Officially, the NFL now has exactly one week to go in the regular season. In the NFC, the final piece of the puzzle to set up the week 17 finale was the Bears game vs the Packers. The Bears are still fighting for a division title and a wild card spot, with one loss set to eliminate them. For most of their game against the Packers, that one loss appeared to be coming on Monday night. Instead, the Bears saved their season for one more week.
In single degree temperatures, the Bears were mostly dominated by the Packers, yet won in overtime, 20-17. A couple of penalties and a blocked kick were the story of the day, other than the 2 degree weather.
The Packers blew a 17-10 lead late in the game, but seemed ready to win it in regulation. A Packers kickoff return was followed by the Bears’ Adrian Peterson performing a tackle out of bounds, putting the Packers in instant field goal range. With just a half minute left, the Packers were set for a 38-yard game winning field goal.
But the Bears defense, which wins game after game for the Bears, year after year, saved this one. Mason Crosby’s kick never made it over Alex Brown’s arm, and the blocked kick sent the game to overtime. The Bears then won the coin flip when the coin hit Brian Urlacher’s helmet.
The Packers then gave up a dumb penalty of their own on a horse collar tackle out of bounds, which put the Bears in instant field goal position. This time, Robbie Gould took advantage to give the Bears a win they did not seem destined to get.
Now, the NFC playoff stakes are fully set heading into next week. To win the NFC North, the Bears must beat the Houston Texans, and must have Minnesota lose to a New York Giants team that will probably take it easy after clinching the NFC top seed.
Failing that, the Bears can get a wild card if they win, the Cowboys lose to the Eagles, and the Buccaneers lose to the Raiders. Since the Raiders are the Raiders, the Bears have better hope in wishing for a Vikings loss and an NFC North title, most likely.
The Packers, on the other hand, were knocked out of the playoff race weeks ago. At 5-10, having lost a countless amount of close games, Aaron Rodgers’ first year as Packers quarterback has gone down to failure.
But since Brett Favre is on the brink of a total collapse with the Jets, the Packers’ faithful can’t be so sure that Favre would have done any better for them this year, which is a semi-win for Rodgers.
The Packers and Bears played only the second overtime game in the history of the NFL’s longest running rivalry, in the last Monday Night Football game of the season.
Associated Press- “Bears rally to beat Packers 20-17 in overtime” www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jp-leqEceiU6_4W7DcijeEiCSzYQD958COGG0