10 plays that shaped season: No. 1

Randall Cobb's 48-yard touchdown reception on fourth and 8 shocked the Bears and won the NFC North for the Packers. Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the disappointment of Chicago’s season coming to an end hasn’t dissipated, but there’s now time for reflection on some of the things that went wrong.

So for the next 10 days we’ll look at 10 plays that negatively affected the Bears’ 8-8 season. Obviously there were more, and probably some you think were more significant than the ones posted on this blog. So feel free to hit the comments section with some of the plays you thought negatively affected Chicago’s season.

These are in no particular order. Let’s start with the play that comes to mind immediately:

WHEN: Dec. 29, 2013

WHERE: A 33-28 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field.

THE PLAY: Aaron Rodgers’ 48-yard touchdown pass to Randall Cobb.

WHAT THEY SAID: Bears coach Marc Trestman: “It’s not easy to go to your left and make a play like that and he did,” said Trestman, a noted quarterback guru. “You have to marvel at the fact that he was going to his left and made that kind of throw. If you’re going to run a quarterback out of the pocket, you want him to go to the opposite of his arm. He’s a great player.”

IMPACT OF THE PLAY: It ended Chicago’s season when all the Bears needed to do was get one stop to advance to the playoffs. What’s worse is the Packer converted three fourth downs during that 87-yard drive with the Bears clinging to a 28-27 lead. The TD pass came on 4th-and-8 with just 46 left to play, and likely wouldn’t have resulted in a score had Bears’ safety Chris Conte not made a mental error in the game’s most critical moment. The Bears called an all-out blitz on the play that called for the secondary to play-man-to-man coverage. While every other defender was playing man to man, Conte dropped into zone coverage as Cobb ran right past him wide open for the game-winning touchdown. Julius Peppers flushed Rodgers out of the pocket, which bought him time to make the throw. But in an all-out blitz situation, the objective of the defense is to generate enough pressure to force the quarterback to throw the ball quickly and errantly.