Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler passes during the fourth quarter under pressure from Cleveland Browns defensive end Ahtyba Rubin during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013, in Cleveland. Chicago won 38-31. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Despite not playing against the Philadelphia Eagles until 7:30pm on Sunday night, Chicago Bears fans were gnawing at their fingernails all afternoon as the Green Bay Packers took on the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions battled the New York Giants up in the Motor City.
Fortunately for the Bears, both the Packers and Lions lost, meaning that a Bears victory against Philadelphia will seal the NFC North championship.
The Lions’ game ended up going to overtime, and despite both teams having a chance to win the game, it was the Giants who ended up coming out on top as Josh Brown drilled a 45-yard field goal in the extra frame to give the Giants a 23-20 victory.
Apparently the Bears’ were watching the game in their locker room as they got set to play the Eagles:
— patrick finley (@patrickfinley) December 23, 2013
As for the Packers, they had held the Steelers to a field goal attempt in the late stages of the fourth quarter, but after an offside penalty on 4th-and-3, the Steelers got a first down and a new lease on life, and Le’Veon Bell punched the ball in from the goal line to put Pittsburgh up 38-31 with just 1:25 left in the football game.
After a massive kickoff return by the Packers, they did get a last chance to tie the score up, but a false start penalty at the one-yard line set them back five yards and killed 10 seconds off the clock, setting up one final play. Matt Flynn’s pass to the end zone fell harmlessly incomplete, and the Bears will get their opportunity to clinch the North Sunday night.
The Eagles lost their opportunity to play for a divisional title earlier in the day on Sunday, as the Dallas Cowboys used a last-minute touchdown by DeMarco Murray to knock off the Washington Redskins 24-23 in the nation’s capital. The Dallas victory meant that the Eagles get the chance to play against the Cowboys next Sunday in a winner-take-all NFC East championship game, and their result against the Bears Sunday night would do nothing to improve their standing.