LOS ANGELES -- The Chicago Bears' hopes of reaching the playoffs in back-to-back years all but vanished on Sunday night in the warm Southern California air.
Neither team that took the field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum looked playoff worthy, but the Bears’ 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams puts coach Matt Nagy’s team in the most precarious of positions.
At 4-6, the Bears aren’t even in shouting distance of NFC North division leader Green Bay (8-2). And barring something totally unforeseen, San Francisco (9-1) and Seattle (8-2) are both playoff bound.
That leaves one wild-card spot open -- it is currently occupied by the Vikings, who improved to 8-3 with their come-from-behind win over the Broncos.
The Bears beat Minnesota at Soldier Field back in late September, but that feels like ages ago.
Chicago simply can’t sustain success. The Bears haven’t made the playoffs in consecutive years since 2005-06.
Old habits die hard.
Troubling trend: The Bears have a full-blown kicker crisis, again. Eddy Pineiro had a better-than-expected September and October, but Pineiro’s job appears to be in jeopardy after he missed a pair of first-half field goals (47 and 48 yards) on Sunday night. For an offense that has struggled to score points all year, Pineiro’s misses devastated the Bears, who ran 41 offensive plays in the opening 30 minutes, yet went to the halftime locker room with zero points.
Following Pineiro’s first miss of the night, Nagy opted to go for it on fourth-and-9 instead of letting Pineiro attempt a 49-yard field goal. Can you blame Nagy?
Pineiro has made three of his past seven field goal tries and also botched an extra-point kick in Week 10. The Bears spent the entire offseason searching for a kicker before they settled on Pineiro. At the very least, the Bears need to have kicker tryouts at Halas Hall on Tuesday.
QB breakdown: Mitchell Trubisky led the Bears on arguably their most impressive drive of the season, which ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Tarik Cohen. Trubisky was 24-of-43 for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception (65.1 quarterback rating) before leaving the game because of a hip injury. Veteran backup Chase Daniel came in in relief.
You can make the case Trubisky outplayed counterpart Jared Goff, but that isn’t saying much. The only positive is that the Bears haven’t paid Trubisky. And they probably never will.
Pivotal play: Trubisky’s interception to Troy Hill in the second quarter. On second-and-10 on the Bears' 46-yard line, Trubisky uncorked a throw to the far left sideline intended for Anthony Miller. But Miller initiated contact with Hill and stopped his route. Trubisky’s pass sailed to the right of Miller, who batted the ball up in the air, and Hill intercepted it. Two plays later, Goff hit Cooper Kupp on a 51-yard pass that set up a Los Angeles touchdown. The Bears never got closer than three points after that.