Strange loss creates hurdle for Bears

"That was frustration by myself," Bushrod said. "You play hard all game, all game, all game, then you let something you don't want to happen happen. I got frustrated and just tossed the ball. I thought they overreacted, but it is what it is. I don't know."

Who does know how to explain squandering numerous chances, including one in the fourth quarter that should have swung the game in the Bears' favor for good after a Khaseem Greene interception?

Leading 20-17 with 6:57 left in regulation, the Bears lost possession at their own 18-yard line on a bizarre pass play that ended up in the arms of offensive guard Kyle Long, who then fumbled.

Still, the Bears appeared to halt the Vikings' drive on a third-and-6 at the 14 with a stop by rookie Jon Bostic after a short pass from backup quarterback Matt Cassel to Chase Ford. Alas, Bostic was called for taunting on what appeared to be another officials' overreaction at an odd moment, which gave the Vikes a first-and-goal at the 6.

Once again, however, the figurative pendulum swung one way -- this time with Bostic bestie Greene picking off Cassel and returning it 49 yards to the 50-yard line -- then back again, hitting the Bears in the collective backside as they stalled on second-and-1 and third-and-1 on consecutive run plays from the Minnesota 41.

"It was weird. It was bizarre. Each team had a chance to end it a lot earlier," Bears guard Matt Slauson said. "It was up and down. It was tough. … That third-and-1 and fourth-and-1, that's ours, our time to shine, and it didn't happen. It's sad."

Sad especially for Gould, who experienced one of the more dramatic swings of emotion in a 15-hour period as he witnessed the birth of his baby boy at 1 a.m. Sunday in Chicago, flew to Minneapolis shortly before sunrise, missed a 66-yard field goal try at the end of regulation, then had the chance to clinch a dramatic overtime victory, only to fail on what would normally be an eminently makeable kick.

Once again, it was not that simple, as Gould was dispatched by Trestman on second-and-7 at the Vikings 29-yard line.

Trestman said he went for it on second down because he did not want to risk "a possible penalty … a fumble or something unique." Hard to call him crazy for that one, as a face-mask penalty negated a 39-yard field goal by Minnesota's Blair Walsh on the preceding series. Walsh tried again from 57 and was wide left.

"I felt we were clearly in range to get the game over at the time," Trestman said, conceding the Bears were "running the ball really well." "We have one of the best field-goal kickers in the league, certainly. Unfortunately, we didn't get it done. There's a lot of things. Robbie didn't lose the game for us. There's a lot of different ways to lose."

And it was a day that seemingly saw them all. Poor Gould didn't seem to know what to make of it all, apologizing that he "couldn't do it for my teammates like I did for my wife. It's hard to swallow."

"You give him that kick again," Slauson said, "and out of 100 times, he will make every one."

Refusing to give up on the season, Bears players were not exactly organizing a team rally, either.

"My emotions aren't really just stuck on this game; it's the season," Marshall tried to explain in the sweaty aftermath. "Anything still can happen. You never know. We've seen some crazy things in the past, but it sucks. I want to get to the playoffs, and I want to win. A lot of people in this organization deserve it. A lot of people in the city deserve it. And for us not to get it done today put us behind the 8-ball a little more."

Yep, it does.

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