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(Sunday, December 4th)
Final Score: Kansas City 10, Chicago 3
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Dexter McCluster hauled in a 38-yard Hail Mary pass at the end of the first half, and Tyler Palko managed the game by throwing for 157 yards, as the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Chicago Bears, 10-3, in a defensive slugfest at Soldier Field.
The Chiefs came into the contest ranked last in the NFL with 13 sacks, but Kansas City's pressure got to Chicago quarterback Caleb Hanie seven times, with rookie Justin Houston recording three sacks.
McCluster ran for 61 yards on nine carries for the Chiefs (5-7), who snapped a four-game losing skid.
Without Matt Forte, who exited the game in the first quarter with a right knee injury, the Bears (7-5) struggled to get anything going offensively as they finished the game with just 181 total yards and went 0-for-11 on third down.
"Offensively we didn't get anything done," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "It's hard to maintain drives, of course, when you can't convert third downs. They got too much pressure on us."
Hanie completed just 11-of-24 passes for 133 yards and three interceptions.
Instead of attempting a 55-yard field goal with two seconds remaining in the first half, Chiefs head coach Todd Haley elected to go for the Hail Mary.
And his prayer was answered as the Chiefs recorded their first touchdown in 33 possessions.
On the play, Palko launched a pass into the right corner of the end zone. Brian Urlacher tried batting the ball into the ground, but McCluster was able to haul in the ricochet for a 38-yard touchdown to give Kansas City a 7-3 lead.
Palko's first career touchdown pass capped off an impressive 16-play, 87-yard drive, which took the final 4:16 off the first-half clock.
"It was one of those types of things where the offensive line just tried to spread the guys out and you got to slide up in there, find some time and let your guys get down there and let them make a play," Palko said. "It was exactly the way we drew it up in the playbook."
The momentum of the final first-half play carried into the second half as the Chiefs moved the ball 86 yards in 15 plays before Ryan Succop nailed a 21-yard field goal to make it a 10-3 game.
Thomas Jones, Jackie Battle and McCluster combined to run for 62 yards on the opening second-half possession.
A Kahlil Bell 26-yard run put the Bears in a 1st-and-goal situation at the seven-yard line late in the third quarter. But Tyson Jackson sacked Hanie for a 10-yard loss on 2nd-and-goal, and Houston recorded his second sack of the game on 3rd-and-goal for a six-yard loss. Robbie Gould's 41-yard field goal attempt missed wide left.
Hanie led the Bears down the field on a late fourth-quarter possession, but his pass intended for Roy Williams was juggled and intercepted by Jon McGraw in the end zone with 4:01 left.
The Bears forced a Chiefs three-and-out and got the ball back at their own 29- yard line with 2:52 remaining.
Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali recorded sacks to force a 4th-and-17, and Hanie's pass for Earl Bennett fell incomplete.
The Bears got one final possession with six seconds left, but Hanie's pass was intercepted by Javier Arenas.
Kyle Orton made his Chiefs debut at quarterback on the first play of the second quarter, but left the game after dislocating his right index finger. Orton's follow-through on an attempted pass caught the top of Major Wright's helmet, who was blitzing on the play.
Devin Hester returned a punt 44 yards to midfield to give the Bears great field position early in the second quarter.
The Bears went for a 4th-and-1 at the four-yard line, and a blown coverage by the Chiefs allowed Marion Barber -- who lined up as a wide receiver -- to score an easy touchdown. But a flag was thrown on the play as Barber did not line up properly on the line of scrimmage. Gould split the uprights from 32 yards out to give Chicago a 3-0 lead with 9:44 to go in the second quarter.
Jones ran for 36 yards on 16 carries, while Battle added 15 yards on 11 rushes...The Chiefs have won seven of their last eight games against the NFC...Kansas City converted 7-of-20 third downs.
12/04 19:05:40 ET