Late Block Preserves Bears Chance For an Overtime Win, Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive

Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 22, 2008

With recorded temperatures colder than they have ever been for a football game in Green Bay, Chicago was quickly watching it's playoff hopes drop like mercury in a thermometer.

Held to just 92 yards through three quarters, Chicago trailed 17-10, looking at a fourth and one from the Green Bay four yard line.

Then Matt Forte dug deep, found something, and powered through for the first down. One play later, he took the rock into the end zone to knot the score at 17-17.

With 3:11 remaining, Green Bay had once last shot to finish the game and get in out of the weather. All they needed was three, and they could go inside for a hot shower and treatment for the frostbite that was setting in.

Aaron Rodgers did what he had to, getting the Packers down to the 20 to give Mason Crosby an opportunity—excuse the pun—to ice the game.

Nothing doing; with a feat rarely seen in the NFL, Alex Brown somehow got through and blocked a low kick, sending the game into overtime.

The Packers wouldn't get another chance. After Kyle Orton took a knee to end regulation, the Bears won the toss and started overtime from their own 33 yard line. With a little help from a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call, Orton drove the Bears down the field in six plays, and Robbie Gould ended it with a 37-yarder that split the uprights.

With this win, Chicago kept it's shot at post season play alive and well.

With Minnesota playing the Giants next week, Chicago has to hope that Houston is in a giving mood. New York has guaranteed themselves a first round bye and home field advantage. They have no reason to play their starters for long; with Minnesota needing a win to earn the North division title, they will be playing all out for four quarters.

If the Giants make it easy for them by playing backups most of the game, the Bears season could be done.

Chicago, on the other hand, faces the Houston Texans, the team that just last week knocked off the Tennessee Titans, who are currently holding the position as top team in the NFL.

They will be playing in Chicago, though, and coming from sunny south Texas, weather will definitely be a factor. And they did lose to Oakland this week, although they are probably hoping no one saw the game.

If Chicago misses the show, they will have to look back at their earlier losses to Green Bay and Minnesota and figure out which one qualifies as "the one that got away."

Bears fans need to be asking Santa to deliver a cold Nor'easter with some snow to boot.