To start the final game of the 2014 regular season, the Minnesota Vikings won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, meaning that the Chicago Bears got the football first. Blair Walsh got things started the way he usually does. . .with a touchback, meaning the Bears got to start at their own 20-yard line. The Bears got a first down thanks to three carries by Matt Forte (while having to burn a time out before a 3rd-and-1 play), but a couple of Bears penalties and a nice play on a screen by Audie Cole forced a punt. Marcus Sherels called for the fair catch at the 20, and that's where the Vikings' drive started.
The Minnesota drive started with a false start penalty on Rhett Ellison, but a completion from Teddy Bridgewater to Charles Johnson got the Vikings a first down, and a 19-yard run by Matt Asiata. . .yes, all at the same time. . .got the Vikings into Chicago territory. After an offensive pass interference penalty against Johnson, a big scramble by Bridgewater helped to keep the drive alive. Bridgewater appeared to have a 35-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings on what would have been an incredible catch, but replay showed that the ball hit the turf before the veteran could pull it in, negating the score. The Vikings later converted a first down on a pass to Jarius Wright, but could not get any closer. Minnesota called on Blair Walsh for a 37-yard field goal attempt, which he converted to give Minnesota an early 3-0 lead.
Walsh kicked a little shorter than normal on the ensuing kickoff, and Bears' return man Marc Mariani could not get the ball back to the 15-yard line, with the Vikings stopping him at the Chicago 14. The Bears got a first down on a pass from Jay Cutler to Josh Morgan, and converted another third down on a pass from Cutler to Martellus Bennett. The Chicago drive stalled at midfield after a near-interception by Andrew Sendejo, and the punt from Pat O'Donnell was downed at the Minnesota 8, which is where the Vikings will start their next drive.
After one quarter of play, the Minnesota Vikings lead the Chicago Bears by a score of 3-0. Come join us for the second quarter of play!