The Vikings won't have to worry about facing Jay Cutler or Matt Forte in the season finale. Both were placed on injured reserve Tuesday, officially ending their seasons.
With no reason to risk their injured stars in a meaningless season finale, the Bears placed quarterback Jay Cutler
and running back Matt Forte
on injured reserve Tuesday.
The Bears haven't won since Cutler broke his right thumb on Nov. 20 and required surgery three days later, a procedure that involving stabilizing pins and has made gripping the ball "foreign" to Cutler as he advances in his rehabilitation. Cutler had the pins removed from his thumb Tuesday in Colorado.
He wasn't able to practice, and the Bears, eliminated from playoff contention on Christmas night at Green Bay, had nothing to gain by bringing him back for Sunday's game at Minnesota.
Cutler finishes the season 182-for-314 (58 percent) for 2,319 yards in 10 games. He threw 13 touchdown passes and was intercepted seven times.
Forte suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his right knee Dec. 4 and told the Chicago Tribune that he was unlikely to return until he was 100 percent healthy. Forte's contract status has been a point of contention and public debate this season. Forte said publicly he feels undervalued and general manager Jerry Angelo said the Bears made him a "more than fair" contract offer during training camp.
Forte was leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,487) and ranked third in the league in rushing yards (997) and ranked fourth among all running backs with 490 yards receiving when he was injured against the Chiefs.
Forte said on Dec. 17 that he might return at less than 100 percent if the Bears were in the postseason.
To fill the roster spots, the Bears promoted defensive tackle Jordan Miller
from the practice squad and signed veteran offensive lineman Mansfield Wrotto
Miller joined the practice squad on Sept. 4 and spent the first 16 weeks with that unit. An undrafted free agent from Southern University, he had 18 sacks in his college career.
Wrotto, a former Seahawks and Bills lineman, was a fourth-round pick in 2007.
QB Josh McCown earned another start and possibly a spot on the 2011 roster with a workmanlike performance (76.8 passer rating) in the Week 16 loss to the Packers. McCown, making his first start in more than four years, was not sacked a single time after former starter Caleb Hanie was sacked 19 times in the previous four games.
WR Roy Williams had his most productive game of the season in Week 16, catching six passes for 81 yards. In the previous four games, he had six catches for 68 yards.
WR Devin Hester was his usual non-factor in the passing game, playing just a handful of snaps and failing to catch a pass for the sixth time in the past seven games. In the past eight games, he has four catches for 47 yards. His longest kickoff return in the last nine games is 35 yards.
WR Earl Bennett has a total of four catches in the past five games, but his lone reception in Week 16 was for 49 yards, his longest play of the season.
TE Kellen Davis caught his team-high fifth touchdown pass Sunday, although he has just 18 receptions for the year.
RB Kahlil Bell had the biggest game of his three-year career vs. the Packers on Sunday night with 121 rushing yards on 23 carries (5.3-yard average) and four catches for 38 yards. He is expected to start again this week.
RB Armando Allen, in his NFL debut, rushed 11 times for 40 yards as the backup/complement to Kahlil Bell.
LB Brian Urlacher suffered a bruised knee vs. the Packers but missed just a couple of plays before returning.
WR Dane Sanzenbacher had four catches for 51 yards in Week 16, his most productive outing since Week 5.
DT Stephen Paea, a second-round pick, had four tackles, tops among Bears defensive linemen.
CB Charles Tillman had the Bears' only sack Sunday night, his first since 2005 and only the third of his nine-year career.