The Minnesota Vikings were not only able to beat the Green Bay Packers today, but in turn also knocked the Chicago Bears out of the playoff picture. The Vikings locked up the No. 6 and final seed in the NFC, and the Chicago Bears are going home, despite their narrow 26-24 win over the Detroit Lions.
Jay Cutler led the Chicago Bears to victory over the Lions during the early round of games, leading all Bears fans to root for the Packers for what may be first time in franchise history.
"Go Pack Go," Cutler said after the win. But it was no use as the Vikings won 37-34 with a final second field goal during the later games.
The Bears kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Lions. The Bears, who finished the year 10-6 needed the Vikings (10-6) to lose their final game to make the playoffs. Instead, the Vikings won and the Bears became only the second team in NFL history to miss the playoffs after starting the season 7-1. The only other was the 1996 Washington Redskins.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead in the game after a 60-yard catch and run by Earl Bennett. Cutler hit Bennett on a screen on the left side, and Bennett followed a great block by Brandon Marshall up the sideline for the score. In the second quarter, Matt Forte ran in his second touchdown in as many weeks and the Bears had a 20-3 lead.
Matthew Stafford hit Kris Durham on a 25-yard touchdown with just seconds remaining in the half to cut the lead to 20-10 entering halftime.
Stafford threw for two more touchdowns in the game that were split between two Olindo Mare field goals.
Chicago's defense forced four turnovers in the contest and failed to fully take advantage. They couldn't manage to find the end zone after starting inside Detroit's 25-yard line on four occasions, and the lack of scoring kept the game close. They still managed to win, however, but it wasn't enough as they still missed out on the playoffs, despite reaching 10 wins.
The Lions finished the year a very disappointing 4-12 and Calvin Johnson failed to reach the 2,000-yard mark for the season. It's been a tough year for the Lions, but it may be moreso for the Bears after their second collapse in a row.
Let the Lovie Smith talk commence.
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