It's not often a team gets four takeaways, doesn't turn the ball over at all, leads by nine points halfway through the fourth quarter and still loses the game. But the Bears found a way to do it.
The 21-16 loss to the Giants essentially eliminates the 5-7 Bears from postseason consideration. But no team that has failed to win more than one game in a row by December and is in last place in its division deserves to be in the playoff picture anyway.
The Bears know it, even if they're not all ready to admit it.
"I don't like the guessing game and the wishing game and the hoping game," defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said in the Soldier Field locker room after the game. "Wishing and hoping is for the birds. I'd rather control our own destiny. I'm not for sitting around and wishing and hoping."
For the fourth straight week Ogunleye forced a fumble, his team-best fifth of the season. Ogunleye also recovered the fumble by Derrick Ward at the Giants' 24-yard line, setting up Robbie Gould's 41-yard field goal that gave the Bears a 16-7 lead with 10:52 left in the third quarter. But that was little consolation.
"I didn't do well enough to help us win," Ogunleye said. "To do all this work, starting with training camp and all the practices and all the meetings and then to not win, it sucks."
The Bears, whose 2-6 NFC record is the worst of the contenders, would need an incredible string of good fortune to make it to the postseason even if they somehow manage to win their last four games.
"Looks like we'll be home," defensive end Alex Brown said. "We'll play the last four games, though. Let's try to win and see what happens."
DE Alex Brown
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The Bears are in the cellar of the NFC North, trailing both the 6-6 Vikings and 6-6 Lions in addition to the 6-6 Cardinals, all of whom are currently tied for the last wild-card playoff spot. But the Redskins, Eagles, Panthers and Saints are 5-7 like the Bears, and all of them hold tiebreaker edges on the Bears.
"We're in the back door trying to get in," tight end Desmond Clark said. "It's not a situation we want to be in, hoping that other teams lose. We figured if we won out, we'll fall in there somewhere. But that's not the case anymore, so now we've got to hope wish and pray at this point. It's out of our hands."
The Bears offense started out impressively, going 79 yards for a touchdown with the opening drive and rolling up 214 total yards en route to a 13-7 halftime lead, but the offense faded at the finish just like the defense. The Bears managed just 61 yards in the third quarter and 37 in the fourth.
"There were a couple opportunities to make plays that weren't made for whatever reason, and it definitely would have helped us," QB Rex Grossman said. "We scored 16 points and that's not going to cut it, especially with the turnovers they gave us and field position. We should have done a lot better than we did, and it's just really frustrating right now."
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