To start the second half at TCF Bank Stadium, the Minnesota Vikings were set to receive the second half kickoff from the Chicago Bears with the score tied, 3-3. Jay Feely kicked it short again to avoid Cordarrelle Patterson, and Joe Banyard took the ball to the Minnesota 35-yard line for the Vikings to start their first drive of the second half. Unfortunately, on the second play of the drive (following a drop by Greg Jennings), and Bridgewater's next pass went off of the hands of Patterson and into the hands of Bears' defensive back Kyle Fuller. Fuller was originally ruled to have returned the interception for a touchdown, but replay showed that he was touched down at the Minnesota 9-yard line, giving the Bears a first-and-goal.
Despite being put in a bad spot, the Vikings' defense came up big, as they forced the Bears to settle for a field goal attempt. The officials initially ruled that Jay Cutler had hit Alshon Jeffery for a 7-yard touchdown pass, but after it was reviewed, the call was reversed. (And quite rightly, as Jeffery didn't even come close to getting two feet in bounds on the play.) Feely was good from 25 yards out on the field goal attempt, and the Bears took a 6-3 lead with just over thirteen minutes remaining in the quarter.
Minnesota started their next drive from their own 20-yard line following a touchback, and picked up a first down thanks to a couple of carries by Matt Asiata. And then. . .
Adam Thielen happened.
Yes, Adam Thielen.
First, Bridgewater found Thielen for 22 yards on a 3rd-and-9 play to put the Vikings into Chicago territory, and on the next play, the pair connected on a deep ball where Thielen was wide open for a 44-yard score. Seriously, Thielen didn't have a Bear within five yards of him. It's the first receiving touchdown of Thielen's career (he had one earlier this year on a blocked punt against the Carolina Panthers), and the Blair Walsh extra point gave the Vikings a 10-6 lead.
The Vikings kicked off on the next play from the 50, thanks to a penalty on Kyle Fuller on the Thielen touchdown. The Bears started their drive from their own 18-yard line after the Marc Mariani return. On the second play of the drive, Cutler found Dante Rosario for a 22-yard gain to put the Bears near midfield. A couple of plays later, Cutler found Alshon Jeffery to put the Bears into Minnesota territory at the 33. The Bears then had a couple of negative yardage plays, but managed to get themselves to a 4th-and-2 situation from the Minnesota 25, and called on Jay Feely for another field goal attempt. The veteran pushed the 43-yard attempt wide to the right, and the Vikings got the ball back at their own 33-yard line, holding a 10-6 lead.
Two runs by Matt Asiata gave the Vikings a first down, and a pass to Asiata put the Vikings into Chicago territory. Bridgewater hit Greg Jennings for a nice conversion on third down to keep the drive going to the Chicago 43. A sack of Bridgewater by Christian Jones brought up another third down situation, and the Vikings couldn't convert. Jeff Locke was called on for a punt, and he pinned the Bears at their own 12-yard line with just under two minutes left in the quarter.
The drive started with a sack by Corey Wootton on Cutler inside the Chicago 10, but Cutler scrambled for 15 yards and a first down, and as we move to the fourth quarter, the Bears are looking at 1st-and-10 from their own 24-yard line.
We're heading to the final quarter of the 2014 regular season, ladies and gentlemen, and the Minnesota Vikings hold a 10-6 lead over their division rivals from Chicago. Can the Vikings hold on and finish the season with a victory?