Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte (22) breaks through the Detroit Lions defense for a 1-yard touchdown during the second quarter of an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)
The Chicago Bears held on against Detroit — before their playoff hopes faded away for good.
Chicago needed a win over the Lions and a loss by Minnesota on Sunday to make the postseason. The Bears took care of their end, beating Detroit 26-24, but the Vikings edged the Packers 37-34 to earn a wild card.
Chicago (10-6) became only the second team since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams to miss out after a 7-1 start, according to STATS, LLC. The other was Washington in 1996.
The Lions (4-12) lost their last eight games and turned the ball over four times in the finale. Calvin Johnson fell short in his attempt to become the first player with 2,000 yards receiving in a season.