(AP) Best Game: A 45-28 victory Dec. 9 over the Dallas Cowboys at Soldier Field as quarterback Josh McCown led the Bears to scores on their first eight possessions . The easy victory left them 7-6 and still in the hunt for a division title.
Worst Game: A 54-11 embarrassing blowout loss at Philadelphia when the Bears could have clinched an NFC North Division title and a playoff berth on Dec. 22.
Best Play: Alshon Jeffery’s leaping 46-yard touchdown catch near the sideline against the Minnesota Vikings’ Chris Cook at the Metrodome. Jeffery had a franchise record 249 receiving yards in the loss.
Worst Play: Safety Chris Conte came up instead of staying back or locking onto Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb once Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers escaped the pocket, paving the way for a wide-open 47-yard touchdown pass with 38 seconds remaining in the season finale. The fourth-and-eight play beat the Bears and kept them out of the playoffs.
Biggest Surprise: Jeffery, who came off an injury-plagued rookie year to catch 89 passes for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns.
Biggest Disappointment: The run defense. Hit by injuries that took out four key starters for big chunks of the season, the defense allowed a league-worst 5.3 yards per carry.
What’s Next: Sorting through a list of 27 unrestricted free agents to see who they want to keep and can afford, starting with quarterback Jay Cutler. They also have to choose if they want to stay the course with their “Tampa-2” defense established under former coach Lovie Smith or switch to another style.
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