HOUSTON - Faced with one last chance to make the playoffs, the Chicago Bears blew it.
Andre Johnson had two touchdowns and the Houston Texans got a 31-24 win over the Bears yesterday to knock them out of the playoff picture.
The Bears (9-7) needed a win to keep any postseason hopes alive. The Vikings beat the Giants to take the NFC North title; Chicago could have still moved into the wild-card spot with a win.
"Our team failed today," coach Lovie Smith said. "Overall, our team didn't play well enough ... this year to accomplish our goals. It's kind of as simple as that."
Long out of the playoff picture themselves, the Texans were determined to win this one to finish with their second straight 8-8 record. They were desperate for a big finale after an embarrassing loss to Oakland last week.
"Our whole thing was to ruin their season," Houston's Mario Williams said.
Johnson had touchdown catches of 43 and 3 yards and rebounded from last week's two-catch performance with 10 receptions for 148 yards.
It was his NFL-record seventh game this season with at least 10 catches and his eighth 100-yard game. His 1,575 yards this season are the most for a receiver since 2003.
The Bears entered the game still in playoff contention after two straight overtime wins. But yesterday, they saw their 10-0 lead evaporate with 21 straight points by the Texans and never led again.
"That first drive of course was good, but it seemed like there was a lull in the middle of the game where we haven't been able to be as productive as we need to," Smith said.
Trailing by a touchdown, Chicago had a chance to get the ball back late in the fourth quarter when Steve Slaton fumbled and the Bears recovered. Coach Gary Kubiak challenged the call and it was overturned, so the Texans retained possession.
Slaton, a product of Conwell-Egan High, scored his team-rookie-record ninth rushing touchdown a few plays later to stretch Houston's lead to 31-17.