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

Pierre ThomasOct 30 07:22p

New Orleans Saints RBs Khiry Robinson (forearm) and Pierre Thomas (shoulder) are both inactive in Week 9 against the Carolina Panthers Thursday, Oct. 30.

David HawthorneOct 30 07:12p

The New Orleans Saints have declared LB Austin Johnson, LB David Hawthorne, C Jonathan Goodwin, RB Khiry Robinson, WR Nick Toon, RB Pierre Thomas, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste inactive for Week 9.

Amini SilatoluOct 30 07:12p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Amini Silatolu, CB Bene Benwikere, OT Byron Bell, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Philly Brown, FS Thomas DeCoud, OG Trai Turner inactive for Week 9.

Brandon BrownerOct 30 04:32p

New England Patriots DT Alan Branch (non-injury related) and DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. S Nate Ebner (finger), DL Dominique Easley (knee), OL Cameron [ More ]

Brandon ThompsonOct 30 04:22p

Cincinnati Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard (hamstring), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring) and OG Kevin Zeitler (calf) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. DT Domata Peko (toe) and OT Andre Smith [ More ]

Dwight FreeneyOct 30 04:22p

San Diego Chargers LB Manti Te'o (foot), CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) and S Jahleel Addae (concussion) did not practice Thursday, Oct. 30. LB Jeremiah Attaochu (hamstring) was limited. CB [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 30 04:12p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) practiced fully Thursday, Oct. 30.

Terrell SuggsOct 30 04:02p

Baltimore Ravens WR Michael Campanaro (thigh), CB Jimmy Smith (foot) and LB Terrell Suggs (neck) all did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. OG Marshal Yanda (knee) [ More ]

Brett KeiselOct 30 03:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers DE Brett Keisel (non-injury), SS Troy Polamalu (non-injury) and SS Ross Ventrone (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Ike Taylor (forearm) and FS [ More ]

Bruce CarterOct 30 03:22p

Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (finger) suffered a broken ring finger during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, but expects to play in Week 9. He will wear a splint on his finger for protection.

Cullen JenkinsOct 30 03:12p

New York Giants DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back, hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (ankle) were both limited in practice.

Brandon BoykinOct 30 03:12p

Philadelphia Eagles FS Nate Allen (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. TE Brent Celek (back) and WR Brad Smith (groin) were both limited in practice. CB [ More ]

D'Qwell JacksonOct 30 03:12p

Indianapolis Colts LB D'Qwell Jackson (toe), DT Arthur Jones (ankle), LB Erik Walden (quadriceps) and LB Josh McNary (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30. CB Vontae [ More ]

Rashad JenningsOct 30 02:42p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) said he is on track in terms of his rehab, but there is no timetable for his return. Jennings said he has [ More ]

Jordan CameronOct 30 02:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Anthony CollinsOct 30 02:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OT Oniel Cousins is working at left tackle with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, because OT Anthony Collins (foot) is sitting out practice.

Doug MartinOct 30 02:22p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (ankle) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Jason VerrettOct 30 01:52p

San Diego Chargers CB Jason Verrett (shoulder) is expected to miss two to three weeks with a torn labrum, according to two sources.

DeAngelo WilliamsOct 30 01:52p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle) will start the team's Week 9 game against the New Orleans Saints Thursday, Oct. 30, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

R. Griffin IIIOct 30 01:42p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) received most of the work with the first-team offense during practice Thursday, Oct. 30, and will start in Week 9 if he [ More ]

Jaylen WatkinsOct 30 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles SS Earl Wolff, FS Chris Maragos and CB Jaylen Watkins could be options to start at safety if FS Nate Allen (hamstring) is not able to play in Week 9.

Giovani BernardOct 30 01:22p

Cincinnati Bengals RB Giovani Bernard (hip, shoulder) did not participate in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 01:02p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) didn't take part in the walk-through Thursday, Oct. 30, and will not practice with the team. However, head coach Jason Garrett remains hopeful [ More ]

Trent RichardsonOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson (hamstring) is participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Reggie WayneOct 30 12:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (elbow) is not participating in practice Thursday, Oct. 30.

Tony RomoOct 30 12:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo's (back) status is making head coach Jason Garrett feel optimistic about his availability for Week 9.

Dallas ThomasOct 30 11:43a

Miami Dolphins OG Dallas Thomas would be the most likely candidate to start at left guard if OG Daryn Colledge (illness) is not able to play in Week 9.

Rashad JenningsOct 30 11:12a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (knee) has been ruled out for Week 9.

Phil BatesOct 30 10:52a

The Cleveland Browns signed free-agent WR Phil Bates (Seahawks) to the practice squad and released CB Marcus Cromartie Thursday, Oct. 30.

Charles SimsOct 30 10:13a

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Charles Sims could have 10 or more touches in Week 9, in the opinion of beat writer Greg Auman.

Ryan MathewsOct 30 09:52a

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) is likely to sit out of the Week 9 game and return after the Week 10 bye.

Dennis PittaOct 30 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) may never be able to play football again after two surgeries on a fractured and dislocated hip in as many seasons.

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