Goshen News, Goshen, IN

November 17, 2013

Bears, Ravens looking to stay in playoff chase

By ANDREW SELIGMAN AP Sports Writer
Goshen News

---- — LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Quarterback Jay Cutler is out again and cornerback Charles Tillman won’t be back unless the Chicago Bears make the playoffs. The way this season’s going, that’s no sure thing.

With the losses and injuries piling up, the Bears (5-4) host the Baltimore Ravens (4-5) on Sunday in a matchup between teams trying to stay in postseason contention.

For the Bears, the task is getting more and more difficult.

They’re tied for second with Green Bay in the NFC North, a game behind Detroit after dropping four of six. The Lions beat Chicago 21-19 last week to complete a two-game sweep, and beyond that, the injuries continue.

Cutler suffered a high left ankle sprain in the second quarter after sitting out a win at Green Bay with torn groin muscle, forcing the Bears to go with Josh McCown on Chicago’s final drive. McCown is week to week.

Tillman suffered a torn right triceps muscle in the second half and was placed on injured reserve/designated to return. He is eligible to play again in eight weeks, but with only seven games remaining, the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback is out for the rest of the regular season.

That’s just the latest blow for a defense that was already missing three starters, with star linebacker Lance Briggs nursing a fractured shoulder and defensive tackle Henry Melton (torn ACL) and linebacker D.J. Williams (torn pectoral muscle) both on injured reserve.

“You don’t make excuses about it,” coach Marc Trestman said. “(The backups are) here because they’re expected to play.”

The Ravens are trying to stay relevant in the AFC playoff race and get back to .500 after breaking a three-game skid with a 20-17 overtime victory over Cincinnati. It would help if they got their run game going and more production from quarterback Joe Flacco. That largely hinges on a struggling offensive line coming together, something it hasn’t done.