I'll start off with a disclaimer. I obviously don't know as much about football or the Bears' game-plan as Offensive Coordinator Ron Turner. I understand that, but it doesn't make it easier for me to swallow the questionable at best play-calling on the last three offensive plays.
Let's set the scene. The Bears trail by three points, and have one of the most reliable big-game kickers in the NFL. After a Matt Forte nine yard gain, the Bears have 2:05 left and no timeouts. Still, the ball was on the 50 yard line. You likely only need to gain 17 to 20 yards in order to allow Gould to tie the game. As far as I'm concerned, considering all these factors, time shouldn't be an issue. Moving the chains was. When you have second down and one yard to gain, and you have Matt Forte running like he was for the entire first two weeks, I've gotta believe you run the football and get the first down.
Instead, the Bears attempted to throw a quick screen to the outside receiver -- Rashied Davis -- that nearly ended in disaster. If Chris Gamble had jumped the route a half-step sooner, he'd have a pick-six to his name right now.
On third and one, the play was at least defensible. A short out route to Marty Booker in that situation isn't horrible, but I still don't understand why a running play wasn't used, especially when you consider the two minute warning would serve as a buffer to stop the clock once the play was complete. Of course, the pass was incomplete and the two minute warning was wasted.
The fourth down call was egregious. Absolutely indefensible. You knew the Panthers were going to clog the middle, because now the issue is truly the first down and not the clock. If you insist on running the ball up the middle when they are waiting on it, you must get the ball into the hands of a running back with quick feet and good field vision ... which is never the definition of a fullback. Jason McKie ran right into three or four defenders and just tried to plow forward. You can't blame him, because that's what he does. He's a fullback. At least Forte would have had the vision to realize there wasn't any running room up the middle, and could have used his quick feet to hopefully find a one yard hole.
It shouldn't have come to that, though. Run the freaking football on second and one. Move the chains.