To start this Monday Night Football matchup at Soldier Field, the Chicago Bears won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half, giving the Minnesota Vikings the football first. Cordarrelle Patterson did not get an opportunity to return the kickoff from Connor Barth, as it went through the end zone for a touchback, giving the Vikings the ball at their own 25-yard line. Sam Bradford got things started with a nice 16-yard pass to Stefon Diggs to get the Vikings their initial first down of the evening, and then found Adam Thielen for another 12 yards into Chicago territory at the 44. Matt Asiata then picked up five yards to the 39, but the drive stalled out there, and the Vikings brought Jeff Locke on to punt. Locke did his job, as his punt was downed by Audie Cole at the 8-yard line for the Bears' first drive.
Chicago picked up a quick first down on a pass from the returning Jay Cutler to Zach Miller, and then gave up a huge run to Jordan Howard, as he blasted over the left side and ran for 69 yards before Xavier Rhodes could chase him down at the Minnesota 13-yard line. The Vikings' defense managed to get things straight after that point, and the Bears brought Barth on for a 30-yard field goal attempt. Barth put it through the uprights, and the Bears staked themselves to an early 3-0 lead.
Barth's second kickoff got the same result as his first one, going through the end zone for a touchback and setting the Vikings up at their own 25-yard line. The Vikings could get nothing going on their second drive, and it concluded with Bradford getting sacked by Cornelius Washington for a three-yard loss. Locke came on to punt again after the three-and-out, and he launched one. Chicago's return man let the ball bounce, and that proved to be a mistake as the ball rolled all the way down to the 5-yard line. That really flipped the field for the Vikings.
Chicago couldn't get anything going on their second drive, and answered Minnesota's three-and-out with one of their own. Xavier Rhodes nearly got an interception to finish the drive, but couldn't haul it in. Chicago brought on Pat O'Donnell for a punt, and the ball went out of bounds, giving Minnesota great field position at the midfield stripe. Adam Thielen, who was back for the punt in the absence of Marcus Sherels, did not get an opportunity to return it.
On the second play of Minnesota's drive, Stefon Diggs got loose for what should have been an easy touchdown, but Bradford threw it just a little too far and it fell incomplete. Bradford then found Kyle Rudolph for seven yards to the Chicago 43, bring up a 4th-and-3, and the Vikings brought on Jeff Locke once again. The Vikings didn't get the same sort of luck this time, as Locke's punt went through the end zone for a touchback, giving Chicago the ball at their own 20-yard line.
Minnesota's defense stepped up once again, and forced Chicago into another three-and-out. They brought O'Donnell on to punt again, and Thielen didn't get much on the return, bringing it to the Minnesota 32 for the start of Minnesota's next drive. Asiata started the drive with his best run of the evening with a seven-yard gain on first down, but could only get two yards on the next two carries combined to give the Vikings another three-and-out. Locke came on for his fourth punt of the first quarter, and the Bears got decent field position at their own 26-yard line.
Jay Cutler started the next drive by connecting with Cameron Meredith on the Bears' first play, picking up 24 yards to midfield. As we move to the second quarter of play, the Bears are looking at 2nd-and-8 from the Minnesota 48-yard line.
We're through the first quarter of play at Soldier Field, and the Chicago Bears currently lead the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 3-0. Can the Vikings get it turned around in the second quarter of play? Come hang out with us and watch!