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Where do Bears stand in playoff hunt?

Posted Nov 19, 2013

Larry discusses whether the Bears would make the playoffs if the season ended today, why the Bears didn't call any timeouts late in the Ravens game and why the Bears opted to punt on fourth-and-one.

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.

If the season ended today, would the Bears be in the playoffs?

Ryan T.
Schaumburg, Illinois

No, they wouldn't be. While the Bears and Lions are tied atop the NFC North with 6-4 records, Detroit owns the tiebreaker by virtue of their season sweep. The Panthers (7-3) would be the first wildcard team and the 49ers (6-4) would be the second. San Francisco currently owns the NFC West tiebreaker over the Cardinals (6-4) after beating them earlier in the season. The 49ers would claim the second wildcard berth ahead of the Bears because they have a better conference record (3-3 vs. 3-4). Of course, the good news is that the season doesn't end today and the Bears are very much in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Why didn't the Bears call their timeouts at the end of the fourth quarter when the Ravens were driving, especially when it was clear that they were going to score at least a field goal?

Pete S.
Indiana

Bears coach Marc Trestman was asked that question during his Monday press conference and gave a lengthy explanation. Here are three of the major points: 1) When you call timeouts during a two-minute drill, you give the offense more time to make substitutions and get the personnel they want on the field; 2) The Ravens did not call a timeout once they reached the Bears' 16, which meant they had to call a play out of their two-minute package instead of their red-zone package; 3) After the Ravens were forced to call their third and final timeout with :11 left, the Bears knew Baltimore had to throw the ball on third-and-goal from the 3, giving their defense an advantage.  

Did the Bears consider keeping their offense on the field on fourth-and-short late in Sunday's game against the Ravens? I know that Marc Trestman has gone for fourth-and-one a couple of times in recent weeks and wonder why he punted in that situation.

Dennis K.
Marengo, Illinois

The fourth-and-one situation you're referring to came at the Baltimore 44 with just under five minutes to play and the Bears protecting a 20-17 lead. Basically, coach Marc Trestman explained that he wanted to play a field-position game at that point and force Baltimore to drive the length of the field into the wind. The Bears defense had been playing well, and that was also a factor in the decision. Unfortunately, the Ravens did drive the length of the field before being forced to settle for a game-tying field goal.

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