DETROIT (AP) - Jay Cutler led the Chicago Bears to victory, then uttered three words that must have felt awkward coming out of his mouth.
"Go Pack Go," he said.
It was no use.
Chicago kept its playoff hopes alive - but only momentarily. The Bears beat the Detroit Lions 26-24 on Sunday, then were eliminated from postseason contention when Minnesota edged Green Bay 37-34 to earn the final NFC wild card.
The Bears (10-6) needed a Minnesota loss to reach the playoffs. Instead, they became only the second club since the postseason expanded to 12 teams to miss out after a 7-1 start, according to STATS. The other was Washington in 1996.
Calvin Johnson fell short in his attempt to become the first player with 2,000 yards receiving in a season.
Minnesota played Green Bay as part of the later session of Sunday afternoon games. As players watched on TV, there were some quiet groans in the Chicago locker room after the Vikings scored an early touchdown.
"It's just aggravating to have to wait and see what has to go down," running back Matt Forte said. "We took care of our part, so that's all we can bank on right now."
NOTES: Chicago TE Matt Spaeth left the game with a concussion. ... The Bears were without LB Brian Urlacher (hamstring). He last played on Dec. 2.