GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Josh McCown threw only two interceptions. Kahlil Bell rushed for 121 yards and only fumbled once. But those silver linings to the dark cloud that couldn't be ignored Sunday night -- the Bears' 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, their fifth consecutive loss, eliminated them from playoff contention.
''If we play like that, that's what's going to happen,'' middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. ''The last five weeks we haven't played well enough to win and we lost all five games. I'm not happy about where we're at. Our coaches aren't happy. But that's what we got. The season will be over next week. That's good.''
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, coming off a subpar game in a stunning loss to the Kansas City Chiefs that knocked the Packers (14-1) from the ranks of the unbeaten, solidified his MVP candidacy with a sterling performance. Rodgers was 21-of-29 for 283 yards, five touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks for a 142.7 rating.
Against the Chiefs, Rodgers threw back-to-back completions on the same drive only twice until late in the fourth quarter. But he was 8-for-8 on the Packers' opening drive against the Bears, driving the Packers 80 yards on nine plays for a 7-0 lead.
The Bears' defense stiffened, but it was pretty clear that when Rodgers wanted to do something, he could do it. After Edwin Williams recovered a Bell fumble in the end zone for a touchdown to cut the Packers lead to 14-10 with 11:35 left in the third quarter, Rodgers needed just four plays to drive the Packers 80 yards for a back-breaking touchdown. His 55-yard scoring pass to Jordy Nelson, who badly burned safety Major Wright on the play, was Rodgers' longest pass play against the Bears in his four seasons as a starter.
''When you are playing the Super Bowl champions, you have to be on top of your game,'' Bears coach Lovie Smith said -- a painful statement when you consider the Bears could have prevented the Packers from even making the playoffs last year, but lost 10-3 at Lambeau Field in Week 17. ''We did some good things. Josh McCown did a heck of a job coming in and leading our offense -- making throws he had to.''
McCown was being hailed merely for getting the ball over the plate. He was 19-of-28 for 242 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. But most of his best work was in the fourth quarter after Rodgers' fifth touchdown pass gave the Packers a 35-10 lead. McCown was 11-of-14 for 141 yards and a touchdown after that. Prior to that he was 8-of-14 for 135 yards and two interceptions, a 50.1 rating.
Bell and rookie running back Armando Allen gave the Bears a potent running attack in the absence of Matt Forte and Marion Barber. Bell (23 carries, 121 yards) and Allen (11-40) combined for 161 yards on 34 carries. With McCown adding 38 rushing yards (32 of them in the fourth quarter), the Bears rushed for 199 yards.
Offensively, we did enough things to keep us in the game and have a chance to win the game at the end,'' Smith said. ''Defensively, just didn't have it tonight.''
The Bears fell to 7-8 and have a chance to finish the season on a winning note against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field on Sunday. But there was sadness in the Bears locker room as the Bears will be unable to repeat their glorious run to the NFC Championship Game last season.
''It's tough,'' center Roberto Garza said. ''We had a lot of big goals for the season. We suffered a lot of injuries, but that's doesn't matter. We have to step in and guys have to step up and make plays and we haven't done that.
''We haven't been able to finish gamesand we haven't been able to score enough points. It falls squarely on us and we have to do a better job.''