By Les Grobstein-

DENVER (WSCR)  Looking for a way to “brighten” this holiday season?

Matt Prater kicked a 59 yard field goal with :03 left in the fourth quarter to force overtime,and then he drilled a 51 yard game winner with 7:26 gone in extra time to give the Denver Broncos a come from behind 13-10 win over the suddenly reeling Bears. Marion Barbermwho had an otherwise nice game, was a double goat.First,he did not stay in bounds in the final minute when the Bears were trying to run out the clock,and while Denver had no timeouts left. That saved the Broncos a good 35 seconds,and remember the tying field goal came with just three ticks on the clock. Do the math! OK,the game went into overtime and the Bears won the toss and were moving the ball,and in fact got into Robbie Gould’s range,especially here in the thin air of Colorado. Barber looked like he gained even more yardage when the ball was stripped from him and Elvis Dumervil recovered at Denver’s 34. A couple of first downs later, Prater kicked his game winner.

It was 47* at kickoff and this was a taffy pull for the first quarter.The Bears got to Tim Tebow twice and on an incompleted pass,Lance Briggs was called for a very questionable(in fact,lousy)late hit by Referee Carl Cheffers,and Briggs didn’t even know the QB down. Charles Tillman ended that drive however by picking off a pass at the Bears 24.Cheffers called another personal foul for an alleged hit to Tebow’s knee. Again,awful call. The Broncos ran the ball down to the Bears 11,but that was it and Matt Prater tried a 28 yard field goal that Julius Peppers blocked. This half ended,fittingly with John Blutarsky numbers of ZERO point ZERO!! That’s four straight quarters that the Bears have been blanked and over their last six periods,they are averaging 0.5 points per!

After both teams punted twice to start the third quarter, Devin Hester had a 26 yard punt return to the Denver 42. Six plays later with the help of the running of Barber and Kahil Bell,they got to the nine,and Barber broke around the left side to break the ice. 7-0 Bears with 5:19 left in the third.First Bears TD in two weeks,since Oakland.The Bears held Denver to a three and out,and Hester returned the punt 10 yards to the Bears 37.After a nice third down catch for 18 yards by Roy Williams got the Bears in Denver territory again,Henie hit Hester for 7 yards,but he got called for a face mask moving the ball back to the Bears 48. The running of Barber got the Bears in position for Robbie Gould to try a career high 57 yard field goal which he converted in this light air with plenty to spare and the Bears led 10-0 just five seconds into the fourth quarter.Tebow hit on three straight passes,but was then sacked by Craig Steltz,fumbled and Israel Idonoje recovered at the Bears 45. The Bears now led the takeaway stat 2-0,but of course that changed in overtime.Denver finally got a successful drive going when they took over at their 47 and drove 63 yards in seven plays with Tebow finding a wide open Demaryius Thomas in the end zone-no doubt a blown coverage.The Broncos tried an on-side kick but Nick Roach grabbed it at his own 49. Now it was Barber’s turn and he was first stuffed for no gain as the two minute warning came up.Then he went around left end and did not stay in bounds,going out after only five seconds ran off the clock. On third down he picked up a yard and the Bears ran the clock down to 1:06 before taking a delay of game. Adam Podlesh’s punt was returned to the twenty,and the Bears,despite Lovie Smith’s denying that they were in a prevent,they totally were and Denver got to the Bears 41 with :08 left.Had Barber not gone out of bounds,the Broncos may never of had enough time for a legit field goal try.

Any way you look at this, the Bears,with three straight losses,and with wins by Detroit and Atlanta,are in trouble if they hope to make the playoffs.

NOTES—Hanie was 12-19 for 115 yards and was sacked 4 times for 29 yards. Tebow was 21-40 for 236 yards,1 TD and 1 interception.He was sacked five times for 15 yards.


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