Heading into Week 17, the Bears are still in playoff contention.
A 28-13 win over the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday snapped a three-game losing streak and kept the Bears alive, with a game next week against the Lions in the season finale. The NFC wild card race is still undecided, but after a late-season slide that saw the Bears lose five of their last six, Chicago fans just have to be happy that they’re still in it as the season comes to a close.
It was the Bears’ defense that did most of the work on a day when quarterback Jay Cutler struggled and running back Matt Forte suffered an ankle injury. Chicago got defensive touchdowns from Zack Bowman, who scored on a fumble recovery in the first quarter, and from Charles Tillman, who scored on an interception return in the third quarter. The Bears controlled the game throughout, and the final score looked closer than the game really was, thanks to the Cardinals blocking a Bears field goal attempt and running it back for a touchdown with less than two minutes left.
Of course, you could make the case that this was less a great defensive effort from the Bears than a horrendous offensive effort from the Cardinals. Arizona’s offense has been terrible all season, and on Sunday Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt turned to his fourth quarterback of the year, benching Ryan Lindley for Brian Hoyer.
But whether you want to credit the Bears’ defense or blame the Cardinals’ offense, the result is the same: A one-sided victory for Chicago, and a chance to make the playoffs: If the Bears beat the Lions next week and the Packers beat the Vikings, Chicago is going to the postseason.