LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) Good news for the Chicago Bears: only one game remains.
They will try to finish a rough season on a strong note when they visit Minnesota. Then they can address a long list of issues after taking a big step backward.
''As a team, we don't care what our record is, we might be losing, but we're going to come back and fight and give it our best shot,'' running back Jordan Howard said. ''We don't have a `don't care' mentality. We are all going to fight to the finish.''
A 41-21 loss to Washington on Saturday was as ugly as any this season. It guaranteed the Bears (3-12) will at best match their worst record in 14 years and left open the possibility they will equal their lowest win total in a non-strike year in more than four decades.
Those are striking numbers for a team that insists it is better than the record indicates and it is closer to a turnaround than people realize.
Still, what is the future of quarterback Jay Cutler? And there is no shortage of holes on the roster. Changes might also be in store for the coaching staff.
The fact Chicago was brutalized by injuries, with 19 players on injured reserve, sure didn't help.
Even so, six of the Bears' losses were by a touchdown or less despite all the lineup juggling. Before getting dominated by Washington, they dropped the previous two games by three points, even wiping out a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter against Green Bay last week.
''I think better days are going to come,'' coach John Fox said. ''We see improvement. It's not maybe in our record, but I think we're closer than people think.''
The Bears went 6-10 last year in Fox's first season in Chicago. The best they can hope for now is to finish 4-12 and match their worst record since 2002. If they lose to the Vikings, they'll finish with three wins in a non-strike year for the first time since the 1973 team went 3-11.
That's not what the Bears envisioned. And even some of the bright spots are looking a little dimmer these days.
A defense that came in ranked ninth in the NFL gave up a season-high in yards for the second straight week, with the Redskins going for 478 after Green Bay finished with 451.
Promising rookie linebacker Leonard Floyd exited with a concussion for the second time this season. The No. 9 overall pick, he was carted off from the sideline with a towel over his head in the second quarter, adding to an already long list of concerns for the Bears.
With his speed and athleticism, the 6-foot-6 Floyd is tied for second on the team with seven sacks. But questions about his durability linger.
He had surgery on both shoulders at Georgia. Floyd was slowed by hamstring and calf injuries this season. He suffered a concussion in a scary collision against the New York Giants last month, and he might have to miss the final game.
Meanwhile, quarterback Matt Barkley had his worst game. He threw five interceptions to match the second-highest total in franchise history - the most by a Chicago quarterback since Cutler threw five against San Francisco in 2009. Barkley has been picked off eight times over the past two games. That gives him 12 interceptions and eight touchdowns over six appearances and five starts. It's fair to wonder if he's playing his way out of Chicago just when it looked like he was making a case for a roster spot with the Bears or another team next season.
''I think I was standing in my way today, just in my own head, of trying to do too much and trying to win the game when we were down,'' Barkley said. ''You just gotta treat it as a 0-0 game, make smart decisions with the ball and give our guys a chance to win.''
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