer's room so long that Monday became Tuesday and you began to wonder whether he would emerge upright.
Even he couldn't really identify all the pain his body had to be in after absorbing seven sacksfive in the first halfon top of the indignity of captaining the crew that became a part of Bears history by losing a record-tying eighth consecutive game with their latest loss to the Rams.
"My neck is stiff and sore," said Chandler before stopping short. "It just hurts to lose, that's the main thing."
Beside him sat Jim Miller, who said he got ready to go into the game "on three or four instances," so certain was he that Chandler was coming out.
"This is the craziest thing I've ever been through," said Miller, referring to the latest major injury, the loss of rookie left tackle Marc Colombo indefinitely with a dislocated kneecap. "I don't know what voodoo doll is stabbing us, but the hits just keep on coming."
There was the temptation to lay at least part of the blame for the seven sacks on the absence of center Olin Kreutz, who underwent an appendectomy eight days ago. But it was more than Kevin Dogins and Bernard Robertson, Colombo's replacement, being in the game. "Yeah, there's no continuity," said Miller. "But we still have to make the third-and-one [at the end of the first half]."
And the defense still has to stuff the third-and-9 on the Rams' last possession of the game. And the secondary still has to somehow find a way to stop Marc Bulger from completing six of seven passes on the Rams' 10-play, 82-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter.
"Too many big plays," said Bears coach Dick Jauron for, well, at least the eighth time this season.
At some point early in Monday's game it became fairly obvious that the Bears, scrappy and unafraid and plucky as they were to not be blown out before halftime, had to have two objectives, winning presumably still being one of them.
This season of attrition has now boiled down to moment-to-moment survival.
On defense, somehow throw your body in front of the nearest Rams receiver, which sooner or later may result in some actual contact. And on offense, simply try to keep your quarterback conscious.
This was never a given Monday.
For most of the game, Chandler's best chance of escaping a Rams sandwich was to release the ball as he was emerging from the huddle. Once, he barely escaped being sacked from the shotgun, pretty much blowing away the theory that this formation would somehow transform him into Brett Favre. While Bulger threw screen passes and skinny posts and play-action bombs to receivers who streaked under them, Chandler just tried to remain standing.
By the third quarter, Chandler was yanked down behind the line of scrimmage for the sixth time, the fact that he still managed to get back up afterward overshadowed only by the fact that he had not yet turned the ball over.
And, while the Marshall Faulk-less Rams were running through their playlist of 120 different offensive formations guided by a second-year quarterback still in his NFL infancy, Chandler was somehow keeping the Bears in the game going into the fourth quarter.
Down 14-13 at that point, Chandler had just gone over 100 yards passing while Bulger was honing in on 300, but maybe it didn't matter. Maybe it didn't even matter that Bulger had the advantage of playing in a system that apparently can take anyone with a decent arm and good timing and turn him into a star, while Chandler was toiling in an offense that has now run the same trick play so many times, their wide receiver has an official passer rating.
So fond are the Bears of the Marty Booker-to-anyone option pass that Jauron actually announced this past week that we can expect to see it several more times this season, making you wonder if they get the whole surprise-element angle.
Chandler didn't have a chance. It took the Bears until the second quarter until they seemed to figure out that they needed to attempt something to counteract the Rams blitzing, oh, roughly every play.
And it was encouraging in the third quarter when Chandler led the Bears on an 11-play, 64-yard scoring drive, their only touchdown of the night, using almost exclusively a three-step drop.
"We had to do something to get the ball out," said Chandler.
Unfortunately for the Bears, they either did not want to stick with it or for some reason felt they could not. After that, it was apparent that Paul Edinger was going to be as good as it was going to get, the Bears' last gasp effort from their own 25 with 1:07 remaining an exercise in hoping against hope.
"We are playing as hard as anybody," said Chandler. "We never give up. We keep fighting and scratching. Bad luck is just accumulating and keeping us as a team from somehow turning the corner."
He was being generous. Turning the corner wasn't the problem Monday. It was getting run over by oncoming traffic.