Bears dominate Vikings in Chicago
CHICAGO -- How bad was the Minnesota Vikings' offense Sunday? A defensive back was their leading rusher. The Vikings got a 48-yard run in the first quarter by safety Andrew Sendejo on a fake punt, which led to their only touchdown. They only reac...
CHICAGO - How bad was the Minnesota Vikings’ offense Sunday?
A defensive back was their leading rusher.
The Vikings got a 48-yard run in the first quarter by safety Andrew Sendejo on a fake punt, which led to their only touchdown. They only reached 200 yards of total offense in a 21-13 loss to Chicago at Soldier Field.
Nevertheless, Minnesota did have a chance to force overtime. But a wobbly pass by rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater with about 50 seconds left was picked off in the end zone by Ryan Mundy.
So how much time precisely was left when Bridgewater made the throw on second and 3 from the Bears’ 29? It wasn’t known since the game clocks were out during much of the game, including the final several minutes. Chicago did take over with what the officials said was 42 seconds remaining.
It all made Vikings coach Mike Zimmer want to curse. And he did.
“The clocks here are bull
(bleep),” Zimmer said. “The whole day, the whole thing was going out, so it’s just another thing. Excuse my language.”
Vikings center John Sullivan didn’t curse, but he got his point across.
“That shouldn’t be an issue that you face in this league with the amount of money that this league brings in,” he said. “The infrastructure should be working 100 percent.”
Bridgewater didn’t use the clock malfunction as an excuse. It was yet another learning day for the rookie, who, with the temperature 31 degrees at kickoff, played in sub-freezing weather for the first time.
Bridgewater completed 18 of 28 passes for 158 yards with one touchdown and an interception while rarely looking to throw downfield. He was having some success on the final drive with short passes when the Vikings took over with 2:03 left at their 34 and moved 47 yards in just over minute. That made it even more curious why he sailed one into the end zone.
“(I) started out getting the completions under the coverage, and for some reason I just felt that we wanted to take a shot down the field,” Bridgewater said.
Not much right went right for the Vikings (4-6) after they had moved the ball relatively well in two straight wins. They finished with 243 yards. That would have been a season low had it not been for Sendejo’s run, which set up Bridgewater’s 7-yard TD pass to tight end Rhett Ellison late in the first quarter for a 10-0 lead.
Sendejo accounted for half of Minnesota’s 96 rushing yards. Everybody else ran 15 times for 48 yards.
“We couldn’t get it going,” said running back Jerick McKinnon, who carried eight times for 38 yards. “Flat at times. It’s frustrating. We left a lot of yards out there on the field.”
Zimmer said the defense was just as much at fault. By being unable to get the Bears’ offense off the field, Chicago ran 74 plays to just 46 for Minnesota and converted 10 of 17 third downs.
“We didn’t tackle well,” Zimmer said. “We didn’t kick them out on third downs. We didn’t convert third downs. We didn’t run the ball.”
That about sums it up. The Vikings let the Bears (4-6) get well after they had given up 106 points in their previous two games against New England and Green Bay.
“Do I feel like we had them on their heels?” Sullivan said of when the Vikings led 10-0. “Did I feel like the crowd was turning on them? Yes.”
So more for that. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler, who was about to be booed out of town, ended up completing 31 of 43 passes for 330 yards and three touchdowns.
Minnesota’s 5-foot-10 Josh Robinson was beaten on all of them. He gave up six inches to Brandon Marshall, who gave the Bears a 14-10 lead on a 44-yard TD catch early in the second quarter and caught a 4-yarder midway through the fourth for a 21-10 advantage.
Robinson gave up five inches to Alshon Jeffery, who caught a 27-yarder early in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 10-7.
“I didn’t do a good enough job to help this team win,” Robinson said.
Not many Minnesota players did. The Vikings’ pass rush didn’t sack Cutler once.
Trailing 14-10, the Vikings did have a golden opportunity when safety Harrison Smith picked off Cutler late in the third quarter and returned it 52 yards to the Chicago 27. But the Vikings could muster no offense, and Blair Walsh missed a 38-yard field-goal try.
“It was an opportunity to have a momentum change,” McKinnon said. “Kind of just tells the story of how we played. We were flat.”
It looked like that might not be the case early. Walsh kicked a 50-yard field goal on the Vikings’ first drive and Zimmer went for the fake punt on their second on fourth and 2 from his 45.
Adam Thielen took a short snap and handed it to Sendejo, who rambled 48 yards down the left sideline to the Chicago 7, setting up Ellison’s touchdown.
“We’ve been practicing that for awhile,” Zimmer said.
The Vikings have been practicing plenty of other stuff, but much of it didn’t show up Sunday.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.
NOTES: Because of injuries, the Bears used a different combination of starters on the offensive line for the sixth game in a row. It was their seventh O-line combination of the season. ... Minnesota scored a first-quarter touchdown for the first time in six games. ... The game began in light snow flurries which abated by halftime. ... The Vikings suffered injuries to two wide receivers - Greg Jennings (ribs) and backup Darius Wright (hamstring). ... RB Matt Forte’s 32-yard run on the last play of the third quarter was the Bears’ longest rush of the season.
Chicago 21 Minnesota 13
Minnesota 10 0 0 3- 13
Chicago 0 14 0 7- 21
MIN-Walsh 50 yard field goal, 11:21.
MIN-Ellison 7 yard pass from Bridgewater (Walsh kick), 3:16.
CHI-Jeffery 27 yard pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 13:06.
CHI-Marshall 44 yard pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 2:49.
CHI-Marshall 4 yard pass from Cutler (Gould kick), 8:51.
MIN-Walsh 26 yard field goal, 4:04.
First Downs 10 24
Total Net Yards 243 468
Rushes-Yds 16-96 31-138
Passing 147 330
Sacked-Yds Lost 2-11 0-0
Comp-Att-Int 18-28-1 31-43-2
Punts 4-41.3 2-29.5
Punt Returns 0-0 3-17
Kickoff Returns 3-34 4-59
Interceptions Ret. 2-52 1-0
Penalties-Yards 2-18 7-60
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Time of Possession 21:22 38:38
RUSHING- MIN, Sendejo 1-48, McKinnon 8-38, C.Patterson 1-3, Felton 1-3, Bridgewater 4-2, Asiata 1-2. CHI, Forte 26-117, Cutler 5-21.
PASSING- MIN, Bridgewater 18-28-1-158. CHI, Cutler 31-43-2-330.
RECEIVING- MIN, Ce.Johnson 6-87, McKinnon 4-20, Asiata 3-12, C.Patterson 2-24, Ellison 1-7, C.Ford 1-4, G.Jennings 1-4. CHI, Jeffery 11-135, Marshall 7-90, Forte 6-58, Ma.Bennett 4-29, M.Wilson 2-11, Rosario 1-7.
MISSED FIELD GOALS- MIN, Walsh 1. CHI, Gould 1
Check back later, and read Monday's News Tribune, for an updated story.