|Bears still need help after beating Saints|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 12 December 2008 13:46|
Gould came through in a big way for the Bears on Thursday, kicking the winning field goal in overtime to lift Chicago to a 27-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints after he tied it on the final play of regulation.
Now, with the Bears eyeing a playoff spot, he hopes the Arizona Cardinals pitch in when they meet the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
``I'll be watching Minnesota, and hopefully, we get a little help,'' Gould said.
Although they're a half-game behind the Vikings in the NFC North and a half-game out of the wild card, the Bears' best shot at the playoffs is to win the division. And the odds of that aren't great because Minnesota holds the tiebreaker.
Either way, coach Lovie Smith is convinced the Bears (8-6) will get to the postseason if they win their remaining two games, even though there's no guarantee.
``Most teams that get 10 wins get into the playoffs,'' he said Friday. ``That's the best we can do.''
Chicago would still have a mathematical shot at the wild card with a loss, but the odds are slim at best, even if it beats Green Bay and Houston on Dec. 28. In that case, the Bears would need four of these five scenarios to play out:
-Washington to lose one of its three remaining games.
-Philadelphia to lose one of its last three.
-Atlanta to drop two of three.
-Dallas to lose two of three.
-Tampa Bay to lose its final three games.
With so many teams standing in the way of the wild card, it's no surprise the Bears are rooting hard for anyone who plays Minnesota - a list that includes Atlanta and the New York Giants. After back-to-back wins, the Bears finally appear to be building some momentum. They'll try to make it three in a row for the first time since the 2006 NFC championship season when they host Green Bay on Dec. 22, but on Sunday, their attention will be on that Minnesota-Arizona game.
``We know we have to win every game if we want to have a chance to go to the playoffs,'' Brian Urlacher said.
The New Orleans game was an important step, and the Bears nearly tripped on it.
After beating the Saints in the NFC title game two years ago and wiping out their playoff chances on the final day last season, Chicago all but eliminated them again. The Bears harassed Drew Brees while building a 21-7 halftime lead, only to fall behind in the final minutes of regulation.
Brees' 11-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston gave New Orleans a 24-21 lead with just over three minutes left in regulation, but the Bears came back. Kyle Orton completed seven straight passes on the next drive to set up Gould's 28-yard field goal, and Chicago escaped with the win in overtime thanks to two big breaks and another big boot.
The Bears won the coin toss in overtime and got a 38-yard pass-interference penalty by Roman Harper on Devin Hester. That put the ball on the Saints 15 before Gould won it with a 35-yard field goal.
So New Orleans left Soldier Field with another tough loss, and the Bears went home with a sense of relief.
Sure, they nearly wasted one their best efforts of the season thanks to some questionable decisions. Such as when Brad Maynard faked a punt near midfield with the Bears leading by four early in the fourth period. He threw an incomplete pass rather than bury the Saints in their territory with a punt.
Orton also threw two interceptions in the second half that led to touchdowns, including Colston's.
But there were also some welcome sights. Danieal Manning ran the opening kickoff 83 yards for a touchdown. It was the Bears' first kick return for a TD this season - shocking, considering Devin Hester is still around. With a bigger role on offense, his production on special teams has slipped after two record-setting seasons.
urns now after Manning took over on kickoffs a few weeks ago. Manning has a league-leading average of 29.5 yards per return.
``It was big to get that,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ``We just assume each week we're going to get one. Even though it hasn't happened, you're still assuming each week that it might come.''