The Bears limped to the finish line 0f the 2011 season, ending with a 17-13 win over the pitiful 3-13 Minnesota Vikings. The Bears tried to hand the game over to the Vikings, but they didn’t want to oblige. It was a sloppy and ugly game at times. It ends a 5 game losing streak and marks the first game the Bears won without Jay Cutler since last season at Carolina.
Josh McCown settled down and did enough to guide the Bears offense to 10 points while the Bears’ defense added 7 points on a Charles Tillman Pick-6. Julius Peppers blocked a field goal and the Vikings botched another attempt or the outcome could have been different. The biggest storyline to come from the game is a knee injury to Brian Urlacher. In the 4th quarter of a meaningless game, Joe Webb attempted a pass into the end zone. Urlacher, defending his usual deep middle of the field in the Cover-2 defense, had a bead on an interception but Major Wright driving on the ball, plowed into #54 whose knee bent very awkwardly in the wrong direction. Check out more observations from the Bears 2011 finale after the jump.
- The Bears may have done the Vikings a favor by knocking out Christian Ponder. The Vikings offense looked much more fluid with Joe Webb under center. That son of a bitch is tough to bring down.
- To that end, the Bears defenders all the way up to Peppers need to wrap up. Sometimes it makes me wonder if all these new rules, especially on quarterback hits, are hurting defenders who are afraid to take a shot at a QB.
- I thought for sure that Mike Martz was going to pave the way for Jared Allen to get the NFL sack record. The Vikings were doing everything they could to get Allen the record and it seemed all they were missing was for Brett Favre to lay down for Allen. The Bears finally put some extra help on the line to help in pass protection and eventually stopped throwing all together. At the very least it kept people interested until the end of the game.
- Peanut Tillman became the Bears’ all time leader in interceptions returned for touchdowns, passing Mike Brown and Bennie McRae with 5 interceptions returned for touchdowns. Doesn’t it seem like Mike Brown had more than 4 interception returns for touchdowns? Congrats to first-time Pro Bowler and all around class guy Tillman!
- Kahlil Bell can talk all he wants about wanting to be a starter in this league or even to get more playing time, but until he learns how to secure the football, he won’t be long for this league. He’s coughed up way to many balls in a small sample size for anyone’s liking.
- I have to admit I was down on punter Adam Podlesh at the start of the season, but he really turned out to be a great pickup. He’s been one of the few bright spots this season.
- DJ Moore continued his Johnny on the Spot routine with another interception. Can he have a future on this team as more than a nickel back? I think his small size will be his undoing, but don’t tell that to free agent Tim Jennings.
- Speaking of free agents, the Bears have 11 that could be hitting the market. We’ll take a look at them as the looooong offseason unfolds.
- The biggest free agents on the Bears could be Dave Toub and Mike Martz. I am guessing that Martz is gone and hoping the Toub isn’t. There are rumblings that Toub could be a sleeper for the Jaguars head coaching job.
- The Bears will select 19th in the 2012 draft after finishing 8-8. The win on Sunday over the Vikings probably cost them about 6-8 spots. Last season the NY Giants selected Prince Amukamura in the same slot.
The 2011 season has mercifully come to a close, but our work here is far from done. We’ve got a ton of stuff to break down as we sift through the rubble of the season. There are a lot of “what ifs” that we’ll discuss, tons of college scouting and mock draft analysis, free agent previews aside from the other day to day news and reviews. There are also two NFC North foes int he playoffs, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on the Packer and Lions too.