The third quarter of play started for Vikings fans with the news that Christian Ponder would be out for the rest of the game with a concussion, putting Matt Cassel in at quarterback with Joe Webb as his backup.
The Bears got the ball coming out of the locker room, and wasted little time in finding the end zone, as it took them just two plays to cover 80 yards. After a Matt Forte run on first down, Chris Cook got beaten by Alshon Jeffery, and Josh McCown found him about thirty yards downfield. Jeffery did the rest from there, and it wound up being an 80-yard pitch-and-catch to put the Bears ahead by a score of 13-7.
Minnesota, behind Cassel, marched down the field, including a conversion on a 4th-and-1 by Adrian Peterson in Bears' territory to extend the drive. The Vikings got into a goal-to-go situation, but the Bears forced a stop and the Vikings had to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Blair Walsh to cut the Chicago lead to 13-10.
On that drive, Peterson went over the 100-yard mark for the game, putting him past Clinton Portis for 28th place on the NFL's all-time rushing list. Congratulations to AD on that achievement, and now we've got our eyes on 10,000 yards. Peterson needs 53 more yards in this one to reach that plateau.
On the Bears' next drive, they pushed into Minnesota territory again, but the Vikings moved them to a third-and-long situation. But it didn't faze Josh McCown, who dropped back and once again saw Alshon Jeffery one-on-one with Chris Cook, and again took advantage. McCown lofted it up and Jeffery made a great play to come down with it for a 46-yard touchdown reception to make the score 20-10. After getting beaten on the play, Cook was ejected for making contact with an official, making things tougher for an already short-handed Minnesota secondary.
The Vikings made a little bit of progress on their next drive, but wound up punting it away to put the Bears inside their own 20-yard line. But it didn't matter, as Josh blanking McCown continued to carve up the Minnesota defense, much the same as pretty much every other quarterback the Vikings have faced this season. A big gainer to Jeffery and another one to Matt Forte pushed the Bears back into Minnesota territory, and they're now looking at a 2nd-and-9 and the Minnesota 43-yard line.
It was a close game, but the Bears appear to be close to putting it away. What does the fourth quarter hold? Let's watch the last fifteen minutes and find out.