CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 16: Quarterback Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears scores on a nine-yard touchdown run in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2011 NFC divisional playoff game at Soldier Field on January 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Jay Cutler
We already dissected the lows from this season, but with a trip to the NFC Championship and an NFC North Championship, there were more highs than lows. The best moments from an improbable season for Chicago:
10. The questionable call for Megatron's catch goes our way. Confidential to Bears fans: How lucky were we? We should have known from that catch that this was going to be a charmed season. Calvin Johnson's touchdown catch was negated by the controversial call, letting the Bears hold onto the season-opening win over the Lions. The win is in the books, and no matter how sketchy the call, it's official.
9. Corey Wootton's sack of Brett Favre -- After Brett Favre had given the Bears so many nightmares through the years, it was fitting that he would play his final game against Chicago. Wootton, a rookie from Northwestern got the first sack of his career on the last play of Favre's.
8. Julius Peppers hushes his former team -- Before joining the Bears, Pep had only played for teams from North Carolina, from his grade school days to his eight years with the Panthers. In his first game back in Carolina, Peppers put on a show, intercepting and breaking up passes like he was a 5-foot-11 safety, not a 6-foot-7 defensive end. In one of his first big displays of emotion as a Bear, Peppers answered the Carolina boos by simply lifting his finger to his lips, hushing his detractors.
7. Chris Harris' interception of Michael Vick -- At this point in the season, Philadelphia's QB had not been picked off in seasons. Harris ended that streak, grabbing an interception and running it back for 39 yards. That turnover set up an Earl Bennett touchdown.
6. Jay Cutler adjusts, then thrives against Dallas -- The first three possessions of the Bears game at Dallas were disasters. Cutler was sacked or hurried nearly every time he tried to pass. But by the fourth possession, Cutler and offensive coordinator Mike Martz adjusted. Instead of taking his usual seven-step drop, Cutler threw quick, short passes to his receivers. That included a pass to Greg Olsen that the big tight end turned into a touchdown.
5. Bears defense holds Adrian Peterson to 51 yards -- When the Bears met up with the Vikings in November, Minnesota was still a threat to make the playoffs and Peterson was in a tight race with Houston's Arian Foster for the league's rushing title. The Bears gave Foster a big boost by stopping Peterson every time he was handed the ball.
4. Devin Hester returns to ridiculous form -- As the Bears pushed Hester into the receiver role, he floundered as a return man, going two seasons without a return touchdown. He ended that streak during a Monday Night Football game against the Packers, busting loose for a 62-yard touchdown.
3. Robbie Gould's field goal over Green Bay -- Let's forget that the Bears lost to the Packers twice, and focus on the one win over the evil cheesepeople. Though Hester already turned heads with his return, the game came down to Gould. He kicked a field goal to tie the game with less than four minutes to go, then won it with a 19-yarder with four seconds on the clock.
2. Bears start domination of Seattle with a first-possession touchdown -- The Seahawks beat the Bears during the regular season, and on their return to Soldier Field, the Bears interrupted their Cinderella playoff run quite early. Cutler connected with his good pal Greg Olsen for a 58-yd touchdown to start the game.
1. Rashied Davis spots Jets dumb fake punt on way to clinching playoff berth -- Oh, you silly Jets. You thought you could fool the Bears special teams? Naw, playa. The Jets sent out their quarterback and lined him up as a punter, assuming the Bears wouldn't notice that attempted trickery. Rashied Davis did, and broke up Sanchez's pass on the way to the Bears winning over the Jets and clinching the NFC North.