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Should Bears have played for a tie?

Posted Dec 4, 2013

Larry discusses whether a tie would have been as good as a win in Minnesota, Alshon Jeffery's team record for receiving yards and if the Vikings committed a penalty that wasn't called on their successful fourth-and-11 conversion.

Wondering about a player, a past game or another issue involving the Bears? Senior writer Larry Mayer answers a variety of email questions from fans on ChicagoBears.com.

Is my math bad or would a tie have been as good as a win in last Sunday's game against the Vikings? With the division tiebreaker going to the Lions, being a half-game back is as good as being tied. I believe the coaching staff didn't realize this or they would have tried to kill the clock at the end of overtime.

Ken S.

You make an excellent point that I haven't heard anyone else bring up. A tie would have been just as good as a win in terms of the division race because the Bears would have needed to make up only one game on Detroit had they tied the Vikings rather than two. With that being said, I don't think a change in strategy would have made any difference. The Bears opted to attempt a field goal with 4:12 remaining in overtime after reaching the Minnesota 29. Even if they had tried to run a few more plays, the Vikings could have stopped the clock twice with timeouts in addition to the two-minute warning. Had there been about two minutes left, trying to run out the clock so you either win or tie the game would have made a lot of sense. But I think there was too much time left.

How close did Alshon Jeffery come to breaking the NFL record for receiving yards in a game?

Jesus E.

Alshon Jeffery set a Bears receiving record with 249 yards in last Sunday's loss to the Vikings, but he was well short of the NFL mark of 336 yards set by the Los Angeles Rams' Flipper Anderson on Nov. 26, 1989 against the Saints. Jeffery's total was the third most this season behind the Lions' Calvin Johnson (329 versus the Cowboys) and the Browns' Josh Gordon (261 against the Jaguars). Breaking his own team record of 218 yards earlier this season versus the Saints, Jeffery has now recorded two of the four 200-yard receiving games in Bears history. The other two were by Harlon Hill with 214 against the 49ers in 1954 and Johnny Morris with 201 versus the Cowboys in 1962.

It appeared to me that at least one of the Vikings receivers was moving illegally at the snap of the ball on the fourth-and-11 play on their final drive in regulation. I don't understand how an official standing 10 feet away didn't see that and throw a flag. I understand that the Vikings would still get another chance after the penalty, but I think that's a pretty big miss.

Tim E.
Tulsa, Oklahoma

I went back and watched the coaches' tape (where you can see all 22 players) and you're exactly right about the fourth-and-11 play. The Vikings snapped the ball quickly and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who was lined up outside to the left, was moving and definitely not set. I can't answer how the official didn't see it because like you said he was only a short distance away. What's even more frustrating about that play is that linebacker James Anderson was unblocked on a blitz up the middle. It appeared that he could have deflected the pass had he put his hands up, but he didn't.

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