Bears coach Lovie Smith acknowledged Monday that the Bears once-promising season is at a breaking point. At 8-6 after a 21-13 loss to the rival Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Bears likely will need to win road games against the Arizona Cardinals (5-9) and Detroit Lions (4-10) for a chance at qualifying for the postseason.
''Yesterday's game was a must-game for the NFC North chamionship. But besides that, it wasn't a must game as far as what can happen with our season,'' Smith said his Monday press conference at Halas Hall. ''This week we're to that must-game. The tournament has begun for us.
''So it's about Arizona and for the players to get a chance to watch the video, we've got to find a way to get to 10-6 and see what happens.''
The Bears have lost five of their last six games, but they at least have slowed the spate of injuries that has greased the skids in recent weeks. Smith said starting right tackle Jonathan Scott (hamstring) was the only injured player from the Packers game.
''And hopefully we should start to get a few of the guys back,'' Smith said. ''Earl Bennett (concussion) has been out for a period of time. Shea McClellin (knee) and Henry Melton (chest) both missed yesterday's game, which hurt us. Tim Jennings (shoulder), Brian Urlacher (hamstring), all those guys get better as time goes along.''
Smith's review of the Packers game was typically cursory.
''Offensively, we need more points,'' Smith said. ''When you're inside of the 10-yard line in the red zone you need touchdowns in those situations. That was really big. The penalties hurt us also. We were able to run the ball early on, but didn't get any points off of it. The third-down penalty [a false start by center Roberto Garza on third-and-one in the first quarter] really hurt us with that. So we did a lot of things to really stop momentum that we had.
Defensively, hung in there early on. But third downs, really hurt us, playing against a team like that.''