Vikings send Bears home with tough questions

After dominating the Bears, the Vikings sent them home with a depressing question: How much lower can they go? Chicago is facing a tough reality right now and feeling "like crap."

Now that the playoffs are no longer a possibility, the question for the 4-7 Bears is: How far will they fall?

A promising 3-1 start has been all but forgotten after losses in six of seven games since then.

Depending upon the severity of Sunday injuries to Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs (knee), cornerback Charles Tillman (head), left tackle Orlando Pace (groin) and defensive end Alex Brown (leg), the Bears may not be able to get it back together this season.

"As far as regrouping, today we feel like crap," said Bears coach Lovie Smith, whose team played like it felt. "No way around it. It's not a good feeling that we have right now. But after a loss like that, that's how it is."

The Bears get a break in the schedule this week, when they play host to the lowly Rams, but the lopsided, 36-10 loss to the Vikings in Week 12 doesn't provide much optimism. In previous losses, the Bears suffered breakdowns in one phase of the game, but their latest loss was a team effort, a total collapse.

"We didn't measure up very well," Brown said. "They're a team that is tops in the league, and we're not. We're not playing like a good team."

The numbers were as ugly as the locker-room mood of players who know they have nothing left to play for but pride after blowing the 3-1 start.

The Vikings piled up 537 yards of total offense, while controlling the ball for 40 minutes and 55 seconds. Both totals were by far the worst of a bad season for the Bears, who had just 169 total yards, 106 less than their previous lowest total of the year. The Vikings had 31 first downs to the Bears' 8 and converted 67 percent (12 of 18) of their third downs to the Bears' 25 percent (2 of 8).

The Vikings' Brett Favre threw for a season-high 392 yards, completing 32 of 48 passes with three touchdowns and a passer rating of 112.5. He became the latest in a series of veteran quarterbacks who have dissected the Bears' defense. Since Oct. 25, Carson Palmer, Kurt Warner, Donovan McNabb and now Favre have each compiled passer ratings of over 100 and carved up the Bears for a combined 15 touchdowns while being intercepted just twice.

"We're all professional athletes," Briggs said. "There are very few teams that are athletically that much better than another team. So, when it comes down to it, when you play football the way you are supposed to, when you do all of your assignments and you're as sound as you can be, then you put yourself in a position to not get blown out like we got blown out."

TRENDING: Going against the Vikings' No. 3 run defense, the Bears handed the ball to a running back just eight times, all to Matt Forte, who managed just 27 yards for a 3.4-yard average. In 11 games they've now had less than 50 yards on the ground in four of them.

LINEUP WATCH: Frank Omiyale returned as the starting left guard after four games on the bench behind Josh Beekman. Omiyale is considered better in pass protection, while Beekman is better as a run blocker.


  • WR Devin Hester had just one catch for 20 yards in Week 12 and has a combined five catches for 38 yards in the past two games after catching at least six passes in the previous five games.

  • RB Matt Forte (27 yards on eight carries) has 42 carries for 102 yards in the past three games.

  • TE Greg Olsen (seven catches for 45 yards) has 13 catches in the past two games for a total of just 87 yards, just 6.7 yards per catch.

  • WR-KR Johnny Knox averaged 41.7 yards on three kickoff returns but lost a fumble on one of them. He caught just one pass, but it was a 24-yard TD grab.

  • LB Lance Briggs, who suffered a knee injury and did not finish the game, was credited with just one tackle, even though he played more than half the game and was in double figures in each of the past three weeks.

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