Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Rick Morrissey of the Chicago Tribune expressed an appropriate Chicagoan reaction to the Bears' 27-24 overtime victory Thursday night over New Orleans:
The Bears won. OK, you start there. The Bears won 27-24 in overtime against the Saints on Thursday night, and you can hear the loud chorus of people saying that it's the only thing that matters. They are right, to a point. The Bears are 8-6 and still alive in the NFC North race. But ... But the sheer magnitude of the Bears' brain lock Thursday was astounding.
Morrissey runs through the Bears' failed attempt at a fake punt near midfield in the fourth quarter and their decision to throw the ball while ahead instead of pounding the running game. He didn't hit my personal favorite -- running one more play in regulation with seven seconds remaining -- but deadlines are tough these days.
In the end, however, Morrissey points out that while the Bears "didn't come away looking like geniuses," they did "come away victors."
And that really is the bottom line. Style points and the journey traveled don't matter this late in the season. If this were September, you might have watched this game and concluded that the Bears won't go very far in the playoffs -- if they make it at all. But in December, when the game raises their record to 8-6 and keeps them within a game of a division opponent with a more difficult remaining schedule, it is simply considered huge.
Let's continue a look back at the game during our morning spin around the division:
Bears center Olin Kreutz notes that the Bears lost a few games in similar situations earlier this year, most notably to Carolina and Tampa Bay. Here's what Kreutz said, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times: "We've lost leads this year and haven't finished games. The team showed character today and came back and won a game late.''
Eric Olson of the Northwest Herald: "If Minnesota's next three opponents help the Bears as much as the Saints secondary helped them on Thursday night, everything will be fine." Olson is referring to a pair of blatant pass-interference calls on deep throws to receiver Devin Hester.
Tom Pelissero of the Green Bay Press-Gazette looks at the future of the Packers' three pending unrestricted free agents: Right tackle Mark Tauscher, defensive end Michael Montgomery and defensive tackle Colin Cole.
Linebacker Brandon Chillar is likely to start over Desmond Bishop at Jacksonville on Sunday, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com reports that Detroit quarterback Daunte Culpepper will need to play in two more games this season to meet a $1 million performance incentive.
Lions quarterback Dan Orlovsky on his unexpected return to the starting lineup: "Two or three weeks ago, I thought I'd be on [injured reserve]. I didn't think it was going to happen. But I started preparing like it was." John Niyo of the Detroit News has the story.
Minnesota defensive end Jared Allen (knee) hasn't practiced yet this week but is expected to play Sunday at Arizona, writes Judd Zulgad and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune.
Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson said several times this week that a Tampa Bay defender intentionally tried to injure his knee during a game between the teams last month. Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports on the issue.