Bears place Cutler, Forte on IR

The Chicago Bears placed quarterback Jay Cutler and running back

Matt Forte on injured reserve on Tuesday, meaning they will miss

the season finale at Minnesota this week.

The moves were hardly surprising given Chicago’s recent

struggles.

The Bears (7-8) have lost five straight since Cutler broke his

right thumb late in a win over San Diego on Nov. 20, and things

took another bad turn two weeks later when Forte sprained the

medial collateral ligament in his right knee against Kansas

City.

Cutler, who was scheduled to have surgically inserted pins

removed Tuesday, threw for 2,319 yards with 13 touchdowns and seven

interceptions.

Forte finished with 997 yards rushing and 490 receiving and was

selected to his first Pro Bowl hours after being placed on IR. He’s

the first Chicago running back to make it since Neal Anderson

following the 1991 season.

With Cutler and Forte on IR, the Bears elevated defensive tackle

Jordan Miller from the practice squad and signed guard Mansfield

Wrotto.

Chicago also announced on its website that rookie offensive

lineman Gabe Carimi had surgery Tuesday on his right knee to repair

connective tissue around his patella and medial collateral

ligament.

The first-round pick started the first two games before injuring

his knee and briefly returned to practice before having an

arthroscopic procedure on the knee in November.

He is expected to be ready before the start of training

camp.

Cutler’s injury sent Chicago into a tailspin, knocking out of

contention a team that appeared on its way to the playoffs after

last year’s run to the NFC title game.

The Bears were eliminated with a loss at Green Bay on Sunday,

but they were just about out of it by the time they arrived at

Lambeau Field.

One reason was the lack of a reliable backup quarterback.

Chicago put in a waiver claim on Kyle Orton after Cutler went

down, but Kansas City had priority and got him. The Bears wound up

signing Josh McCown, who was coaching quarterbacks at a North

Carolina high school, and passed on going after Donovan McNabb

after Minnesota let him go.

Meanwhile, backup Caleb Hanie struggled and went 0-4 as the

starter. McCown got the nod against the Packers and performed

better, throwing for 242 yards with a touchdown and two

interceptions in his first NFL appearance since 2009, but the Bears

saw their playoff hopes vanish in a 35-21 loss.

A healthy Forte might have made a difference, but his season

ended when he took a hit to the knee against Kansas City. It didn’t

help that backup Marion Barber committed costly mistakes in losses

to the Chiefs and Denver the following week.

He had a touchdown catch in a 10-3 loss to Kansas City called

off because he lined up illegally, forcing Chicago to settle for a

field goal, and things only got worse for him the following

week.

Barber got pushed out of bounds on a run near the end of

regulation, helping give Denver enough time to tie the game. In

overtime, his fumble led to the winning field goal