That'll do it, ladies and gentlemen. Grab the alcohol! No, not to toast a victory but rather drown the sorrows of coming oh so close to a division title and playoff berth in a season of NFC North futility.
A record of 8-7-1 decided the North. To put it in perspective, the Bears finished third in the division and missed the playoffs in 2012 with 10 wins, which eventually led to the termination of former head coach Lovie Smith.
The Bears had a chance to win the division Sunday by beating the Packers in Chicago. However, as we've seen so many times before, the home squad was unable to deliver in the final seconds of the game. Jay Cutler falls to 1-9 against Green Bay in his career.
The Bears, after being destroyed by the Eagles in what was essentially an exhibition game for Philly in Week 16, had a sluggish start on offense with Cutler at the helm. Cutler threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
The two teams traded blows the entire game. Rodgers, 318 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions, appeared rusty in the first half. He missed throws and fumbled the ball. However, the Bears didn't follow the Pop Warner golden rule of playing until the whistle blows and allowed the Packers to scoop up the fumble and return it for a score.
What about the historically bad Bears rushing defense? The squad didn't deter from its normal bad habits and allowed 160 yards on the ground. However, they did not allow a 100-yard rusher which won't tie the 2008 0-16 Lions' record of allowing 12 in a season. James Starks finished with 88 yards; Eddie Lacy added 66.
In the second half, fortune appeared to swing in the Bears' favor early when Cutler connected with Jeffery on a deep pass as a result of blown Packers coverage. Matt Forte would punch it in one down later. Forte had 110 yards on the ground with three total touchdowns.
Minutes later, the Packers responded with a Lacy touchdown run. Cutler drove the Bears down the field and connected on a loft pass in the corner of the end zone with Brandon Marshall. Marshall finished with six receptions for 74 yards and the lone score.
However, there was no answer for Jordy Nelson. Nelson caught 10 passes for 161 yards. Green Bay was unstoppable their final drive. The team converted multiple 3rd-down attempts, a 4th-down attempt on their own side of the field and converted a second attempt with a wide-open touchdown throw to Randall Cobb.
And that was your dagger. Packers win 33-28.
It'll be an eventful offseason for the Bears; Cutler is in the final year of his five-year contract, the defense needs substantial help and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker's seat is extremely hot.
They're not the Monsters of the Midway anymore, folks. A culture change is coming to the Windy City.