By Fred Mitchell
Familiar transgressions -- interceptions and mental blunders -- were the Bears' undoing today as the Packers prevailed 21-14 at Soldier Field.
Jay Cutler threw two interceptions and left tackle Chris Williams was flagged for three key penalties as the Bears fell to 5-8.
And in case anyone was wondering, it's official: The loss eliminated the Bears from the playoffs, the team confirmed.
The Bears now have failed to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season. And because they cannot finish above .500, this will be their 10th non-winning season in the last 14.
The Packers scored on their first play from scrimmage: a 62-yard run from scrimmage by Ryan Grant. It was the longest rushing play of the season for Green Bay. Mason Crosby converted for a 7-0 lead with 13:12 left in the opening quarter.
Crosby booted a 33-yard field goal with 3:35 left in the first period to improve the Packers' lead to 10-0. The drive covered 48 yards in 12 plays.
Cutler threw his 21st interception of the season on the next drive as Charles Woodson made the 44st pick of his career. The Packers took advantage of that turnover by moving into range for a 26-yard field goal by Crosby and a 13-0 advantage.
The Bears finally got on the board with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Johnny Knox. Robbie Gould converted and the Bears trailed 13-7 at the half.
The Packers started the second half with a turnover. Aaron Rodgers twice lost control of the football on the same play before Anthony Adams gathered in the loose ball for the Bears.
The Bears took advantage of the turnover by scoring on a 10-yard TD pass from Cutler to Devin Aromashodu. The drive covered 56 yards and Gould's extra point gave the Bears a 14-13 lead with 9:35 left in the third period. It was Aromashodu's first NFL touchdown.
Cutler had completed nine straight passes before tossing another interception intended for Knox. Nick Collins made the interception and returned it 31 yards to the Packers' 11.
Following an interference call in the end zone by Zack Bowman that placed the ball on the 1, Grant rushed in for the touchdown. The two-point conversion was good as Rodgers passed to Greg Jennings and the Packers regained the lead 21-14.
Crosby misfired on a 42-yard field goal attempt with 6:05 left in the fourth period, keeping the Bears hopes alive. It was just his third miss inside 48 yards this season.
With 4:51 left, the Bears called a timeout after Cutler's pass to Greg Olsen was ruled incomplete. During the timeout, Smith challenged the ruling that Olsen was not down by contact before the ball came loose. The ruling on the field was upheld and the Bears lost two timeouts.