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Two Minute Drill

Howard provides bright spot in defeat


It sounds like a broken record, but rookie running back Jordan Howard once again delivered an impressive performance in an otherwise forgettable game for the Bears.

The fifth-round draft pick from Indiana rushed for 119 yards on 18 carries in Saturday's 41-21 loss to the Redskins, setting a Bears rookie record with his sixth 100-yard game of the season.

In the process, Howard increased his season total to 1,178 yards, leapfrogging Rashaan Salaam (1,074) into third place behind Matt Forte (1,238) and Anthony Thomas (1,183) for most yards by a Bears rookie. Howard will need 61 yards in next Sunday's season finale in Minnesota to break Forte's record.

Sharing the workload: With Matt Barkley making his fifth straight start Saturday, the Bears have had three different quarterbacks start at least five games this season for the first time in franchise history. Saturday's loss gave Barkley the same 1-4 record as Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer.

Barkley has completed 58.9 percent of his passes for 1,486 yards with eight touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 70.3 passer rating. Cutler has connected on 59.1 percent of his throws for 1,059 yards with four TDs, five picks and a 78.1 rating. And Hoyer has completed 67.0 percent of his passes for 1,445 yards with six TDs, no interceptions and a 98.0 rating.

Looking ahead: The Bears' 2017 opponents have been set. In addition to home and road games against NFC North rivals the Lions, Packers and Vikings, the Bears will host the Falcons, Panthers, Browns, Steelers and 49ers while visiting the Saints, Buccaneers, Ravens, Bengals and Eagles.

All of the opponents were set before the season except for the 49ers and Eagles, who the Bears will play because they finished in the same place in the standings in their respective divisions.

Downward spiral: With Saturday's loss, the Bears have now dropped seven straight games to the Redskins dating back to 2004. It's the Bears' longest active losing streak to one team. Five of the defeats have been by four points or less with those five coming by a combined 15 points.

New Year's tradition: The Bears will play on New Year's Day next Sunday for the fourth time in franchise history, with all four contests coming against the Vikings in Minnesota.

The Bears closed their regular season in Minnesota with a 34-10 loss on Jan. 1, 2006 and a 17-13 win on Jan. 1, 2012. The two teams also met in the first round of the playoffs on Jan. 1, 1995, with the wildcard Bears upsetting the NFC Central champion Vikings 35-18.

Steve Walsh threw touchdown passes of 9 yards to Keith Jennings and 21 yards to Jeff Graham, Raymont Harris had a 29-yard TD run and Kevin Miniefield returned a fumble 48 yards for a TD.

Roster news: Outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (concussion), safety Deon Bush (ankle) and tight end Daniel Brown (shoulder) exited Saturday's game with injuries. Floyd also suffered a concussion Nov. 20 in a loss to the Giants.

Cornerback Cre'von LeBlanc (knee), running back Ka'Deem Carey (shoulder) and guard Eric Kush (concussion) missed the game with injuries. Other inactives were receiver Daniel Braverman, fullback Paul Lasike, linebacker Jonathan Anderson and safety DeAndre Houston-Carson.

Running back/punt returner Bralon Addison, tight end MyCole Pruitt and cornerback Johnthan Banks all made their Bears debuts Saturday.

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