Jordan Howard’s second touchdown run capped an incredible comeback for the Chicago Bears in a 37-31 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
But it was a mistake by a seemingly cavalier defense that rendered this win, and another year at 11-5 for the Bears, meaningless.
Two plays into overtime, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers rolled out on a read-option run and looked as if he would be stuffed for a loss of 6. But Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith became the de facto quarterback on the Bears’ 35-yard field goal attempt, at one point standing behind him and yelling.
With the entire Packers offense standing there frozen to the ground as time ticks away, Bears kicker Cody Parkey, two yards away from a 47-yard field goal, launched the ball from his right side. It didn’t leave his right foot, striking the left upright, ball never crossed the goal line, and instead fell into the arms of Packers safety Kentrell Brice in the end zone for the game-winning touchdown.
It was an unlucky ending to the Bears’ wacky season, and a disappointing end to the careers of arguably their two best defensive players: Khalil Mack (91 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 INT) and Smith (98 tackles, 13 sacks, 3 INT), who will be all but certain to cash out for a playoff-caliber contract in the near future.