When you think of painful Chicago Bears-related memories, many things come to mind - the team’s performance from 2014 to today, for example.
While there have been bad moments aplenty in the storied history of the franchise, one recent moment may just take the cake.
The day was December 29, 2013. The Bears were facing their bitter rival, the Green Bay Packers, with the NFC North crown on the line. Green Bay had been missing quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the previous seven games, but he had returned from recovering from his fractured clavicle to help his team win.
I attended the game with my family, and I can almost remember it like it was yesterday. The Bears had kept the Packers close throughout the game: they even had a one-point lead to enter the fourth quarter. On the first play of the quarter, they extended their lead with a five-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall.
Green Bay bounced back with a touchdown of their own eventually, but Chicago still had a one-point lead. The Packers gained possession with six minutes left to go at their own 13. It took them two fourth-down conversions, but they slowly moved their way up the field. This strategy, however, killed a lot of time on the clock.
The Packers had finally crossed their way into Bears territory after a two-yard run by Eddie Lacy on second down. One incomplete deep pass to Jordy Nelson later, though, and they faced their third fourth down of the drive.
It was 4th-and-8 with 46 seconds left to go in the quarter. Soldier Field was on its feet: one more play, and their Bears would be making it to the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
Or so we thought.
A lot of people like to blame Chris Conte for the 48-yard bomb that Randall Cobb caught, but in reality, Zack Bowman was more at fault. If you go back and watch the play (do so at your own risk), then you will see that the Bears' defensive backs were in zone coverage. Conte shifted his focus from Cobb to James Jones, and Bowman failed to pick Cobb up, allowing him to get open for the easy catch.
Jay Cutler threw an interception in the final drive of the game, which killed any chance of a possible Bears comeback. It was that Rodgers-to-Cobb pass, though, that really put the nail in the coffin.