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Ultimately, the only scoreboard the Chicago Bears needed to watch was the one hanging at Reliant Stadium.
No matter what else happened around the NFL Sunday, the Bears needed to win at Houston to keep their playoff hopes alive. As it turned out, the Bears would have clinched a wild-card playoff spot had they defeated the Texans. But in a game that mirrored their season, the Bears lost an early lead and couldn't stop their opponent's offense when it counted most.
Up 10-0 in the first quarter, the Bears were outscored 31-14 the rest of the way -- the sixth game this season in which the Bears have lost a lead. The Bears porous' pass defense gave up 328 yards to quarterback Matt Schaub and a total of 455 offensive yards to the Texans offense.
Those numbers provided an exclamation point for what figures to be a hot offseason topic in Chicago: Will the Bears bring back defensive coordinator Bob Babich, a longtime friend of coach Lovie Smith? In what was apparently a tense postgame locker room, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman alluded to the subject.
"Something has to change," Tillman told reporters. "I don't know what that is, but I think something will change. Something has to."