Disaster in Denver: What Went Wrong in the Bears' Collapse Against the Broncos

Zack PearsonCorrespondent IDecember 13, 2011

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11:  Linebacker Brian Urlacher #54 of the Chicago Bears runs the defense against quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Bears 13-10 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Disaster. A complete disaster. That's exactly what happened to the Chicago Bears Sunday in their 13-10 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos. A loss that unofficially ended their season and any hope they had for the playoffs.

Holding a 10-0 lead with just under 14 minutes left in the game, it seemed like the Bears had it wrapped up.

Tebow and the Broncos offense hadn't moved the ball much against the Bears defense. All Chicago had to do was hold onto the ball and kill some clock.

However, the Bears decided to not only play prevent defense late in the fourth quarter, but prevent offense as well. We all know what the saying is, "prevent defense prevents you from winning."

It just happened again.

The Bears dropped into their "prevent shell" defense. Safeties lined up 30 yards off the ball and corners giving the wide receivers extra cushion in coverage. But why? Why do it now Lovie?

The Broncos scored ZERO points through three quarters, and frankly, until the five-minute mark in the fourth quarter the Bears defense dominated.

Until they played prevent defense, and Tim Tebow once again led another Bronco's comeback.

The play that's mind-boggling to me is when Tebow found Demaryius Thomas wide open in the end zone for the Broncos' only touchdown, with 2:08 remaining in the game.

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 11:  Cornerback Charles Tillman #33 of the Chicago Bears prepares for a play against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on December 11, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Looking back on the play, the Bears were in zone coverage. However, Zack Bowman, for whatever reason, didn't play zone. He let Thomas behind him, leaving a wide-open target for Tebow.

Still, poor coaching by the Bears led to a easy Denver drive to put them back in the game.

Then, Marion Barber happened.

With the Bears recovering the onside kick, all the Bears had to do was run clock and stay in bounds. Barber made the biggest mistake of his professional career. In a run designed to go inside, Barber bounced outside of the hash marks, then went out of bounds.

Instantly, the announcers saw Barber's mistake. So did every Bears fan watching the game. How could this happen? How could a player, 12 weeks into the season, not know to stay in bounds?

Tebow and the Broncos would get the ball back. The unthinkable happened again. Lovie called on his prevent defense again. Another dumb coaching mistake.

The Broncos drove down the field, as Tebow picked apart the Bears' secondary en-route to a Matt Prater game-tying, 59-yard field goal.

The second the ball split the uprights. I knew there was no way in hell the Bears would win this game.

As the Bears fumbled away the game in overtime, what once was a 10-point lead and a No. 5 seed in the NFC. It became a disaster and the Bears on the outside looking in for the NFC playoff race.

It's clear this team isn't going to win. Hanie has struggled, the offensive line has crumbled the past two games and the coaching has been in-excusable.

Whether it's the decision to play prevent defense, not trusting Hanie by opening up the playbook or just boneheaded mistakes. The season has turned into a disaster right before our eyes.

What once looked like a promising run to the playoffs and potentially more, looks ugly. Once Jay Cutler and Matt Forte went down. So did the Bears' season.

Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith have lost this team. Angelo can't evaluate talent, especially when we need it the most (now); the talent has failed.