The Minnesota Vikings had a bye week to prepare for their huge Sunday Night Football showdown at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears. They certainly didn’t look like they had taken advantage of the time.
Thanks in large part to an incredibly ugly offensive performance, the Vikings failed to take advantage of their opportunity to seize control of the NFC North, falling to the Bears in Chicago by a final score of 25-20.
The Bears got on the board first in this one, courtesy of a 33-yard field goal by Cody Parkey. That 3-0 lead represented all of the scoring in the first quarter, in part because Kirk Cousins missed a wide-open Stefon Diggs for what would have been a 33-yard touchdown pass. Shortly after that, Dalvin Cook fumbled at the Chicago 15, ending the scoring threat for the Vikings.
Chicago got the game’s first touchdown, as Mitchell Trubisky found Anthony Miller for an 18-yard scoring pass midway through the second quarter, and the Bears scored a two-point conversion to make it 11-0. The home team got another field goal from Parkey late in the second quarter to make it 14-0 at halftime, as a last-second Vikings drive before the break was squelched by an interception by Adrian Amos.
The Vikings attempted to close the gap, as they got a pair of 36-yard field goals from Dan Bailey. . .one in the third quarter and one in the fourth quarter. . .to cut the score to 14-6. The Vikings’ defense kept forcing stops, but the offense couldn’t do anything with it, and Cousins put the final nail in the coffin for the evening when he threw one that was intercepted by Eddie Jackson and taken to the end zone for a pick-six, making the score 20-6, and the Bears got a 2-point conversion from Trubisky to Adam Shaheen to make it 22-6.
Minnesota did respond on the next drive, as the Vikings got a 13-yard touchdown pass from Cousins to Aldrick Robinson to cut the deficit to 22-12. The Vikings had to go for two, and Cousins. . .after a roughing the passer penalty on the initial attempt. . .found Adam Thielen to make it a one-score game at 22-14.
The Bears got the ball back and got Parkey in a position to convert another field goal, this one a 48-yarder, to again make it a two-score game at 25-14. Parkey missed four kicks the week before, but he was perfect on the evening in this one and was a huge difference in the game.
Minnesota got down the field quickly and into the end zone again, with Cousins finding Stefon Diggs on a 5-yard touchdown pass to cut the score to 25-20. The Vikings had to go for two again, and Cousins’ pass was knocked down at the line to keep it a five-point game.
The Vikings attempted an onside kick, but the Bears jumped on it and were able to take to the victory formation, securing their win and taking a stranglehold on the NFC North.
Cousins’ numbers look significantly better than he actually played on Sunday night, as he completed 30-of-46 passes for 262 yards, along with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The interceptions were killers, as one wiped out a potential scoring opportunity and the other was returned for the pick-six that ultimately made the difference in the game.
As far as the receiving column goes, Diggs led the team with 13 catches for 126 yards and a score. Adam Thielen had seven catches for 66 yards, and went over the 1,000-yard mark on the season. No other Viking had more than two catches on the evening.
The running game was a complete non-factor for the Vikings, as Dalvin Cook carried the ball nine times for just 12 yards, and Latavius Murray had just five yards on four carries.
The defense played relatively well, despite the lack of offensive production for most of the evening. Anthony Harris had two interceptions on the evening, but the Vikings could only net three points off of those two turnovers. The Vikings actually won the turnover battle on the evening, but their turnovers were much more costly than Chicago’s were.
The Bears move their record to 7-3, and they’ll have a quick turnaround as they’ll face the Detroit Lions in the early game on Thanksgiving Thursday. The Vikings fall to 5-4-1, and will have a second straight Sunday Night Football contest next week as they will host the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Minnesota Vikings fall on the road to the Chicago Bears by a final score of 25-20. Thank you to everybody that got their coverage of this week’s game right here at The Daily Norseman!