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Bears struggle late, fall to Jaguars

Posted Oct 16, 2016

The Bears blew a 16-7 lead by allowing 10 points in a 2:10 span late in the fourth quarter in a shocking 17-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday at Soldier Field.

When the Bears took a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against Jacksonville, it appeared they were well on their way to a second straight home victory.

But the Jaguars rallied to score 10 points in a 2:10 span late in the final period to turn a 16-7 deficit into a shocking 17-16 victory before 55,614 stunned fans at Soldier Field.

"I don't think it's a lack of want to," said coach John Fox. "It's not a lack of heart, lack of trying. Our guys battled. We just don't play well enough right now and it's on all of us, everybody in there. Coaches are giving their all, players are giving their all. We've just got to play better to win games and today was much like a few of our other outings."

Jacksonville cut the deficit to 16-10 on Jason Myers' 30-yard field goal with 4:59 remaining and got the ball back just 1:41 later after the Bears went three-and-out.

Four plays later, Arrelious Benn caught a 51-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles to give the Jaguars their first lead of the game with 2:49 left. The Bears blitzed on the play and veteran Tracy Porter fell down in coverage, enabling Benn to make a sliding catch, get back to his feet and run untouched into the end zone.

"I think it was a slip," Fox said. "It was an alert move on their part. The guy catches the ball, falls down, gets up. We weren't getting much pressure. We did something in that case to get a little more pressure and there was not a whole lot of safety valve behind that coverage. It was good execution on their part."

The Bears reached the Jaguars' 44 on their final drive. But Jordan Howard was penalized for holding and rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey broke up Brian Hoyer's pass intended for Alshon Jeffery over the middle on fourth-and-10 with :57 to play.

With the loss, the Bears fell to 1-5 for the first time since 2004 and have now dropped 16 of their last 20 home games dating back to 2013. The Jaguars (2-3) arrived at Soldier Field Sunday having lost 17 of their last 18 road contests.

Sunday marked the first time the Bears lost after leading by at least 13 points entering the fourth quarter since Sept. 19, 1999 when the Seahawks turned a 13-0 deficit into a 14-13 win at Soldier Field.

Hoyer made history Sunday, becoming the first quarterback in Bears history to pass for at least 300 yards in four straight games. He also extended his streak of passes without an interception this season to 189, most in the NFL and just 16 short of Kyle Orton's team record.

Hoyer completed 30 of 49 passes for 302 yards and a 78.8 passer rating.

But the Bears scored just one touchdown on four trips in the red zone, settling for three field goals after reaching the Jacksonville 18, 6 and 9.

"We've got to find a way to score those touchdowns down there," Hoyer said. "Our defense does a good enough job. We can't put them in that position. If I had the answer, then we wouldn't be talking about it. We've got to figure it out and quickly."

The Bears led 10-0 at halftime, the first time they shut out an opponent in the first half since Oct. 22, 2012 in a 13-7 win over the Lions at Soldier Field.

The Jaguars marched the length of the field on their first possession Sunday before Porter intercepted a Bortes pass that deflected off a tumbling Allen Robinson in the end zone.

The Bears converted the turnover into a 3-0 lead on Connor Barth's 36-yard field goal early in the second quarter. Howard later capped an impressive 16-play, 86-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, widening the margin to 10-0 with 4:29 left in the half.

The Bears were 5-of-5 on third down on their only touchdown drive of the day, matching the most successful third-down conversions they've had in an entire game this season. Hoyer was 4-of-4 for 57 yards in converting four third downs on the possession.

The Bears were 7-of-10 on third down in the first half but 0-of-7 in the second half—just one of many reasons they lost for the fifth time in six games this season.

"No one is more disappointed than the guys in that room," Hoyer said. "The thing that we have to do—and I think we have the people to do it—is just stick together. No one's going to give us a chance the rest of the way, and that's OK. As long as the people in that room believe, we'll be fine. It's why they call it ‘any given Sunday.'

"We lost the last two weeks at the end of the game and it's tough. That's part of the NFL. We have to figure out a way to turn it the other way. and as long as we stick together, I think we're capable of anything."