Forget the play-calling, the audibles, and any perceived rift between Brett Favre and Brad Childress.
The way defensive end Jared Allen sees it, the veteran Vikings defense is the biggest reason Minnesota lost Monday night in Chicago and thereby failed to earn a chance to move closer to a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.
"Defensively, I put this all on us," Allen said after the 36-30 overtime loss to a Bears team that had shown few signs of life in recent weeks. "Defensively, we did not make enough plays. We didn't tackle or stop the run like we were supposed to. It's on everybody. It's not one person or one call."
The woeful Bears offense that ranked 24th in the league heading into the game raced out to a 16-0 lead at halftime, and Jay Cutler threw four TD passes in the game to lead Chicago to a stunning upset and keep the Vikings in their current slide.
For all that's been made out of the Childress-Favre relationship, the Vikings' defense has been every bit as responsible for three losses in the last four games. The Vikings have given up 92 points combined in losses at Arizona, Carolina and Chicago.
"There's really no explanation for the way we played over the past couple of weeks," said safety Madieu Williams. "We have to go back to the drawing board."
Chicago's Devin Aromashodu, who had only 198 yards receiving in 14 career games before Monday night, caught seven passes for 150 yards, including the 39-yard game-winning TD in overtime against Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield.
"Terrible," Winfield said after the game. "I need to get right. I don't know what it is. I'm giving up too many big plays, missing tackles. I need to get right."
Meanwhile, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman could miss the season finale against Detroit after breaking his ribs Monday night.
Steelers. Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu may not be ready to play Sunday in Miami.
Polamalu, out for the last six games and most of a seventh with a left knee injury, began running in a straight line only Monday. He has yet to begun cutting, turning or twisting, moves needed to play in a game.
Receiver Hines Ward is expected to play despite having two injured hamstrings.
Saints. New Orleans defensive end Bobby McCray was arrested early yesterday and charged with driving while intoxicated and other counts, police said.
A police spokesman said McCray, 28, was stopped by an officer who saw him speeding about 4:30 a.m. He was booked into Orleans Parish Prison, then released on his own recognizance around 7 a.m.
This season, playing as a backup, McCray has appeared in all 15 games and has 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
Falcons. Atlanta signed former Baltimore Ravens kicker Steve Hauschka because Matt Bryant suffered a hamstring injury in Sunday's win over Buffalo.