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There go the Bears' playoff hopes -- more or less

RedEye

5:48 PM CST, December 1, 2013

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The Bears needed more Sunday.

More offense. More luck. More guys off the street to play for this depleted defense. More of anything that would help them beat Minnesota and keep them tied for first in the NFC North.

So much for that.

Instead of taking advantage of a lousy Minnesota team, the Bears lost 23-20 in a game that defied belief.

The Bears blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, which was bad enough. To make matters worse, the sure-footed Robbie Gould missed a 47-yard field goal that would have ended the game in overtime. The Vikings’ Blair Walsh then ended it with a 34-yard boot with 1:43 left in the extra period.

"It was in my range. I make that kick a lot. I've just got to step up and make it," said Gould, whose wife had a baby boy less than 24 hours earlier. "That game could have cost us the playoffs and that's on my shoulders."

Maybe, maybe not. No doubt there's blame to go around.

For example, why did coach Marc Trestman choose to attempt such a long field goal when it was only second down?

"I didn't want to ... risk a possible penalty that would set us back, something similar to what happened on the other side, or a fumble or something unique," Trestman said. "I felt that we were clearly in range, and we could get the game over at that time."

As it stands, the Bears are ninth in the NFC. To climb into the top six and make the playoffs, in the final four weeks they must leapfrog at least three teams with better records—all of which are playing better than they are.

Regardless of how the season plays out, Bears fans probably will see Jay Cutler next week. The starting quarterback has said he hopes to return for the Dec. 9 game against Dallas.

Will that be the spark they need? We’ll see. For now, we know the Bears need more of certain things and less of others.

Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.

 

MORE: Alshon Jeffery

Make that MUCH more Alshon Jeffery. He broke his own team record with 249 yards receiving Sunday (he had 218 vs. New Orleans in Week 5). That included two touchdown grabs, including one in which he managed to hold the ball away from his body and a defender while balancing himself along the sideline and into the end zone.

MORE: Julius Peppers

Not the Julius Peppers who had only four sacks entering Sunday. No, the Bears need the Peppers who had 2.5 sacks against the Vikings, batted down a pass and was in the quarterback's face all day long. That's not too much to ask from the team's highest paid defensive lineman, right?

LESS: Players trying too hard

With all due respect to the magnificent effort from Josh McCown (355 yards passing, two TDs on Sunday), he nearly doomed his team by trying to flip a pass to a receiver as he was falling down. It resulted in a lost fumble. That's not helping anyone, even if McCown was bailed out by a Khaseem Greene interception soon after.

LESS: Brian Billick

If you were watching on TV, you might have noticed the Fox analyst referred to the Bears injured cornerback as "Chris Tillman." Get it together, Brian. He's only one of the best defensive backs in team history, not some forgettable nobody.

LESS: Boneheaded mistakes

Rookie linebacker Jonathan Bostic drew a taunting penalty that kept a Vikings drive going. Safety Chris Conte was flagged for a horse-collar tackle that made Minnesota's winning field goal much easier. Offensive lineman Jermon Bushrod was called for delay of game in overtime for throwing a ball in frustration. All signs of a team coming apart at the seams.

MORE: Matt Forte

When you're on the same field as the unbelievable Adrian Peterson, all other running backs are afterthoughts. That said, Forte did grind out 151 yards (120 rushing, 31 receiving) on Sunday, passing Neal Anderson for second on the Bears' all-time list in yards from scrimmage.

LESS: Silly officials

We saw you, Jeff Lamberth. The field judge gave Minnesota's Cordarrelle Patterson a low-five after he scored a touchdown. Way to be impartial, buddy.

MORE: Adrian Peterson

You may have thought the Bears had had enough of Peterson, who smashed through their defense for 211 yards Sunday. Well, the Bears might need him to do the same or worse to NFC rivals Philadelphia in Week 15 and Detroit in Week 17 if they're going to somehow slide into the postseason.

 

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