When the Chicago Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers last week, their potential post-season picture changed significantly. Instead of fighting for the NFC North title and a shot at the #2 seed in the 2012 playoffs, they were relegated to having to aim for a Wild Card, and needing help in getting there.
But step one was winning in Arizona, and that turned out to be a no contest.
Mike Tice seemed to be locked in on the passing game early, but Jay Cutler struggled to find any rhythm until just before half time. Matt Forte was finding success on the ground, but an ankle injury suffered early in the third quarter sent him to the locker room for the remainder of the game.
Newly re-signed Zackary Bowman scored on a fumble recovery in the first quarter, and Charles Tillman scored on an interception of rookie quarterback Ryan Lindley in the third.
The rest as they say, was history. The Cardinals benched Lindley after Tillman's interception, and next man up, Brian Hoyer, couldn't get anything going either.
Milestone: Brandon Marshall set a Chicago Bears single-season record for receiving yards on his very first catch of the game. He entered with 1,397 yards this season, with the record being held since 1999 by Marcus Robinson (1,400 yards). He sits at 1,464 with one game left to play in the regular season.
Playoffs: The Bears path to the playoffs was made a little clearer with the thumping that the Ravens put on the Giants, and Chicago will be able to clinch next week with 1- A win over the Detroit Lions, and 2- A Packers victory over the Vikings.
Final stats of the game today:
Jay Cutler: 12/26, 146 yds, 1 TD
Matt Forte: 12 carries, 88 yds, 1 TD
Brandon Marshall: 6 rec, 68 yds, 1 TD
Ryan Lindley: 17/30, 141 yds, 0 TD, 1 INT
Larry Fitzgerald: 8 rec, 111 yds
As the dust in the desert settles, what are your thoughts from today?