With nine games to play, no time for Bears to feel down

With nine games to play, no time for Bears to feel down
October 21, 2013, 10:30 pm
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The spate of season-altering injuries assailing the Bears doesn’t alter the fact that more than half of the 2013 season is ahead of the Bears. With the off week before the players begin preparations in earnest for the Green Bay Packers, the Bears still have the NFC North within reach, and will vault past the Packers with an upset in Lambeau, however unlikely.

[RELATED: Cutler injury moves McCown in for key stretch on Bears schedule]

“We get the opportunity to go to Lambeau Field,” coach Marc Trestman said. “We know it’s going to be for a first-place position in our [division] regardless of what happens this weekend and our guys should be excited about that and I believe they will.”

Excitement will not be the problem, however. The Bears have lost three of their last four, a level of non-performance shared with the truly struggling teams on their schedule (Minnesota, Baltimore, New York Giants).

1.         Cincinnati Bengals (5-2)        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.

[MORE: Briggs will miss at least six weeks with shoulder injury]

2.         Minnesota Vikings (1-5)                      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 (2-4)     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 (4-3)              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 (5-1)       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 (1-6)                       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 (2-4)               L: 45-41

Losing the game was overshadowed by groin injury to Cutler, Briggs' shoulder and continuing woes on defense (499 yards allowed).

[MORE: Is Devin Hester a Hall of Famer?]

8.         OFF WEEK

9.         @ Green Bay Packers (4-2)               Mon., Nov. 4, 7:30

The injury news just gets worse with the Packers losing TE Jermichael Finley with a scary neck injury on an illegal hit. Aaron Rodgers still throws for 3 TDs and Green Bay runs for 104 yards in beating a Top 10 Cleveland defense.

10.       Detroit Lions (4-3)                              Sun., Nov. 10, noon

Matthew Stafford passes for 357 yards and 3 TDs, Calvin Johnson catches 9 for 155 yards and 2 TDs – and Lions lose, when special teams falter in late loss to Bengals.

11.       Baltimore Ravens (3-4)                      Sun., Nov. 17, noon*

Ravens lose second straight when they can’t stop Steelers running game (141 yards) and fall to a closing-seconds FG when Ray Rice and run game cannot establish anything.

12.       @ St. Louis Rams (3-4)                      Sun., Nov. 24, noon*

A very promising season took a catastrophic turn when Rams QB Sam Bradford suffered a torn ACL in losing to Carolina.

13.       @ Minnesota Vikings (1-5)    Sun., Dec. 1, noon*  

The Josh Freeman Experience begins inauspiciously with a loss to the Giants on MNF. Freeman likely represents an upgrade over Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel but Vikings locked in a down-spiral.                  

14.       Dallas Cowboys (4-3)             Mon., Dec. 9, 7:40 p.m.

Tony Romo passes for 317 yards as Dallas handles Philadelphia, allowing just 3 points and controlling the ball more than 36 minutes against Eagles for second straight division win.

[MORE -- McCown: 'I'm heartbroken for Jay']

15.       @ Cleveland Browns (3-4)     Sun., Dec. 15, noon*

Quarterback problems persist as Brandon Weeden completes just 17-of-42 against Green Bay and No. 1 rusher Willis McGahee nets 39 yards.

16.       @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)  Sun., Dec. 22, noon*

QB Nick Foles is woeful before leaving with a head injury as Philly manages just 3 points and falls to 0-3 at home this year thanks to being shut out in the first half.

17.       Green Bay Packers (2-2)        Sun., Dec. 29, noon*

*          Subject to flex scheduling.