A new low? Bears blow fourth-quarter lead, lose to Jaguars, 17-16
The Bears’ season, in one play:
Down six with 2:58 remaining Sunday, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles took a five-step drop, faced a blitz from his left and looked right, to receiver Arrelious Benn. Cornerback Tracy Porter slipped on the boggy Soldier Field turf before the ball landed in Benn’s arms on a post route — and then Benn slipped too, on the Bears’ 35.
Benn stood up and ran, untouched, for a touchdown, beating cornerback Bryce Callahan to the right pylon in the north end zone of a panicked crowd featuring 5,370 unused seats.
Two minutes and 49 seconds later, the scoreboard confirmed what karma had wrought: a 17-16 Jaguars win over the Bears, who fell to 1-5 with a game at rival Green Bay looming Thursday.
Insult? Benn, from Illinois, hadn’t scored a touchdown in five years. Injury? Porter — whose end-zone interception on the Jaguars’ first drive helped the Bears pitch a shutout for the first three quarters — limped to the locker room with an ankle injury after the touchdown. He received treatment late into the afternoon and was not made available for comment.
“Just a fluke play,” safety Adrian Amos said. “Things happen. We let them hang around.”
The Bears led blew a 13-point, fourth-quarter lead for the first time since 1999. On offense, they managed only three Connor Barth field goals and a 1-yard Jordan Howard run.
Barth’s first kick, a 36-yarder near the start of the second quarter, came after the Bears turned first-and-10 into third-and-17 from the 32. His final one, from 32 yards, came in the fourth quarter after the Bears had first-and-10 at t
What happens when an offense can’t score touchdowns?
“Today happens,” tight end Zach Miller said.
The loss was shocking even by this season’s standards; the Bears had a 77.2 percent win probability index when Benn — who estimated he played about five offensive snaps — picked himself up off the turf and ran for the 51-yard score.
“It’s not a lack of heart, lack of trying,” coach John Fox said. “Our guys battled. We just don’t play well enough right now, and that’s on all of us.”
Young called the Jaguars —winless through their first three games — a superior team, though they didn’t look it for three quarters.
“Anything you guys ask or say or want to know, at the end of the day, they were the better team, to sum it all up,” Young said.
Amos said the Bears “have to learn how to win,” while inside linebacker Danny Trevathan said “a couple plays got away from us.”
That the game-winning score came on a fluky play was either irrelevant or perfect, depending on how one interprets this woeful Bears season.
“I don’t know if there’s any real secret code or method to fix it,” safety Chris Prosinski said. “I think we just have to do it. Once we do it, we’ll know how to do it and build confidence and keep finishing games.”
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley