The Bears came into the game needing a win in the worst way versus the Washington Redskins, a team who also needed a victory. Going into today’s game, the Bears were 5-7 and on the outside looking in as far as the playoffs were concerned. Defending the home field against the Redskins was the top priority.
With one of the NFC wildcard spots likely going to the runner-up of the NFC North division unless Tampa Bay sneaks in, the Bears were not out of playoff contention before the kickoff. After the 24-21 loss to the Redskins, those playoff ideas took a subtle nose dive. The game had a similar feel to it as last week’s bitter defeat.
Losing to San Francisco hurt their chances tremendously, and a loss to the Redskins would unofficially eliminate them from the postseason. The Bears knew this going in. How they played versus the San Francisco 49ers was not lost (courtesy of the Chicago Tribune) on Jay Cutler, who spoke to reporters about the missed opportunity from last week.
“For sure (it bothers you). Whenever you look at it and you say, ‘Hey that was a great call. But it’s one guy here, if I make a better throw here, if only we recognize this front… that’s a tough to swallow.”
Every loss to an NFC opponent stacks against the Bears in terms of tiebreakers. The Bears needed to win and get some breaks in order to sniff the postseason.
Breaks have gone the Bears’ way, but they had to make breaks of their own.
One win would pull the Bears a game closer to the reeling Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota’s loss to Arizona would set up a potential showdown next week for them and the Bears, provided the if Bears took care of business today. How the Bears would perform falls directly on the shoulders, or arm of Jay Cutler.
Cutler has had a rough three weeks. Prior to the San Francisco game Jay Cutler found himself on the Bears injury report with an undisclosed illness. Tragedy would also strike. Michael Cavallari, brother to his wife and “The Hills” star Kristin Cavallari had gone missing during the week after Thanksgiving. According to People, Michael was found dead in Utah days after his disappearance was reported.
Jay Cutler’s life has been on a full-fledged roller coaster ride in a three-week span.
The news of his brother-in-law’s death comes just a couple of weeks after he and his wife celebrated the birth of their daughter (via Us Magazine), Saylor James Cutler, they now are in mourning.
Cutler and the Bears got off to a slow start against the Redskins. The defense gave up 14 early points. Issues stemming from poor tackling and taking the wrong angles on plays put the Bears in a bind before the first quarter was over. Washington was able to gain yards on the ground and in the passing game. Defensively, the Bears made a few in-game adjustments, began tightening things up a bit and kept the Redskins at 14 points going into halftime.
On offense, things were just as slow, if not slower. Cutler would eventually lead the Bears on a touchdown drive that cut the deficit in half just in time for the break.
After halftime, the Redskins went ahead 21-7 on their first possession of the third quarter. The Bears would answer with Jay Cutler strike to tight end Zach Miller. That touchdown was the first in the third quarter all season for the Bears, who were not done putting points on the board. An interception gave Chicago great field position. A Matt Forte rushing touchdown knotted the game at 21.
Washington took the 24-21 lead with an early fourth quarter field goal. That field goal would decide the outcome of the game.
Bears’ kicker Robbie Gould had an opportunity to kick a game-tying field goal with under two minutes left in regulation. His kick went far left. It was the third consecutive missed field goal by him, all of them would have had important game implications. This time Gould’s missed kick spoiled a stellar Jay Cutler performance. Jay Cutler’s two-touchdown, 315-yard performance goes for naught.
The synopsis of the Chicago Bears’ season can be considered the season of missed opportunity. They received all of the breaks they needed this year, they just could not capitalize on those breaks. The tough time period for Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears will continue on.
[Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport]