The Chicago Bears blew another ten-point fourth-quarter lead on Sunday against the Browns in Cleveland, as the ninth loss of 2023 all but seals the team’s playoff hopes. What made the blown lead loss even more heartbreaking was that the Bears had a chance to miraculously win on the final play of the game, as quarterback Justin Fields’ Hail Mary attempt was nearly caught by wide receiver Darnell Mooney, but dropped despite the ball being in the wide receiver’s hands and chest before being picked up by a Browns’ defender. The near-miracle finish is just one of many unfortunate endings Chicago fans have seen in recent years.
The Bears Have Repeatedly Failed To Be On The Ride Side Of A Close Finish
Unfortunately, the Bears, since 2017, have had way too many instances where they nearly pull off the impossible and win a game they have no reason to be victorious in. Whether it be a game-winning touchdown on the final play of a contest, a game-tying field goal to force overtime, or a game-winning field goal to win a playoff game, Chicago is never on the right side of fate. It is much more troubling knowing that there hasn’t been one instance where the Bears have been on the correct side and pulled off an improbable victory.
In the 2017 season-opening game against the Atlanta Falcons at home, the Bears were heavy underdogs as they were hosting the reigning NFC Champions while coming off the worst season in franchise history, only winning three games in 2017. Despite being severely outmatched against Atlanta’s offense, Chicago only trailed by six points on their final offensive drive of the game. Led by quarterback Mike Glennon, the Bears’ offense drove to the Falcons’ five-yard line and failed to score on four attempts, including a dropped touchdown catch by running back Jordan Howard at the goal-line. A last-second win over Atlanta would have been memorable as they had just played in the Super Bowl earlier that year and blown a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots.
Subscribe to the BFR Podcast for analysis, insight, and discussion about Chicago Bears football.
Missed field goals at the end of games have also been a part of the heartbreaking trend for Chicago over the past several years. In 2017, against the Detroit Lions at home, rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky pulled off an unimaginable 19-yard scramble on 4th and 13 to set up a game-tying field goal attempt that would have forced overtime with no time left. Unfortunately, kicker Connor Barth missed a 46-yard kick wide right, resulting in a loss.
A year later, in the wildcard playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Trubisky led the Bears’ offense on a last-minute drive following a go-ahead touchdown by the Eagles’ offense. Chicago drove to Philadelphia’s 25 yard-line setting up Cody Parkey for a 43-yard attempt with ten seconds to go. Parkey would miss with the infamous “double-doink” kick as the Bears were eliminated from the playoffs in one of the worst losses in franchise history.
In 2019, the Bears would suffer numerous last-second defeats that ripped at the hearts of fans, as the team would lose on the final play of two games. Against the Los Angeles Chargers at home, kicker Eddy Piniero missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired, handing the Chargers a 17-16 win. In week 15 at Lambeau Field against the Packers, the Bears were facing playoff elimination with a loss. Down by eight and at the Packers’ 34-yard line, Chicago’s offense tried to pull off a series of laterals to score, only for tight end Jesper Horsted to be tackled seven yards from the endzone as he failed to notice Allen Robinson off to his right, who had he lateraled the ball to would have scored a touchdown, instead the Bears lost 21-13.
The Bears Are Even Unable To Hold On To Miracle Moments When They Are Given To Them
There also have been moments where Chicago has nearly completed a miraculous comeback or a response touchdown to only give the opposing team a chance to steal a win, which only turns to false hope. One moment was seen in 2016 at home against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in week 15. Down by 17 at the start of the fourth quarter, Chicago’s offense scored on three consecutive drives to tie the game at 27 with less than a minute to go. On a 3rd down and long, Rodgers completed a 60-yard pass to Jordy Nelson to set up a game-winning field goal as time expired.
The last time the Bears’ had a near-miracle finish on an improbable touchdown was against the Baltimore Ravens, back in 2021. Despite Baltimore without All-Pro quarterback Lamar Jackson, Chicago trailed 9-7 with two minutes left. On 4th and 11, quarterback Andy Dalton connected on a deep pass to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin for a 49-yard score, giving Chicago a 13-9 lead. Unfortunately, the Ravens, with backup quarterback Tyler Huntley, would score with 22 seconds left, resulting in the opposition winning the game 16-13.
As a fan of the team, it is so disheartening to be on the wrong side of an outcome repeatedly, but it is even worse when a potential win is within grasp. In the past five years, Chicago has been in playoff contention three of those years, with tough losses destroying the glimmering post-season hopes two of those times. Sunday’s loss furthers a negative recent trend in Bears’ history as the team keeps coming up just short at the very end of a game when all hope appeared to be lost, only to tease a near-miraculous victory.