|2005 Chicago Bears season|
|Head coach||Lovie Smith|
|General manager||Jerry Angelo|
|Owner||The McCaskey Family|
|Home field||Soldier Field|
|Division place||1st NFC North|
|Playoff finish||Lost Divisional Playoffs (Panthers) 29-21|
The 2005 Chicago Bears season was the franchise's 86th season in the National Football League and 24th post-season completed in the National Football League. The team improved to an 11-5 record from a 5-11 record in 2004, earning them their first NFC North title and the second seed in the NFC for the playoffs.
The season started off with the club trying to rebound from a 5-11 season under now coach Lovie Smith. Smith, in his first year with the Bears, had been eager to lead his young team to a Super Bowl, but a preseason injury to starting quarterback Rex Grossman spelled disaster for the Bears.
The 2005 Bears began the season on a negative note, winning only one of their first four games. Despite their poor passing game, the Bears managed to win eight consecutive games, through perseverance on defense and a solid running game. The Bears eventually clinched a playoff berth on Christmas Day against the Green Bay Packers. However, in their first playoff game in almost four years, the Carolina Panthers upset the Bears, 29-21.
|2005 Chicago Bears draft|
|7||220||Rod Wilson||LB||South Carolina|
|Pro Football Hall of Fame Made at least one Pro Bowl during careerMade roster|
Hopeful expectations were crushed as quarterback Rex Grossman's ankle was broken in the 2nd preseason game against the St. Louis Rams. Backup quarterback Chad Hutchinson was benched and cut after struggling heavily in the next two preseason games against the Indianapolis Colts and Buffalo Bills. The Bears then turned to rookie Kyle Orton to lead their offense.
Rookie running back Cedric Benson held out of training camp over a contract dispute until just before the final preseason game. His absence in camp meant that Thomas Jones would be the starting running back going into the regular season.
Despite all these setbacks, the Bears were still hopeful because franchise middle linebacker Brian Urlacher had made it through the preseason in good health, unlike the year before when he battled injuries all season, beginning with a pulled hamstring on the first day of training camp.
|August 8, 2005||vs Miami Dolphins||W 27-24|
|August 12, 2005||at St. Louis Rams||L 17-13|
|August 20, 2005||at Indianapolis Colts||W 24-17|
|August 26, 2005||Buffalo Bills||W 16-12|
|September 1, 2005||Cleveland Browns||L 16-6|
|1||September 11||Washington Redskins||L 9-7||0-1||FedExField|
|2||September 18||Detroit Lions||W 38-6||1-1||Soldier Field|
|3||September 25||Cincinnati Bengals||L 24-7||1-2||Soldier Field|
|5||October 9||Cleveland Browns||L 20-10||1-3||Cleveland Browns Stadium|
|6||October 16||Minnesota Vikings||W 28-3||2-3||Soldier Field|
|7||October 23||Baltimore Ravens||W 10-6||3-3||Soldier Field|
|8||October 30||Detroit Lions||W 19-13||4-3||Ford Field|
|9||November 6||New Orleans Saints||W 20-17||5-3||Tiger Stadium|
|10||November 13||San Francisco 49ers||W 17-9||6-3||Soldier Field|
|11||November 20||Carolina Panthers||W 13-3||7-3||Soldier Field|
|12||November 27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||W 13-10||8-3||Raymond James Stadium|
|13||December 4||Green Bay Packers||W 19-7||9-3||Soldier Field|
|14||December 11||Pittsburgh Steelers||L 21-9||9-4||Heinz Field|
|15||December 18||Atlanta Falcons||W 16-3||10-4||Soldier Field|
|16||December 25||Green Bay Packers||W 24-17||11-4||Lambeau Field|
|17||January 1||Minnesota Vikings||L 34-10||11-5||Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome|
|Green Bay Packers||4||12||0||.250||1-5||4-8||298||344||W1|
This was Chicago's only loss at home during the season.
Due to damage from Hurricane Katrina to the Louisiana Superdome, the Saints were forced to host the game at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. The Saints scored first on a John Carney field goal, but the Bears struck back with a Kyle Orton to Justin Gage touchdown pass. After the Saints scored on an Aaron Brooks touchdown pass to Donte' Stallworth, Robbie Gould tied the game on a 35-yard field goal. In the second half, Adrian Peterson gave the Bears the lead on a 6-yard run, which was countered with Brooks scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth. Orton eventually threw a 22-yard pass to Muhsin Muhammad to set up a game-winning field goal from Gould with six seconds left in the game. Gould eventually scored on a 28-yard field goal to give the Bears a 20-17 lead. The Saints' last chance to march 65 yards to win was crushed when Brooks' pass to Az-Zahir Hakim was intercepted by Nathan Vasher. The win was the Bears' fourth-straight, which hasn't been accomplished by the team since their 2001 season. In the first quarter, Bears running back Thomas Jones went out with an injury, but his backups Adrian Peterson and Cedric Benson would combine for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Things were bad from the beginning for the Bears, who allowed a 58-yard Jake Delhomme TD pass to Steve Smith just 55 seconds into the game. Cornerback Charles Tillman slipped on the play, and it would only signify things to come the rest of the game for the vaunted Bears defense.
The Panthers would add 2 field goals to their total before the Bears would get their first points.
The Bears offense got off to a slow start, having their first 5 possessions end in punts. Their first score came midway through the second quarter, when running back Adrian Peterson scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run. The Bears had opted to go for it on 4th down to get the score, cutting the Carolina lead to 13-7. Before the half expired, the Panthers' John Kasay kicked a 37-yard field goal with 5 seconds left in the half, extending the lead to 16-7.
The Bears offense came out at halftime firing on all cylinders, mounting an 8-play, 68-yard drive to close to within 2 points of the Panther lead. It was a balanced drive that led to the score, with the Bears running and passing 5 times each, with Rex Grossman capping the drive with a 1-yard TD pass to Desmond Clark.
The spark provided by the offense would be short lived, as midway through the 3rd quarter, Delhomme went deep to Steve Smith again, this time for a 39-yard touchdown that put the Panthers up 23-14. Chris Thompson, a reserve defensive back for the Bears, fell down on the play to let Smith slip past him.
The Bears would manage to score one more time on a drive that started with 2:07 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Grossman would complete 3 of 4 passes on the drive, and running back Thomas Jones almost scored on a 7-yard run. After a replay challenge by Carolina, however, the officials reversed the call to say that Jones had fumbled into the endzone, which would have resulted in a Carolina touchback. However, a major facemask penalty on Carolina defensive back Marlon McCree would give Chicago a first down at the Carolina 3. From there, fullback Jason McKie would rumble in for a touchdown, making the score 23-21 in favor of the Panthers.
When the Bears offense would start moving the ball once more, disaster struck for the Bears, as on a 3rd-and-10 play from the Carolina 37-yard line, Grossman threw an ill-advised interception to Ken Lucas.