Bears fail to make playoffs after Packers’ 33-28 last-minute win
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter December 29, 2013 4:56PM
Who's to blame for loss to Packers?
- Packers 33, Bears 28: Final boxscore, stats
- VIDEO: Cutler on Bears' loss - 'Tough one to swallow'
- VIDEO: Brandon Marshall on Bears’ loss – 'We didn’t get it done'
- VIDEO: Trestman on Cutler after Bears’ loss to Packers
Updated: December 30, 2013 10:11AM
The Packers converted two fourth downs on the same drive Sunday, but now faced their longest conversion attempt: fourth-and-8 from the Bears’ 48 with 46 seconds remaining.
Get a stop, the game’s over, and the Bears win the NFC North.
The Bears would be bold.
They would blitz.
To quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ left, Julius Peppers dove and missed. Rodgers spun left, away from the rush, and spotted receiver Randall Cobb sprinting down the left hash, waiving.
He was wide open, having sprinted past a blown zone coverage for a 48-yard touchdown — and an epic 33-28 Bears loss.
“When you’ve got an all-out blitz on, you’re leaving the back end one-on-one,” coach Marc Trestman said. “What you’re counting on happening is that blitz has got to get there, so he can get rid of the ball.“
Cornerback Zack Bowman said the Bears “had some miscommunications on the back end — and that’s what happens when you have some miscommunications on the back end.”
Packers players called the score “a miracle” and “a great play.”
It made the 8-8 Bears — who lost their last two games when a win in either would have won the NFC North — sick.
“Heartbreak,” guard Matt Slauson said. “There were times I was just sitting there like, ‘No way they’re gonna convert this.’
“And they did.”
The Bears had one last chance, buoyed by Devin Hester’s kickoff return to the Chicago 40, but Jay Cutler threw a Hail Mary interception at the buzzer.
Cutler completed 15-of-24 passes for 226 yards and two scores in what might be his last game with the Bears, but Matt Forte was even better.
The running back had 22 carries for 110 yards and another four catches for 47, helping to lead the Bears to three second-half touchdowns.
The team’s last, a 5-yard catch by Brandon Marshall on the first play of the fourth quarter, gave the Bears a 28-20 lead. But Green Bay marched for a score about three minutes later to go down one, and then took the victory in dramatic fashion.
It didn’t seem like anything would match the season’s most unusual touchdown.
With 3:28 to play in the first half, Peppers hit Rodgers — who went 25-for-39 for 318 yards in his return from a broken collarbone — in the pocket.
The ball floated forward.
Both teams stopped.
Linebacker James Anderson touched the ball on one bounce and kept jogging. Packers receiver Jarrett Boykin picked it up, casually twirling it around his waist like a Harlem Globetrotter, before someone told him to run.
Ten seconds after the ball landed, he stood in the end zone, scoring a touchdown upheld by replay.
“Twenty-two players basically stopped,” Trestman said. “Eleven probably got the word from their sideline to pick the ball up, because he was over on their side.
“I was as curious as everyone else why nobody was moving towards the ball.
“And certainly completely disappointed.”
Not as disappointed as they would be later.
“We didn’t play well enough to win,” Trestman said. “The reason’s on the scoreboard.”