Denver Freezes Bears' Playoff Hopes in 17-15 Win | NBC Chicago
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Denver Freezes Bears' Playoff Hopes in 17-15 Win

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    Darian Stewart #26 of the Denver Broncos breaks up a pass intended for Martellus Bennett #83 of the Chicago Bears in the fourth quarter at Soldier Field on Nov. 22 at Soldier Field. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

    The Chicago Bears had an opportunity late to tie things up against the Denver Broncos Sunday, but Von Miller's stop of Jeremy Langford sealed a 17-15 victory for John Fox's former team. 

    The Bears didn’t get off to a good start offensively, and the Broncos made them pay as they scored on their first drive. Brock Osweiler made two big completions to Demaryius Thomas, and on the second catch the receiver tiptoed his way along the sidelines and got in at the pylon to give Denver a 7-0 lead just three minutes into the game.

    The two defenses took center stage as the first quarter wore on, with both sides making some quality plays. Jay Cutler was sacked to end Chicago’s second drive of the game, and Willie Young and Bruce Gaston each picked up sacks against Osweiler as the Broncos were forced to punt the ball away.

    Early in the second quarter, the Bears were able to take advantage of their strong defense as they got on the board. Cutler nearly threw a touchdown pass to the corner of the end zone, but Jeremy Langford wasn’t able to make an adjustment on the back shoulder throw. Robbie Gould did kick a 46-yard field goal however to make it a 7-3 game.

    After the Bears got the ball back again, their offense slowly churned up field. Josh Bellamy got a big gain along the sidelines after he hauled in a lofted pass from Cutler, and although the Bears couldn’t convert on a third down play in the red zone, Gould made another field goal to trim Denver’s lead to just 7-6 with about six minutes to go in the first half.

    The Bears nearly got a safety on the ensuing kickoff, but Omar Bolden was able to scramble out of the end zone and down the ball at the two yard line. The Bears’ defense forced a three-and-out after that, but their offense couldn’t capitalize as they booted the ball away after three plays of their own.

    On the last drive of the half, the Broncos got a couple of big plays over the middle of the field to Owen Daniels, and they drove deep into the red zone. Adrian Amos made a key stop short of the goal line with about nine seconds to go, and after Osweiler overthrew Thomas on an end zone shot, Brandon McManus knocked through a short field goal to make it 10-6 at the half.

    Both teams traded unsuccessful drives to start the third quarter off, and the defensive battle continued as both teams forced turnovers on their second possessions. Cutler threw an interception into the waiting arms of Danny Trevathan to give the Broncos back the ball in Bears territory, but Chicago responded as they stopped Ronnie Hillman short of the first down marker near the goal line to force a turnover on downs.

    The Bears moved the ball down the field thanks to penalties on Shane Ray and Brandon Marshall, and then Marquess Wilson made a big play to gain 30 yards and get the Bears into scoring range. The Broncos’ defense did stop them short however, and a Gould field goal was all Chicago could muster as they trimmed the lead to 10-9 after three quarters of play.

    As the fourth quarter got underway, the Broncos managed to get a drive going, and Osweiler converted when his team needed him the most. On a third down play, Osweiler fired a bullet over the middle of the field, and Cody Latimer made the catch in the end zone to put Denver up by a score of 17-9. 

    In the late stages of the game, the Bears got the ball back at the two minute warning, and Cutler led the team on a long scoring drive. Jeremy Langford did the honors as he dove across the goal line to make it 17-15, but he couldn't repeat the feat on the two-point conversion attempt as Miller stopped him short of the goal line to seal the victory for Denver. 

    The Bears won't have much time to lick their wounds as they have to prepare for a Thanksgiving showdown with the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night. 

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