Minnesota Vikings' quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has been much maligned over the past couple of weeks, largely due to the small number of touchdown passes he had thrown over the first 13 games of the 2015 NFL season.
He went and responded with what might have been the best game of his NFL career.
Bridgewater accounted for five touchdowns on Sunday afternoon at TCF Bank Stadium, four of them through the air, as the Minnesota Vikings put the boots to the Chicago Bears, winning by a score of 38-17.
After forcing Chicago into a three-and-out to start the game, Minnesota got on the board first after an impressive drive. The Vikings marched 93 yards in 13 plays, concluding the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Stefon Diggs to stake the home team to a 7-0 lead. The Vikings then added to their lead on the second play of the second quarter, as Blair Walsh bounced a 53-yard field goal attempt off the left upright and through to give the Vikings a 10-0 advantage.
Chicago finally came up with an answer in the second quarter, as Jay Cutler found Alshon Jeffery in the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown pass, making the score 10-7. The drive was keyed by a face mask penalty on Danielle Hunter on a play where Cutler appeared to be stopped for no gain.
Minnesota answered with another score of their own on another very nice drive, as Bridgewater found Jerick McKinnon for a 17-yard touchdown pass that saw McKinnon make a bunch of defenders miss. Surprisingly, it was the first career touchdown for the second-year running back, and it gave the Vikings a 17-7 lead going into the locker room at halftime.
The Bears recovered a surprise onside kick to start the second half, but Cutler was the victim of a Brian Robison strip/sack a few plays later, giving the Vikings the ball near midfield. After a nice third down conversion from Bridgewater to Jarius Wright, Bridgewater found Diggs again for what turned into a 33-yard catch and run for a score. That put the Vikings ahead 24-7 with a little over ten minutes left in the third quarter.
Robbie Gould connected on a 51-yard field goal attempt late in the third quarter to cut the Minnesota lead to 24-10. Bridgewater then added to what might have been the best game of his career with a 13-yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 31-10. The Bears narrowed the gap a little bit midway through the fourth quarter with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Matt Forte to make the score 31-17. Then, with time winding down, Bridgewater found Zach Line for his fourth touchdown pass of the day, and the Blair Walsh extra point gave us the final score of 38-17.
Looking at the stat sheet, Teddy Bridgewater was outstanding. He finished his day completing 17-of-20 passes for 231 yards and four touchdowns. Stefon Diggs was the recipient of two of those touchdown throws, and Jerick McKinnon was the Vikings' leading receiver with four receptions for 76 yards. Adrian Peterson only played one series in the second half after suffering an ankle injury near the end of the first half, and finished with 63 yards on 18 carries. Bridgewater added the fourth quarter rushing touchdown as well.
For the Bears, Jay Cutler's day looked alright on the stat sheet. He completed 26-of-37 passes for 231 yards, with two touchdown passes and an interception (collected by Justin Trattou in the fourth quarter). Zach Miller and Matt Forte each had six receptions for 57 yards, while Alshon Jeffery (who was limited in the second half after an injury) had just the one ten-yard touchdown catch on the afternoon. Forte led the Bears in rushing with 46 yards on eight carries.
The Vikings move to 9-5 on the season, and all but assure themselves of a trip to the 2015 NFL playoffs. They will host the New York Giants on Sunday Night Football in Week 16. The Bears fall to 5-9 on the season, and will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their final road game of the season.
The Minnesota Vikings get a big win over the Chicago Bears in Week 15, with a final score of 38-17. Thanks to everybody that got their coverage of this week's game right here at The Daily Norseman!