Super Bowl: Grossman faltered when Bears needed him the most

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 4, 2007

Associated Press

MIAMI — This was the Rex Grossman that the Chicago Bears and their fans feared.

When the Bears needed a clutch throw to catch up in the fourth quarter, their quarterback couldn’t connect.

Instead, Grossman threw a pair of interceptions, one that Kelvin Hayden returned for a touchdown, all but ending Chicago’s chance to win the Super Bowl at rainy Dolphin Stadium.

“A frustrating loss,” Grossman said. “There were definitely opportunities for us to take that game and we didn’t do it.”

Criticized all season for his erratic play and questioned all week before the biggest game about his up-and-down season, Grossman did little to quiet his detractors Sunday night in a 29-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Two fumbled snaps — one he lost, one he didn’t — and then the two underthrown fourth-quarter picks. Two throws that were pretty, well, gross.

“In hindsight, I wish I had thrown it away,” Grossman said of the pass Hayden returned for a score. “The timing on it wasn’t right.”

Grossman’s stats weren’t bad — 20-of-28 for 165 yards. But the Bears had trouble manufacturing drives against Indy’s tough defense. Grossman did have a 4-yard TD pass to Muhsin Muhammad in the first half, set up by Thomas Jones’ 52-yard run.

But other than Devin Hester’s TD return on the opening kickoff, there was not enough offense, especially in the second half. The Bears managed only 11 first downs, tied for the fifth-fewest total in a Super Bowl.

This is how it went for Grossman: In the third quarter after he’d completed a pair of passes to move the Bears to a second-and-1 at the Colts’ 45, he dropped back to pass, slipped on the wet grass and was sacked for an

11-yard loss. Another

11-yard loss put the Bears in a fourth-and-23 and a promising drive was over.

The Bears needed more than just the shifty running of Jones. They needed some big plays from their quarterback, and Grossman didn’t provide them.

“We just never got any kind of rhythm going,” Grossman said.