Bears come up empty in season-ending loss

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The Chicago Bears squandered two second half red zone scoring opportunities and chalked up over 100 yards in penalty yardage in a 23-10 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday afternoon at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Bears finished last in the NFC North at 5-11 for the fourth straight season and haven’t posted a winning record since 2012. Meanwhile, the NFC North champion Vikings improved to 13-3 and earned a first-round bye with the victory.

In what could very likely be John Fox’s last game as Chicago head coach, the game followed a familiar script for the Bears. They fell behind early at 14-0 behind an ineffective offense and were hurt by costly penalties on defense, including a personal foul on DL  Eddie Goldman and two pass interference calls on nickel defender Bryce Callahan.

Callahan redeemed himself momentarily when he was part of a Bears punt return ruse that caught Minnesota napping. The Bears return unit set up for rookie Tarik Cohen to field the punt and geared their blocking scheme accordingly. Instead, Callahan took the punt and with the Vikings focused on Cohen, scampered 59 yards for the score to cut the Minnesota lead to 14-7. READ MORE

Bears grind out win over Browns in home finale

It wasn’t pretty, but the Chicago Bears gave their fans an early Christmas present with a methodical 20-3 victory over the hapless Cleveland Browns at snowy Soldier Field on Christmas eve. The Bears record stands at 5-10 with the regular season finale at Minnesota next Sunday. The Browns remain winless at 0-15.

Befitting the holiday season, Soldier Field looked like a snow globe with slippery conditions throughout the first half.  The Bears took advantage of Cleveland mistakes en route to three rushing touchdowns on a day when the running game picked its spots to shine. Bears RB Jordan Howard had tough sledding as the Cleveland defense stacked the box against a makeshift Chicago offensive line.  Still, Howard managed to score on both 2 yard and 16 yard touchdown carries.

The real Chicago star on offense was reserve RB Benny Cunningham. Catching the Browns on a pair of blitzes, the Bears dialed up screen calls to Cunningham, who promptly lumbered 40 and 22 yards to give Chicago prime field position. The Bears would convert on each, first on QB Mitch Trubisky’s 4 yard keeper, then on Howard’s 16 yarder. Cunningham also tacked on a 28 yard kickoff return, accounting for 90 yards of total offense.  READ MORE

Subplots highlight battle of bad as Bears meet Browns

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Despite a combined 24 losses from both the Chicago Bears and Cleveland Browns, Sunday’s Christmas Eve matchup at Soldier Field between the two struggling franchises offers several interesting storylines.

For starters, a defeat at the hands of the hapless Browns might sweep out more than head coach John Fox and his Bears coaching staff. Pressure could mount for more substantial change at Halas Hall after a fourth consecutive double-digit loss season. It’s the ultimate no-win scenario, since the Bears are expected to take advantage of Cleveland’s propensity to make the game-changing mistake.

Scrutiny has been placed on General Manager Ryan Pace’s shoulders after another season full of injuries to key players, lack of depth at several positions, namely wide receiver, and zero Pro Bowlers, as the Bears were shut out again in the annual all-star game selections. Pace’s drafts have been inconsistent and his free agent signings largely unimpressive. While many observers expect him to remain in charge, an embarrassing loss to Cleveland could change the thinking. READ MORE