2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Bears can't stop slide in 21-14 loss to Vikings

By DAVE CAMPBELL - AP Pro Football Writer
    2012-12-09 17:43

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Jay Cutler's neck stiffened up, and the Chicago Bears couldn't escape their early stumble at Minnesota.

The playoff race is tightening around them, too.

Adrian Peterson rushed for 154 yards and two first-quarter touchdowns and Harrison Smith returned an interception for a score to lead the Vikings to a 21-14 victory on Sunday over the free-falling Bears, who have lost four of their last five games.

``We have to make sure we close this hole up before it gets too late,'' said wide receiver Devin Hester, who dropped a sure touchdown pass from Cutler when he was wide open up the middle on third-and-6 at the Minnesota 23 with about 4 1/2 minutes left.

Brandon Marshall, who finished with 10 catches for 160 yards, couldn't snag the ball on the next play, giving the ball back to the Vikings (7-6). That was the last throw of the afternoon for Cutler, who took a late hit to the head from Everson Griffen earlier on that drive.

When the Bears (8-5) started their next possession, Jason Campbell was in at quarterback. Cutler was in obvious discomfort after the game, robotically turning his shoulders instead of his head while he stood at the podium to take questions from reporters.

``We all let the team down,'' Marshall said. He added: ``I have to make that play. That was a momentum play. If we move the chains, the game is probably different. I've got to do better.''

Whether it's mounting injuries, bad tackling or an erratic passing attack, the Bears have lost their first-half momentum. They host division-leading Green Bay next week then play at Arizona and Detroit to finish the season. Despite starting 7-1, the Bears have already started talking about needing to win out.

``That's fine. We can do that. The confidence is not wavering. We're fully confident that we can do that,'' defensive end Julius Peppers said, adding: ``We don't need to do anything heroic or super-human to beat Green Bay.''

If this slide has begun to feel familiar for the Bears, that's because it is. Last season, they lost five straight games after a 7-3 start and finished 8-8 to miss the playoffs. Cutler went 22 for 44 for 260 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Josh Robinson got the first one after Alshon Jeffery got tangled up and slipped, returning the ball to the 5 to set up Peterson's second score.

``You know it's going to be a hostile environment and all that. We talk a lot about starting fast. You have to do that on the road,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ``That opening drive really put us on our heels, and we never really recovered.''

Cutler blamed the second interception on his neck, when his deep throw to Marshall was picked off by Smith and run back 56 yards to give the Vikings a 21-7 lead.

``Couldn't really follow through with it. Got the coverage we wanted,'' Cutler said, adding: ``It sailed on me. It was nothing they were doing. Just they happen sometimes.''

Marshall tried to take the blame for that one, too.

``That was another one of those plays I've got to make. When you have a hot-hand quarterback like that, you have to make the plays for him, because the more you make plays for him, the hotter he gets,'' Marshall said, noting his 6-foot-5 frame. ``I've got to go up and get it.''

Now the Bears must try to fend off another December fade under Smith, and they'll have to do it at less than full strength.

Cornerback Tim Jennings was out with an injured shoulder and linebacker Brian Urlacher, the man in the middle of the proud veteran defense, could be out for the rest of the season with a pulled hamstring. Defensive tackle Henry Melton hurt his shoulder in the first half. Kicker Robbie Gould was limited by a strained left calf that he suffered in pregame warm-ups, an injury that Smith said was a concern.

``You have to make every play count, and we didn't,'' Smith said.

Notes: Marshall joined Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison and Wes Welker as the only players in history with at least four seasons of 100 or more receptions. Marshall also set the all-time Bears record with his 101st catch this year. ... Through six games, the Bears gave up an average of 71 yards rushing. But they had given up 136 yards per game on the ground in the previous six games. The Vikings gained 171 yards rushing. ... Jennings, the NFL leader in interceptions, said he thinks there's a chance he can play against the Packers. ``Later in the week, it was getting better each and every day,'' he said, ``but the coaches decided to let it heal, which is smart because I still have a little soreness.''

---

Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Tony RomoJul 27 10:59a

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will sit out practice Friday, July 25 as part of a preplanned day off, according to Jason Garrett. Romo is scheduled to take [ More ]

Brian TymsJul 27 10:12a

The New England Patriots signed WR Brian Tyms (Browns) Sunday, July 27. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Geno SmithJul 27 10:05a

New York Jets QB Geno Smith received 16 snaps with the first-team offense during practice Saturday, July 26, while QB Michael Vick received three snaps. Smith has received 42 [ More ]

Davin MeggettJul 27 09:02a

The Indianapolis Colts re-signed RB Davin Meggett (Redskins) Sunday, July 27. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

J.T. ThomasJul 27 01:12a

Jacksonville Jaguars TE D.J. Tialavea (quadriceps) and LB J.T. Thomas (hamstring) left practice early Saturday, July 26, because of injuries. Thomas was carted off the field after suffering his injury.

Darius JohnsonJul 27 01:02a

Free-agent WR Darius Johnson (Falcons) was arrested in May by the Atlanta Police Department for driving under the influence, expired or no driver's license on person, failure to have [ More ]

Willie YoungJul 27 12:32a

Chicago Bears DE Willie Young (quadriceps) left practice early Saturday, July 26, because of a sore quadriceps, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

Quentin GrovesJul 27 12:12a

The Houston Texans will sign free-agent LB Quentin Groves (Browns).

Lawrence SidburyJul 27 12:12a

Updating a previous report, the Houston Texans have signed free-agent LB Lawrence Sidbury (Colts). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andre JohnsonJul 27 12:02a

Houston Texans WR Andre Johnson said he will be moved around to different spots in head coach Bill O'Brien's offensive system.

Brian HoyerJul 27 12:02a

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer (knee) said he will wear a brace on his surgically repaired knee during the entire season. He said he does not believe it will affect his play much.

Cam ThomasJul 26 11:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers DEs Cam Thomas, Brian Arnfelt and Stephon Tuitt all received snaps at left defensive end with the first-team defense during practice Saturday, July 26.

Ben GardnerJul 26 11:12p

Dallas Cowboys DE Ben Gardner (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during practice Saturday, July 26, and is scheduled to undergo an MRI.

Mike NealJul 26 11:02p

Green Bay Packers LB Mike Neal (abdomen) and Nick Perry (foot, knee) is close to coming off the Physically Unable to Perform list and participating in practice, according to head coach Mike McCarthy.

Lawrence SidburyJul 26 10:22p

The Houston Texans are expected to sign free-agent LB Lawrence Sidbury (Colts), according to a source.

Tim FuggerJul 26 10:12p

New York Jets WR Quincy Enunwa (hip) and LB Tim Fugger (ankle) did not participate in practice Saturday, July 26.

K. ThompkinsJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots WR Kenbrell Thompkins (undisclosed) was not able to finish practice Saturday, July 26, after he slid on the ground during the later portions of practice. The [ More ]

Tommy KellyJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots DT Tommy Kelly (knee) participated in some of the team's walkthrough Saturday, July 26, and has been activated from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Vince WilforkJul 26 10:02p

New England Patriots DT Vince Wilfork (Achilles') said his surgically repaired Achilles' tendon responded well during one-on-one rush drills during practice Saturday, July 26.

Tyler GaffneyJul 26 09:02p

Carolina Panthers RB Tyler Gaffney (knee) will miss the entire 2014 season because of a torn lateral meniscus in his knee.

Jimmy StatenJul 26 08:32p

Seattle Seahawks OG Nate Isles (hand) suffered a left hand injury during practice Saturday, July 26, while DT Jimmy Staten suffered a leg injury.

Phillip TannerJul 26 07:32p

Free-agent RB William Powell (Eagles), RB Orwin Smith (Packers) and Phillip Tanner (Cowboys) worked out for the Seattle Seahawks Saturday, July 26.

Rokevious WatkinsJul 26 06:52p

The Kansas City Chiefs waived OG Rokevious Watkins (back) with the non-football injury designation.

Alex OkaforJul 26 06:32p

Arizona Cardinals OLB Alex Okafor is filling in for OLB John Abraham (personal) as the starting weakside linebacker.

Mark AsperJul 26 06:12p

The Buffalo Bills released OG Mark Asper.

Tony MoeakiJul 26 06:12p

Buffalo Bills TE Tony Moeaki (hamstring) will be out a significant amount of time with a hamstring injury. TE Chris Gragg (dehydration) is expected back by next week.

Aaron RossJul 26 06:12p

Baltimore Ravens CB Aaron Ross (Achilles') was placed on Injured Reserve with a torn Achilles'.

Dominique JonesJul 26 06:02p

The Buffalo Bills signed free-agent TE Dominique Jones (Chiefs) to an undisclosed deal.

B. RoethlisbergerJul 26 05:42p

Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger concentrated on strengthening his throwing arm in the offseason and said it is the strongest it has been in his career. He also worked [ More ]

Bobby RaineyJul 26 05:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James is working with the second-team offense Saturday, July 26. It's still early, and Bobby Rainey could still figure into the mix at the [ More ]

Sean McGrathJul 26 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Sean McGrath has decided to retire, according to head coach Andy Reid.

Devon StillJul 26 03:52p

Cincinnati Bengals DT Devon Still (back) has been cleared to practice. Still was listed on the physically unable to perform list at the start of training camp.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group