Devin Hester had caught a 65-yard touchdown pass and they were driving in for a second score to make it 14-3. With the ball on the 1, the Bears came up empty.
As if that wasn't bad enough, Gus Frerotte connected with Bernard Berrian on a 99-yard touchdown pass on the Vikings' first play after taking over. The palpable momentum shift signaled the ugly turn the game would take.
Mike Mulligan suggests you'd be hard pressed to find a more immediate, more severe turning of the tide -- and questions the bizarre play-calling that led to it.
When the last Kyle Orton pass had been intercepted and Jared Allen sack recorded, the Bears were back to .500 and leaving the Metrodome the recipients of a 34-14 drubbing."Have you ever seen a quicker or more miserable turn of fortune than the one the Bears endured late in the second quarter of their 34-14 loss to the Vikings at the Metrodome? How did it all go so terribly wrong? It started with play-calling -- specifically, a wretched lack of imagination on the goal line.
There's no real need for imagination on the goal line. Brute force is required. Handing the ball to your best player is preferred. Throwing a pass on first down and later handing off to a fullback brought up from the practice squad Saturday because of emergency -- well, that just doesn't make sense. Why is it the Bears want to spoon-feed the ball to Matt Forte at an alarming rate, right up to the point where they get within striking distance?
As much as we like to give you the bright side around here, Brad Biggs points out that this team has done little to prove that it can win against tough opponents -- and that they don't have the schedule in their favor.
Bringing more rain to the parade is Rick Telander, who points out that winning that precious playoff spot might be sort of pointless anyway.
"The Vikings control the division at 7-5, and the Bears are going to have to hope defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams lose their appeals of four-game suspensions soon. Then the Bears can point to a date with the Packers (5-7) on Dec. 22 at Soldier Field and say there is a decent chance they still will control their destiny. But they're a 6-6 team with half of their victories at the expense of the Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams, and like almost everything else, that doesn't promote a lot of confidence. Unlike the Vikings and Packers, the Bears don't have the luxury of a meeting with the winless Lions this month.
"There will not be a wild-card team from the NFC North, and even if the Bears won the thing outright, what kind of postseason could we expect from them?
A lousy one, that's what.
If coach Lovie Smith or one of his minions couldn't draw up a play that could gain one yard -- on four consecutive attempts -- how could they handle the stresses of postseason play-calling.
At this point I'd like to also point out that you're probably reading this on a Monday morning at a job you hate and that the wintry mix outside really reminds us that a cold, miserable winter is setting in.
Yes, it's that dreary of a day.
Things are gray and bleak over at Roman Modrowski's Full Court Press blog, where the word "embarrassing" is being thrown around quite a bit.
"I usually think those people go way overboard in their criticism of Lovie, Urlacher, Hester, ect., but it was justifiable yesterday. Everything about that game sucked. The Bears have played two must-win division games the last three weeks, and they got completely owned in both. That says a lot about the coaches, and about the players on the roster, many of whom moaned about new contracts in the previous two offseasons. I have zero problem with athletes making tons of money, but these are the games when guys like Urlacher, Tillman, and Ogunleye need to step up. It didn't happen, as the once mighty defense got run over once again. The offense, particularly Orton, wasn't much better. While the playoffs are still a very real possibility, this Bears team flat out sucks right now.
You get the point. Everyone is hating on the Bears team and their inability to seize a golden opportunity to put themselves in the driver's seat of the division. But there has to be reason for hope.
The Packers' loss helps. Green Bay would pretty much have to win out to have any chance at the playoffs.
The Bears' remaining schedule isn't all that daunting. None of the four remaining teams they face have a record above .500.
So all is not lost.
Just the most important game of the year.
Tell us what you think. Do the Bears have a chance at the playoffs or was this the loss that will leave them wondering what could have been?