Three straight losses have left the Bears decidedly on the outside of the playoffs looking in. They are not playing well enough of offense to offset bonehead mistakes and have gone from 7-3 and in control of a wild-card to a longshot. Only the 1979 team lost three in a row and still reached the postseason. This team will need a lot of losing help in Atlanta and Detroit.
Sept. 11, Atlanta Falcons (8-5) -- W 30-12
Jay Cutler puts up 107.8 passer rating to go with Matt Fortes 158 total yards. Defense holds Matt Ryan and Falcons O without a TD.
Sept. 18, @ New Orleans Saints (10-3) -- L 13-30
Forte nets 166 total yards but Mike Martz eschews the run, Cutler is sacked six times, five in the fourth quarter.
Sept. 25, Green Bay Packers (13-0) -- L 17-27
More Martz mystery: nine run calls for Forte net two yards, Aaron Rodgers controls the game and the ball for 37 minutes 29 seconds.
Oct. 2, Carolina Panthers (4-9) -- W 34-29
Forte runs for 205 yards, Cam Newton passes for 374 yards and Panthers rush for 169. Devin Hester punt return and D.J. Moore INT provide winning points.
Mon. Oct. 10, @ Detroit Lions (8-5) -- L 24-13
Big plays and poor plays get safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather benched. Defensive collapses overshadow dismal OL play.
Sun., Oct. 16, Minnesota Vikings (2-11) -- W 39-10
Cutler throws 48 yards for TD to Hester on third play from scrimmage and Hester goes 98 yards with a KOR while defense sacks Donovan McNabb five times, once for a safety.
Sun., Oct. 23, noon @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) -- W 24-18 (London)
Bears intercept four passes, get out to a 21-5 but then fade in the fourth quarter on both offense and defense, the latter against an offense missing both top RBs and others. But a W is a W.
Oct. 30, Off week
Mon., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) -- W 30-24
A halftime lead, then a fall in the third quarter before 13 unanswered points in a statement win. Forte uncharacteristically loses 2 fumbles but rushes for 133 yards, Cutler throws two TD passes and defense makes stops to finish.
Sun., Nov. 13, 3:15 p.m. Detroit Lions (8-5) -- W 37-13
The offense scored seven, the defense 14 and special teams 16 and all three stood up to occasional thuggishness from assorted Lions. Pulls the Bears even with Detroit in the standings as Lions lose three of four and Bears now have four straight Ws.
Sun., Nov. 20, 3:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers (6-7) -- W 31-20
Cutler breaks the thumb on his throwing hand and long snapper Pat Mannelly lost for the season with torn ACL. Philip Rivers hands away fifth straight game as defense produces three turnovers in the second half and Bears win their fifth straight.
Sun., Nov. 27, 3:05 p.m. @ Oakland Raiders (7-6) -- L 25-20
Caleb Hanies first NFL start begins badly, with three first-half INTs and poor decisions. But 175 passing yards in the fourth quarter bring the Bears to within an onsides kickoff recovery of going for the win.
Sun., Dec., 4, noon Kansas City Chiefs (5-8) -- L 10-3
The loss of Forte to a knee injury lowlights one of the more dismal overall games of 2011 for a Bears team that had the playoffs within reach but has played its way into jeopardy.
Sun., Dec. 11, 3:05 p.m. @ Denver Broncos (8-5) -- L 13-10 OT
Marion Barber goes out of bounds to give Broncos time to tie at the end of regulation, then fumbles to cost Bears a chance at a winning FG, which Denver makes of his gift. Tim Tebow fourth-quarter passing stuns the defense.
Sun., Dec. 18, noon Seattle Seahawks (6-7) Next: BEARS
Seahawks have won four of their last five and are very much a threat, particularly with Marshawn Lynch one of the top rushers in the NFL over the last six games.
Sun., Dec. 25, 7:20 p.m. @ Green Bay Packers (13-0) Next: at Kansas City
Not even a knee injury to Greg Jennings saves the Raiders from a 30-point annihilation. Packers havent lost a game since Dec. 19 last year. Aaron Rodgers has offense in overdrive and if defense is even just slightly above average, perfection is within reach.
Sun., Jan. 1, noon @ Minnesota Vikings (2-11) Next: vs. New Orleans
Getting 28 points on Detroit without Adrian Peterson was impressive but Vikings have nothing left except start planning for next years draft. New Orleans coming in wont make life any easier.