The Bears' slim playoff hopes hinge on Chad Hutchinson's continued success. He had fans all abuzz after last Sunday's three-touchdown performance against Minnesota, and he's out this week on the road against a much tougher defense.
Adam Caldarelli is at ALLTEL Stadium in the Whatever-Nickname-Jacksonville-Has City today, and you can send him your e-mail questions and he'll find out the answers in the locker room after the game. Use the form on the right. All of Adam's comments are in italics.
Byron Leftwich came just short of leading the Jaguars to another last-second comeback last week. A 60-yard field goal attempt by Josh Scobee was just wide right. It had the distance, but the Steelers won 17-16.
Adam: Travel karma comes back to bite me big time. After a mysterious first-class upgrade on my trip to Dallas, it all came crashing down yesterday in the O'Hare United terminal. From what I can surmise the airline's computers crashed for about two hours, just as I was about to check in for my flight. No problem, the attendants unleashed to calm everyone down told me, the planes aren't going to leave without you. OK, fine. Of course by the time I get to the gate that plane was flying over Kentucky. No problem, I'm told, we'll just re-route you via Dulles and you'll get to Jacksonville around 1 a.m. Lovely.
Anyway, greetings from Jacksonville where the game time temperature is 50 degrees. The sun, however, is shining. The cheerleaders are dancing and the teal seats are quickly filling up.
The Fox announcer said that Jacksonville is where everyone wants to be at the end of the season, and "I know two teams that want an invitation back here. The Chicago Bears and the Jacksonville Jaguars." Slow down, there, buddy.
Both the Bears and the Jags are pretty much in a win-out situation. The Bears are playing a meaningful game on Dec. 12. Enjoy it while it lasts.
Adam: In an interesting change of pace, instead of taking the field by running out of a big helmet, the Jags run out of a big cage tended by khaki-clad zoo keeper types. Probably wouldn't work if Ray Lewis played here.
Fox cuts to the last possible commercial before they have to show us football. Football (hopefully) is next.
Adam: Referee Bernie Kukar already is in top form. Bernie had some trouble with the coin flip. "Heads it is whoa correction. Tails it is." Bears will receive.
Zoom takes the kickoff at the six and gets out to the 29. Thomas Jones off-guard left gets six. Chad and Olin Kreutz have a bit of trouble with the exchange, but Chad holds on, hands to Jones, who gets minus 1. Chad right to Dustin Lyman's numbers, but Lyman gets a case of the dropsies. Time to punt. Maynard punts to the 16 and David Allen returns it to the 38.
Leftwich fires incomplete on first down, nice coverage by Zoom. Fred Taylor up the middle, bounces right and crosses into Bears territory for a first down, but Leftwich tugged on Charles Tillman's face mask and the Jags are back into their own territory. They repeat the down and subtract from the spot of the foul, so on 2nd-and-15, Leftwich gets it right to Taylor, who makes like Lyman and drops it. The Bears get great pressure and nail Leftwich as he throws, fourth down. Chris Hanson, who was put in injured reserve last year with an axe injury, punts it to the 29 out of bounds.
Adam: Ton of teal seats still available in this place.
Chad gets flushed, rolls left and gets rid of it out of bounds. Jones up the middle for a couple. Chad has a quick-out to Lyman, off Lyman's hand. The throw wasn't great, but Lyman is not impressing early in this game. Punt goes to the 17, where it's fumbled out of bounds.
Fred Taylor cuts well, finds a nice hole, but gets stopped 1-on-1 by Lance Briggs for about four. Leftwich goes long on a play action, but overthrows his receiver. A short pass across the middle goes right into his receiver's bread basket that gets dropped. Some kinda bug going around. Hanson's punt gets muffed by McQuarters, but Peanut makes a head's up pickup. Bobby Gray gets flagged for unnecessary roughness, and the Bears will start on the 15.
Adam: Tough sun? That's what, four drops?
Jones up the middle for five, and then Qasim Mitchell false starts. A draw to Jones looks bad, but he makes a nice stiff-arm to make it 3rd-and-3. Another draw gets nothing. Maynard's punt goes all the way to the 22, and the Jags get to the 27 and that's it.
Leftwich complete to Reggie Williams for 12 or so for the first first down of the game. Ogunleye injured.
Adam: Three Stooges move there by Jags right tackle Maurice Williams. Poked Ogunleye right in the eye.
Fred Taylor gets not much on first down, then a bunch on second down, 18 to be exact, and he gets down inside the Bears' 40. Then not much on first down again. Leftwich then complete to Edwards again, right in the spot where Urlacher vacated on a blitz, first down. Then a screen to LaBrandon Toefield gets another first down. Lance Briggs runs down Fred Taylor from the other side of the field, 2nd-and-9 from the Jags' 11. Leftwich throws incomplete. Then he throws across the middle into the end zone, almost picked by Mike Green. They call illegal contact on Green for no apparent reason, first-and-goal for the Jags from the 7.
Adam: Did Mike Green even touch the receiver there?
Leftwich throws into the line, a holding call on R.W., and it's 1st-and-goal from the 3. Taylor up the middle, back to the 5.
Adam: Not to sound like some homer, but where was the hold on McQuarters there?
Leftwich incomplete to Troy Edwards. Even if Edwards didn't drop it, he still would have been down at the 3. A throw across the middle to Reggie Williams and he falls back into the end zone. A couple of extra chances for the Jags and they take the early lead.
Jaguars 7, Bears 0
Fox said that the illegal contact call on Green was only the Bears' second of the year. They've been called for a few more holds than that, but with the point of emphasis on the illegal contact and the Bears' emphasis on picks, that's pretty impressive.
Azumah takes it at the 7 and returns it to the 44, but a flag goes down. Bobby Gray held that's his second penalty on a kick. Chad under pressure, pulls it down and runs it for a first down, but Aaron Gibson gets called for illegal hands to the face. First-and-20 from the 16. Chad out to Lyman, who actually holds on, for about five yards. A screen to Jones gets nothing and Olin gets called for illegal block in the back, but it's declined. Chad guns it to David Terrell, who tips it up. Four Jaguars play rock-paper-scissors for the pick but nobody wants it. Maynard punts to the 24, returned to the 38. Maynard's been booting the ball quite well today, I think they've all been 50+ yards.
Taylor gets stuffed for a loss of one, then gets a couple back. Third-and-9 when we get back from the break for the quarter.
Leftwich to Edwards for seven yards, two shy of the first down. Punt goes to the 16, McQuarters calls fair catch and then tries to run with it off the bounce. No dice, Bears have first down from the 15.
Adam: Can you signal for a fair catch and then catch the ball after it bounces? I guess you can. Interesting choice by McQuarters there.
Jones gets a few on first down, then is wiiiiiiiiide open on a play action, and he scampers up the sideline, gets a good block from Justin Gage, and goes to the Jags' 37. An illegal contact rule is declined.
Adam: The illegal contact rule has become this season's in the grasp. There's at least five a game and most of them having nothing to do with the play.
End around to Terrell followed by a run by Jones make it 3rd-and-2, but the protection collapses and Chad throws it away. Quinn and Krenzel would have been sacked, or fumbled. Edinger lines up for a 47 yarder and boots it wide left.
Adam: Man, what has happened to Paul Edinger? Granted 47 yards isn't a chippy, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Bears have a new kicker next season.
Instant replay shows that the miss was partially blocked by the guy Qasim Mitchell was supposed to block.
Fred Taylor gets nothing on first down and then Leftwich fires to Reggie Williams for the first down. Dubs tried to just hit him, bounces off of him, and Briggs chases him down after only a couple of yards after the catch. Then Leftwich sends it deep down the line, great coverage by Tillman, it falls incomplete.
Adam: McQuarters twice has tried to blast a receiver over the middle and twice the receiver has bounced off of him. If he's too late to make a play on the ball why is he playing free safety?
Fred Taylor gets four. Leftwich over the middle to a wide open Todd Yoder for a touchdown, but it gets called back because of holding. McQuarters was late to the ball on that, and they get a second chance.
Adam: Tommie Harris tried to pick up the flag and hand it back to the official. The official's body language said, 'Son, leave that on the ground, please.'
Fred Taylor helps the Bears out by dropping a pass right in his hands. Leftwich is unhappy. Punt is a touchback.
Thomas Jones gets maybe three on first down. Chad has all day on a play action and throws it to Lyman, who's catching the ball now, and it's a first down. The Bears get 15 more yards because of a taunting penalty on the Jags, after they gave up a first down. Hmm. Lyman gets another first-down catch to the Jags' 35.
Adam: Taunting? So you can tackle a guy by his head but you just can't talk to him about it afterwards?
Sorry for the delay, folks, had some computer difficulties here in Chicago. Thomas Jones for minus 1, Chad sacked for minus 8, a completion over the middle to the 36. The Bears fake a field goal and Edinger pooch punts, return man out of bounds at the 15.
Adam: Punter Brad Maynard was the first one down to cover Edinger's quick kick and really wanted no part of making a tackle.
Leftwich passes for three yards, too high for an incompletion, and for minus two yards. The punt goes to the 50 out of bounds, and the Bears take over.
Adam: So far the Jags mascot, Jaxson de Ville, has ridden a Harley, a motorized razor scooter and now a segue scooter. He's also pictured in the program parachuting into Alltel Stadium. Staley the Bear can just cabbage patch.
Chad on first down gets some time, finds Bernard Berrian inside the 20, and he gets down to the 12. A-Train loses one. Then Chad sees the defense, doesn't like it, and calls our first timeout of the game with 2:24 left in the half.
Chad goes out to Jason McKie to the 9. Any softer, and that's six for the Jags. Consider yourselves warned about that 2-minute thing.
Adam: Whoa, very dangerous out pattern there. Tommy Hendricks could've stepped in front of that and gone a long ways the other way. And it only picked up 3 yards.
Aaron Gibson gets taken to school by Jason Gildon and Chad is sacked back to the 24. The Bears line up for a field goal and the Jags take a timeout to freeze the clock at 1:49. This time Edinger splits the uprights and the Bears are on the board.
Jaguars 7, Bears 3
An Edinger squib is returned out beyond the 30. First down to Fred Taylor over the middle who picks up 11 to the 43. Second down to Troy Edwards who drops it, the announcer says it's his third. Leftwich to Jimmy Smith inside the Bears' 35, and the Jags call their second timeout. Plenty of time for Leftwich again and pegs a deep out to Reggie Williams to the Bears' 17. False start pushes them back to the 22.
Adam: We've yet to see the usual magicial turnover by the defense. This would be a good time.
Ogunleye gives the five yards right back by jumping offsides. A corner route falls incomplete, too long for the receiver. Then Leftwich hangs Fred Taylor out to dry, and Urlacher nails him and the pass falls incomplete. Leftwich bobbles the shotgun snap, Ogunleye misses the sack and the Jags get a completion shy of the first down. The Bears call a timeout with 35 seconds left. Josh Scobee nails the chip shot and the Bears only have 31 seconds and one timeout to work with. Expect runs.
Jaguars 10, Bears 3
Zoom from the 5, out to the 27. Run they do, and Jones gets nailed behind the line. That's the half.
Adam: As far as I can tell the Bears are 0 for 7 converting third downs. Dustin Lyman dropped that first try but after that, they've usually been third and really long. Also according to my unofficial count the two teams combined for 11 penalties in the first half.
No lie: Lunch is chili dogs AND baked beans. Should've packed the Beano.
Edinger's kick goes to the 17, returned to the 37. First down passed to Kyle Brady, who gets it at the 39 and is nailed by Urlacher there. The safe pass to Taylor, who has a cushion and just gets the first down. Taylor to the left and Tommie nails him for a loss of 3. Taylor has nowhere to go left, brings it back for a couple. Leftwich the check down to Taylor again, and this time he goes nowhere and the Jags will punt. Leftwich has been going to his check down a lot, which means the Bears are doing well in coverage. Dubs fields the punt at the 10 and is nailed there.
Hutchinson to McKie out for six. Thomas Jones outside for a loss of one. Chad into Jones' bread basket past the marker but Jones drops it. This is getting ridiculous. Maynard punts it to the Jags' 44, returned to the Bears' 45.
Long out to Jimmy Smith for a first down at the Bears' 29. Then a big-play attempt falls incomplete, but Mike Green gets an illegal contact call, first down from the Bears' 24. Three yards on first down on an out pass, end zone on second down incomplete. Tillman on a corner blitz on third down, Leftwich completes it, Green strips it, Urlacher picks it up, but Peanut roughed the passer, going to his head. First down Jags at the 12.
Adam: No doubt about that call. He almost took his helmet off.
Taylor busts up the middle for about five.
Adam: Lost in the penalty was one heckuva a scoop by Urlacher to pick that ball up on a full run.
Alfonso Boone gets some good penetration on a Fred Taylor run, gets tripped, and it's 2-and-15 from the Bears' 17. Pass to the tight end Yoder to the 12. Another pass goes to the check down for about five, and the Jags will take another chip shot. Scobee gets it, but the panhandle fans aren't happy with the Jags' red zone woes. No one in Chicago feels sorry for them.
Jaguars 13, Bears 3
Zoom's return gets back to the 24 or so. The only one he's broken today got called back, and in general, he hasn't broken anything since the 49ers game on Halloween.
Make it the 22. Play action to Bobby Wade, he drops it. Jones to the 25, 3rd-and-7. Chad gets good protection, makes a good throw, and Wade makes a good catch. Illegal contact penalty declined. First down. Chad flushed, goes to Jones who has room to run, and makes good on it to the Jags' 38. John Gilmore false start pushes the Bears back to the 43. Play action, roll out right down field to Berrian, who keeps his feet in bounds but juggles it. It would have been a great catch if he held on. The Bears call a timeout.
Adam: I couldn't tell from the replays here but should the Bears have challenged that call? They obviously got a couple of good lucks at it during the time out. Lovie Smith had the red flag in his hand for a second and then put it back in his pocket.
Chad hit as he throws, incomplete, but a flag is down. Qasim Mitchell held. Wow. This guy is no good. Out route to Jones gets dropped, and Chad's third down pass gets batted down. Hutchinson is playing well today, the offensive line and receivers are not. Maynard boots it to the end zone, a rare touchback for him.
Leftwich's first down pass gets knocked loose by Tillman. Leftwich pulls it down for three yards after Nathan Vasher covers the slant well. Then Vasher doesn't cover the slant well on the other side of the field and it's a first down to the Jags' 32. Taylor gets a couple, then drags the defense along for a couple more for a total of about five. He then makes some good cuts to get another seven for a first down to the 44. Time to change sides.
Leftwich's pass dropped by Jimmy Smith, and he's shaken up. Taylor gets a couple. Leftwich then sails an out pass, almost Quinn-like, and the Bears get off the field. The punt dies at the 1, but the Jags manage to bat it to the 4. Hey, it's something.
Play action fools no one, and Chad is pulled down for a safety. Bears get a taste of their own medicine. The Bears' offensive line is brutal
Jaguars 15, Bears 3
Adam: Play-action out of the end zone?
The punt goes inside the 30, returned to the 38. Taylor rips one off to the Bears' 41. Nine-yard pass to Ernest Wilford, followed by a 4-yard run by Greg Jones and it's another first down. Play action to Brian Jones and another first down. The Bears don't have the time for this. Leftwich's pass falls incomplete and the Jags get flagged for offensive pass interference. Screen to LaBrandon Toefield and he gets run down by Ian Scott for a loss of two. Quick out to Wilford and Azumah makes a great 1-on-1 tackle to keep it from being a big gain. An illegal block in the back keeps it at second down, now 2nd-and-27, and an incomplete pass makes it third down.
Adam: I didn't think this cculd be possible but this game is actually worse than the Bulls-Cavs game I went to on Wednesday. All we need are a few illegal defense calls to cap this one off.
Jimmy Smith burns Charles Tillman, who responds by interfering with the pass, but Smith makes the catch anyway and scores. This game is slipping away quickly. Tillman compounds it by being offside on the extra point, and it will be assessed on the kickoff.
Jaguars 22, Bears 3
Azumah fields it at the 1 and finally breaks one, into Jags territory, about the 47. Quick out to the 39, followed by a dump to A-Train to the 31. Hutchinson drops the snap, picks it up, tosses it up, picked at the 1 and returned to the 25. This game is all but over, even with nine minutes to go.
Hey folks, get your questions into Adam before he goes down to the locker room. He'll have them answered after the game. Use the email form on the right.
Sorry, the 20-yard line. Fred Taylor gets nothing. Long out is incomplete. Draw gets nothing. The seven-minute mark will pass before the Jags punt. Dubs gets a hole and is tripped up after crossing midfield on the punt return. The Bears got an unnecessary roughness foul and the Jags a holding call, but only the Bears' call will be enforced, so they're starting at the 36.
Incomplete pass followed by a dump-off to A-Train who sprints for the sidline and the first-down marker. Train was chased down from behind by Marcus Stroud. An out to Justin Gage gets about seven. Miscommunication with Terrell brings up 3rd-and-3. Then a slant to Terrell and he makes a good catch on a good throw. Offside and the Bears have 1st-and-5 at the Jags' 33. Hutchinson runs away from trouble, drops the ball and it's Jacksonville ball at the 37.
Quick out stays in bounds for about five. Taylor gets nothing. Leftwich sees nothing, runs for six and the first. Greg Jones gains three, then loses four. Warning. A pass gains nothing, flag down. Offsetting penalties, do-over. Leftwich throws it left side and Vasher, "The Interceptor," picks it. Leftwich shows some speed and pushes him out of bounds at the Jags' 15, otherwise it's Vasher's second touchdown of the season. He has five picks on the year, quite a draft find in the fourth round.
Marc Columbo in the game, and leaves a gap for a blitzing linebacker, Chad hit as he throws, incomplete. Then Chad throws high and out of the back of the end zone. Chad gets about a second and a half to throw before he's mauled. The Bears' line is just horrible. Desparation throw falls incomplete. Jags ball with 44 seconds to go in this debacle.
Jags take knees and that's our ball game. Bears give up five sacks and commit 13 penalties. To make matters worse, Brian Urlacher was looking hurt at the end of the game, being attended to by team doctors. Happy week, Bears fans.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times