A bad day only got worse for Jonathan Quinn as he ambled slowly off Soldier Field and into the tunnel in the northwest corner after Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Washington Redskins.
An angry group of fans unleashed a chorus of boos and leaned over the railing to let Quinn know whom they held most responsible for the Bears' third straight defeat.
They hurled unprintable insults and made obscene gestures, fed up that the rest of the season suddenly looked to them like the Bears' offense looked against the Redskins.
"Go back to Kansas City," one man shouted to Quinn.
"You stink, Quinn," a young boy yelled.
The beleaguered Bears quarterback was in no mood, or position, to argue.
"They're frustrated, I'm frustrated, everybody's frustrated," Quinn said. "They have reason to be unhappy."
Quinn meant the fans, but he could have been referring to his teammates.
More than during the previous game against the Eagles, several Bears players demonstrably showed disgust toward Quinn.
After one overthrown pass, wide receiver David Terrell waved his hands in irritation. At the end of the game, teammates tried settling Terrell down after he was seen expressing his agitation in Quinn's direction as he stomped on the sidelines.
Wide receiver Bobby Wade reacted with similar annoyance earlier after Quinn underthrew him.
When Quinn took a second straight sack on the final drive of the game after the Bears had 1 minute 28 seconds to get into field-goal range, right guard Mike Gandy looked at the quarterback and made a motion as if to say, "Throw the ball!"
"I shouldn't have taken those sacks," Quinn said. "It's on me to throw it up there or throw it away. [But] I don't think you should ever be embarrassed when you give everything you got."
Now coach Lovie Smith must decide if Quinn's best effort truly gives the Bears their best chance to win.
Surprisingly for a coach who two weeks ago sounded ready to lend unconditional support to Quinn, Smith left open the possibility of inserting rookie Craig Krenzel or newcomer Chad Hutchinson.
But the coaching staff still has reservations about Krenzel, and the Bears were the only team to call Hutchinson three weeks ago when he was heading out to surf in San Diego, so how good can he be?
"We will look at all areas," Smith said, opening the door. "We have to get a profit at the quarterback position, and we didn't get that."
In numbers reminiscent of the Cade McNown era, Quinn completed 10 of 22 passes for 65 yards with an interception. The extra practice time with the week off that was supposed to ease Quinn's burden didn't help. He missed high and low on throws and spent too much time locking in on receivers.
Quinn rejected the notion that he simply was overmatched by NFL defenses, a topic likely to be debated around town this week as the Bears (1-4) prepare for a trip to Tampa Bay.
"Nothing about being a starting quarterback is easy," Quinn said. "This is a fast game with a lot of good athletes out there. It's what I expected."
Perhaps, but the offense fell far short of expectations.
The 160 total offensive yards represented the Bears' lowest output since they gained 127 in a 49-7 season-opening loss last season to San Francisco. Thanks to Jerry Azumah's 70-yard interception return for a touchdown in the second quarter, the defense outgained the offense in the first half by 1 yard.
Only three offensive drives against the Redskins crossed the 50-yard line, and the Bears never ran a play inside the 20. They converted just 1 of 13 third downs and punted 10 times.
On the Bears' only scoring drive of the daya 10-play series that culminated with Paul Edinger's 46-yard field goal in the fourth quarterQuinn's only completion to a wide receiver went for minus-2 yards. Even after R.W. McQuarters' 35-yard punt return to the Bears' 45 gave the Bears a last gasp with 3:15 left, the offense lost 7 yards in three plays and punted.
"The frustration level is high, and the reason the frustration level is high is because we're playing good enough just to lose," tight end Desmond Clark said. "We're in every game, but we're not winning. That's different than getting beat by 15 or 20. There's not a magic potion or anything like that we can use."
Some welcome wizardry by Azumah helped the Bears keep it close.
Azumah, returning a little more than two months after having neck surgery, intercepted a Mark Brunell pass tipped by Alex Brown and ran it back for a touchdown with 5:36 left in the second quarter. Blocks by rookies Tommie Harris and Nathan Vasher helped pave the way to the end zone for a guy who has traveled the path before.
"Playmakers make plays," Smith said. "It was just a great read."
Smith didn't have as many good things to say about a run defense that gave up 218 yards and allowed the Redskins to control the football for 34 minutes. With Brunell struggling nearly as much as Quinn, running back Clinton Portis carried a John Riggins-like load with 36 rushes for 171 yards.
"We can't have that," Smith said.
Brian Urlacher, playing in his first game since Green Bay, agreed and blamed the defense as much as the offense for the loss. It was an 18-yard scoring pass to Rod Gardner between Urlacher and McQuarters that gave the Redskins their only touchdown of the game.
"We should have beat this team, but we didn't," said Urlacher, who offered support for Quinn. "He's had a tough go the last couple games, but he'll get it done. We believe in him. Hope the guys on offense do."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times