Persistence tends to triumph over talent, genius and other supposed advantages and the Bears are seeing the advantages of persistence.
Their win over the Baltimore Ravens placed them in a virtual tie in the chase for two wild-card spots, depending upon what the Carolina Panthers (6-3) do Monday night against the New England Patriots. With a 6-4 mark, they are in position to control their own future in the playoff competition that still has six more games to go.
The Lions squandered a second-half lead with some bizarre coaching that included a fake field goal despite being ahead by four points, and backed up to join the Bears at 6-4. The San Francisco 49ers lost their second straight to slip back into the pack at 6-4 and tied with the upstart Arizona Cardinals.
Where the Bears are vulnerable, however, is in tiebreakers. They lose head-to-head with the Lions by virtue of losing both games to them and have a worse mark in conference games, athough with five of their final six games against NFC teams, improving on their 3-4 conference record is up to them.
Maybe winning the division is their best and simplest solution.
Week Opponent Day/date/time
1. Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) W 24-21
Bears were being run out 21-10 and down 325-97 in yardage midway through the third quarter. Jay Cutler takes control of fourth quarter and fourth-down Matt Forte run sets up winning Brandon Marshall TD pass.
2. Minnesota Vikings (2-8) W 31-30
Jay Cutler directs second straight fourth-quarter comeback, finishing with TD pass to Martellus Bennett as defense “holds” AP to 100 yards but zero TDs or breakaways.
3. @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) W 40-23
A 24-3 lead erodes to 27-23 before offense rallies to hold off a reeling Steelers team done in by five turnovers vs. no takeaways. Jay Cutler goes for controlled offense, with zero interceptions in smart win over difficult “D.”
4. @ Detroit Lions (6-4) L 40-32
Jay Cutler throws three INT’s and loses a fumble for a Detroit TD as the Lions score 27 points in the second quarter, 24 unanswered, as offense, defense and ‘teams all contribute to loss.
5. New Orleans Saints (8-2) L 26-18
New Orleans remains the only undefeated NFC team after Bears early mistakes (three sacks in the first 12 plays, two fumbles in the first four) undercut any chance to catch a good conference rival.
6. New York Giants (4-6) W 27-21
Brandon Jacobs runs for 106 yards but Jay Cutler puts up fifth 90-plus passer rating with 2 TD passes to Brandon Marshall as Eli Manning throws 3 picks, one for a pick-six.
7. @ Washington Redskins (3-7) L 45-41
Losing the game was overshadowed by groin injury to Jay Cutler and continuing woes on defense (499 yards allowed).
8. OFF WEEK
9. @ Green Bay Packers (5-5) W 27-20
Josh McCown takes over for injured Jay Cutler and guides offense to 442 yards and five scoring possessions out of 11. Aaron Rodgers suffers broken collarbone early and Packers can’t win despite 199 rushing yards.
10. Detroit Lions (6-4) L 21-19
Jay Cutler tries to return from groin tear but suffers a high-ankle sprain that’ll have him down several weeks. Charles Tillman to IR with a triceps injury. Josh McCown directs TD drive that falls short when Bears can’t convert on two two-point tries.
11. Baltimore Ravens (4-6) W 23-20 (OT)
Offense overcomes storm onslaught and 1:53 interruption, with Josh McCown continuing to play turnover-free and defense is able to make crucial stops late. Robbie Gould’s 38-yard FG provides the game-winner.
12. @ St. Louis Rams (4-6) Sun., Nov. 24, noon*
13. @ Minnesota Vikings (2-8) Sun., Dec. 1, noon*
Seattle puts up 17 points in the fourth quarter for a 41-20 win over reeling Vikings still trying to find a quarterback, this time using both Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel.
14. Dallas Cowboys (5-5) Mon., Dec. 9, 7:40 p.m.
15. @ Cleveland Browns (4-6) Sun., Dec. 15, noon*
The Browns started out up 13 in the first quarter, then had Cincinnati score 31 in the second. Jason Campbell falters with 3 interceptions.
16. @ Philadelphia Eagles (6-5) Sun., Dec. 22, noon*
The Chip Kelly Experience continues with Nick Foles throwing for 298 yards and the defense harasses RGIII for 4 sacks, forced fumble and interception.
17. Green Bay Packers (5-5) Sun., Dec. 29, noon*
The post-Rodgers Green Bay losing streak hits three vs. NY Giants with Scott Tolzien at QB, sacked four times and throwing three INT’s.
* Subject to flex scheduling.