With door wide open, Bears fall flat

Ironically, Cutler pointed to the Eagles as an example of a team gathering itself after an embarrassing loss.

"They just had our number. It's going to happen across the NFL," he said. "These guys went to Minnesota last week and had a similar game [losing 48-30], and then they bounced back pretty well.

"Nothing says we can't play well next week."

The Bears can just as easily look to themselves, having endured a hideous overtime loss at Minnesota three weeks ago to seemingly drop out of playoff contention, only to win two straight and, by the grace of God and the choking Lions, find themselves in control of their own destiny.

That control now feels significantly diminished, although the Bears insist their confidence will not take flight as well. First order of business, they said, is to forget what happened Sunday night, with Cutler almost comically taking the lead.

"I'm not even thinking about this game, to be honest," he said about a half-hour after it ended. "It's done. It's over with. I'm on to Green Bay. This game is wiped clean."

Hard to imagine, but then it is Christmas week, and there was more than one mention of that ,and the hope that somehow Santa Claus and time with family can redirect any negativity, in the Bears' locker room.

Obviously, they have no other choice. The problem is that even a victory next week against the Packers and the NFC North title that would come with it wouldn't make it any easier to imagine the Bears as a formidable playoff team.

"It's disappointing we couldn't get it done, but if we said in April that we'd have an opportunity to go to the playoffs and do that by winning the last game, we would be in, and that's where we are," Trestman said.

That's one way of looking at it.

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