In a bizarre game (aren't they all this time of year?), the Bears somehow escaped with a 20-17 overtime victory tonight against the Packers.
What does it mean for the Eagles? Their slim playoff hopes just got a little slimmer. Three things, instead of two, have to happen next weekend for them to get in: a victory over the Cowboys; a Bucs loss to the Raiders; and either a Vikings loss to the Giants OR a Bears loss to the Texans.
The Bears can get in two different ways. The first is simple. A Chicago win and a Minnesota loss gives the Bears the division. The other way is a Bears win combined with losses from BOTH the Bucs and Cowboys would give Chicago a wild-card berth.
For about 57 minutes, the Bears' playoff hopes looked dead. On a freezing night at Solider Field, they managed just 48 yards of total offense in the first two quarters and trailed 14-3 at halftime. A costly Packers turnover on special teams gave the Bears great field position in the third quarter, and they cut the lead to 14-10.
Then with 3:41 left in the game, Chicago's offense faced a crucial fourth-and-one from the Packers' 4-yard line. Matt Forte took it up the middle and barely picked up the first. Forte later found the end zone to tie the game at 17.
However, even after all that, it looked like the Packers would end Chicago's season. Green Bay drove down to the Chicago 19-yard-line with 21 seconds left. Mason Crosby set up for a field-goal attempt from 38 yards out, but it was blocked.
Before overtime, Tony Kornheiser had some fun at Donovan McNabb's expense, asking if the players knew that the game would end in a tie if neither team scored. In the last two weeks, there have been four overtime games in the NFL. I have watched three of them, and in all three, an announcer (Kornheiser, NFL Network's Bob Papa and NBC's Al Michaels) has made reference to McNabb.
The ref's coin toss actually hit Brian Urlacher in the helmet. I'm guessing this will be on YouTube by the time I wake up. Chicago won the toss, got a good return and benefited from a 15-yard penalty. Bears kicker and Penn State product Robbie Gould hit the game-winner from 38 yards out. He's hit game-winners in overtime in each of the past two weeks.
More on both the NFC and AFC playoff picture tomorrow, or later today I guess I should say.