Holding a 3-0 lead after one quarter of play, the Chicago Bears started the second quarter of their NFC North battle against the Minnesota Vikings with a 1st-and-10 from their own 26-yard line. The Bears started things out with a handoff to Tarik Cohen, who weaved his way through the defense for 11 yards and a first down. Mitchell Trubisky then tried to throw one deep for Taylor Gabriel, but Anthony Harris went up and intercepted the ball for the Vikings! That gave the Vikings the ball at their own 32-yard line, and gave them a turnover to answer the one that ended the Vikings’ possession in the first quarter.
Unfortunately, the Vikings couldn’t do anything with it, as a 1-yard run by Latavius Murray was sandwiched between a pair of Kirk Cousins incompletions. Matt Wile came in to punt the ball away, and Cohen called for the fair catch at the Chicago 17-yard line.
The Bears quickly picked up a first down on a pass from Trubisky to Allen Robinson, and then Jordan Howard picked up a decent gain on the ensuing first down. An incompletion on second down gave the Bears a 3rd-and-5 from their own 34, and Trubisky found Taylor Gabriel to move the chains. Trubisky then escaped another sack to pick up decent yards on first down to get the ball near midfield, and then scrambled again into Minnesota territory at the 39-yard line.
A couple of carries from Jordan Howard moved the chains, as well as moved the football down to the Minnesota 27. Howard then carried the ball inside the 20, and then Trubisky carried the ball to the 10 to give the Bears a first-and-goal. A holding penalty on Chicago moved the Bears back ten yards, but it didn’t matter. Trubisky rolled to his right and found rookie Anthony Miller in the front corner of the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown in front of Holton Hill. The Bears then decided to go for two, and Trubisky found Josh Bellamy to convert it, making the score 11-0 with six minutes left in the half.
On the ensuing kickoff, Ameer Abdullah got his first return opportunity in purple, and he took the ball out to the 27-yard line to start the Vikings’ next drive. Cousins was nearly picked on a deflection on first down, but the ball fell to the turf incomplete. An attempted screen to Dalvin Cook lost five yards, and the Vikings found themselves facing third and long. Cousins then missed Adam Thielen on third down for Minnesota’s third three-and-out in four possessions. Wile came in to punt again, and Cohen returned it to the Chicago 36.
The Bears found themselves looking at 3rd-and-3 from their 43 after a pair of runs by Howard, and Trubisky found Gabriel near midfield to move the chains once again. A short pass to Cohen took the ball to the Minnesota 40 at the two-minute warning. After the break, a short pass to Taylor Gabriel was stopped by Eric Wilson, but Wilson was then flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for. . .something. Nobody really seems to know what happened.
A run by Gabriel was then stopped for a loss by Harrison Smith, and a short run by Howard brought up 3rd-and-9 from the Minnesota 24. Chicago couldn’t convert, and the Bears brought Cody Parkey in for his second field goal try of the night, this one a 41-yard attempt. Parkey put it through, and the Bears extended their lead to 14-0 with under a minute left in the quarter.
The Vikings got the ball back at their own 25 following a touchback, and they pushed their way down the field. A pair of passes from Cousins to Adam Thielen picked up a first down, and Cousins then hit a short pass to Stefon Diggs that he turned into a big gain down to the Chicago 32-yard line. But, with the Vikings in field goal range, Cousins tried to go deep for. . .somebody. . .and threw the ball right to Chicago safety Adrian Amos for an interception to end the half.
As you’d expect, the offensive stats for the Vikings are pretty damn ugly, though they’re inflated a bit by the late rally at the end of the half. Cousins has completed just 7-of-13 passes for 57 yards and an interception. Diggs has two grabs for 33 yards, while Thielen has two catches for 18 yards. Dalvin Cook has a pair of receptions that have netted zero yards, and Kyle Rudolph has one six-yard reception.
It hasn’t been much better on the ground, as Dalvin Cook has five carries for 15 yards (and one costly fumble), while Latavius Murray has picked up just five yards on his four carries.
It’s been ugly thus far, folks, and the Bears get the ball coming out of the locker room at halftime, holding a 14-0 lead. Can the Vikings finally get it together and mount a comeback in this one?