Bears don't blame Barber's clock gaffe, fumble for defeat

Marion Barber might be Public Enemy No. 1 to some Chicago Bears fans, but his teammates and coaches are standing by him after his two costly mistakes in Sunday's 13-10 overtime loss to the Denver Broncos.

Barber's first miscue came with the Bears leading 10-7 with about two minutes to go and the Broncos out of timeouts. Barber, who ran hard all day and gained 108 yards on 27 carries, inexplicably went out of bounds, stopping the clock. It eventually gave the Broncos extra time, and they moved in for a game-tying field goal, a 59-yarder by Matt Prater that forced overtime.

Barber later fumbled in overtime at the Denver 33 as the Bears were driving. Then it was Tim Tebow time, and the quarterback led the Broncos into position for Prater's game-winner.

"Definitely one of the toughest ones I've had to deal with, we've had to deal with," Bears coach Lovie Smith said Monday. "We normally celebrate when we have a game in control like that late in the game. We haven't been in this position very often, if at all. We don't like it, but it's how we respond, and we will respond."

On NFL Network
"NFL Replay" will re-air the Broncos' 13-10 OT win over the Bears on Wednesday, Dec. 14

at 8 p.m. ET.

Barber drew the ire of fans and commentators for the two plays, but his teammates didn't hold the mistakes against him.

"We all feel bad for Marion because we've all been in that situation at some point in our career," tight end Matt Spaethtold the Bears' official website. "He played a great game. We wouldn't have even been in that game or had a chance to win if it wasn't for Marion and the way he played."

Smith said blaming only Barber for the clock blunder, let alone the outcome of the game, was unfair.

"It's on all of us," Smith said. "Yes, it's a coaching thing. But it's on our team, on Marion, on us, on all of us. It's a situation that shouldn't happen, but it did, and we're all suffering the consequences for it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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