The Chicago Bears certainly wanted some revenge on the Green Bay Packers, but wanting it was not enough on Sunday. The Bears fell at home 21-13, failing to take advantage of a somewhat sloppy game and ultimately losing their grip on the playoffs that once seemed so secure. With the loss, the Packers clinched the NFC North title, ensuring a playoff appearance once again under the Aaron Rodgers regime. This one could have gone either way, but the Bears could not rally late and were left ruing their missed opportunities.
The game began as a defensive struggle with the first 5 possessions ending in punts and the first quarter ending in a scoreless tie. The Packers had a chance to strike first, but the much maligned Mason Crosby missed a 43 yard field goal that would have put the Packers up early. The Bears took advantage of this error and Jay Cutler led a touchdown drive that ended in a 15 yard score to Brandon Marshall. The Packers quickly responded however, as Rodgers hit James Jones for his first of three scores on the day to cap off a 7 play, 89 yard drive. After consecutive punts, Jay Cutler was intercepted on the first play and it only took Rodgers 5 plays to find Jones again for another touchdown. The Packers struck again after halftime with Rodgers finding Jones for their final score, making it 21-7. The Bears then had three chances to capitalize on Packers errors, but could only manage 2 field goals after a fumble, muffed punt and missed field goal to make it 21-13. With less than 5 minutes to go, the Bears had a chance to tie the game but turned the ball over on downs, before getting it back with less than a minute left and failing to score as time ran out.
The loss puts the Bears in a very difficult spot going into the last two weeks. If the season ended today, the Vikings would be ahead of Chicago based on tiebreaker, and the Bears would be on the outside looking in. Brandon Marshall was particularly emotional after the game, knowing the Bears had a chance to win a big game and knowing how important the game was for the team. Up next for Chicago is a trip to Arizona to face the Cardinals in a game that could likely decide their playoff fate. Stay tuned for more Bears news and enjoy your week!