Bears limping to the finish line

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The misery is coming to an end for the Chicago Bears. Sunday night's 35-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers was their fifth consecutive defeat and officially eliminated them from playoff contention. Their 2011 season will end next Sunday at the Metrodome against the Minnesota Vikings, and it can't come quickly enough.

"I'm not happy about where we're at," linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "No one is. Our coaches aren't happy. But that's what we've got. The season will be over next week. That's good."

The Bears have now missed the playoffs in four of the five years after their Super Bowl appearance in 2006. Sunday's loss also ensures them of their third non-winning record since then.

To be fair, the Bears were 7-3 this season before quarterback Jay Cutler's broken thumb sparked a string of injuries that ultimately sidelined him, tailback Matt Forte, receiver Johnny Knox and severely limited kick returner Devin Hester.

"We had a lot of big goals this season," center Roberto Garza said. "We suffered a lot of injuries, but that doesn't matter. We have to step in and guys have to step up and make plays and obviously we haven't done that. We haven't been able to finish games and we haven't been able to score enough points. It falls squarely on us and we have to go out there and do a better job."

For the 2011 season, at least, it's a moot point.