With everything to play for, facing a Philadelphia Eagles' team which knew going in it essentially had little to gain by winning, the Bears realistically couldn't have wished for more.
Then that old axiom proved true once again. "Be careful what you wish for.''
Not even the return of Lance Briggs to bolster a struggling defense could save them from the 54-11 onslaught that would follow. Now, instead of having essentially a week off to rest up for the playoffs as NFC Central champs, they'll be forced to play for their lives Sunday vs. a Packers team that must be shocked to be getting a reprieve.
"Everybody was in tune with what was happening," said cornerback Tim Jennings, after the 9-6 Eagles surged to a 21-0 first-quarter lead and never looked back, chewing up the defense for 514 yards, 289 on the ground. "We knew the Packers and Lions had both lost.
"But they (the Eagles) started out fast and capitalized on opportunities. They got the momentum quick, jumped out on us early and never stopped. They didn't do anything we hadn't seen on film. Obviously we missed some tackles and didn't get off the field on third down.
"(LeSean) McCoy's shifty. He'll make you miss in open space. You have to gang tackle him."
McCoy, on the verge of winning the NFL rushing title with 1,476 yards, ran 18 times for 133 yards and 2 touchdowns. Nick Foles, whom Bears nose tackle Stephen Paea compared to the Steelers' QB Ben Roethlisberger, picked the secondary apart, going 21-for-25 for 230 yards and 2 scores.
Despite knowing they still must beat Dallas next week, Philadelphia was the aggressors from the start, dismantling a Bears defense Dick Butkus and Mike Singletary would surely disown.
"No excuses. We got beat," said defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff. "There's not much to really say. "Today obviously we didn't get it done. Thank God we have next week. You can sit here and beat yourself up and talk about how bad it is, get in a funk and Green Bay can come in and do the same thing.
"You just have to put it behind you and move on."
At least the Bears won't have to wonder about a play here or there that might have spelled the difference. They were crushed in this one from the start, as the Eagles erased the sting of last week's 48-30 pratfall in Minnesota by scoring on their first three possessions.
It would only get worse from there.
"We just couldn't make tackles," said rookie linebacker Jonathan Bostic. "They played better than us all around.
"We weren't paying attention to the other games. We just worry about us."
Based on the sorry performance they put on before the eyes of the nation, these Bears clearly have a lot to worry about. Because by the time the gun mercifully sounded no one was happier than the Bears, the team who had everything to play for -- yet responded with absolutely nothing.