Leading the Minnesota Vikings by a score of 7-0 after the first quarter, the Chicago Bears started the second quarter with an attempt at some trickery, as they had the punt team on the field and then tried to run the offense back out there on a 4th-and-1. They didn’t get the play off, however, and were called for a delay of game. Pat O’Donnell did actually punt the ball away on the next play, and Brandon Zylstra called for the fair catch at his own 12-yard line.
After an ugly first quarter, Kirk Cousins led the Minnesota offense back out onto the field again, looking for the initial first down of the afternoon for the purple. Adam Thielen got his first touch of the day on an end-around, and was taken down for no gain. A short pass to Dalvin Cook also went for no gain to bring up another third down, and Cousins was sacked for the second time on the afternoon, this time by Khalil Mack. For the fourth time in four possessions, Matt Wile punted the ball away, and Tarik Cohen lost a lot of yardage, as he juked his way to a loss. The Bears also picked up a 15-yard penalty on the play, which made it an 82-yard shift in field position, starting the Bears at their own 15-yard line.
Mitchell Trubisky started the next drive with a short pass to Taylor Gabriel, and then connected with Trey Burton for a Chicago first down. Trubisky then hit Javon Wims for a short gain on first down, and a pass to Burton was stopped by Mackensie Alexander for no gain to bring up 3rd-and-6. The Bears were then called for delay of game to make it 3rd-and-11, and had to burn a timeout to prevent a second one. Trubisky then overthrew Bellamy for what should have been a stop, but Stephen Weatherly was called for roughing the passer to give the Bears a fresh set of downs.
Cohen then took a handoff for a gain of seven, and suddenly the Bears were near midfield. Jordan Howard then took a handoff for a gain of 11 into Minnesota territory at the 44. Howard then carried for a gain of four, and Trubisky threw incomplete on second down. On third down, Trubisky fired one deep for Taylor Gabriel, who made an incredible diving catch to take the Bears all the way to the 1-yard line. On the next play, Jordan Howard took it over the goal line for his second touchdown of the day, and Cody Parkey bounced the extra point off the right upright to keep the lead at 13-0.
Parkey’s kickoff resulted in a touchback, giving the Vikings’ offense the ball at their own 25-yard line to start their fifth possession. Cousins started the drive by hitting Adam Thielen for a 9-yard gain, and then Dalvin Cook was stopped for no gain to bring up 3rd-and-1. Cook managed to grind out three yards on third down to move the sticks for the Vikings for the first time today. Cousins attempted to go deep for Aldrick Robinson, but overthrew it badly to bring up second down. Cook picked up a few on second down to bring up another third down, and after Cousins scrambled for a first down. . .Mike Remmers was called for holding to wipe it out and bring up 3rd-and-16. Cousins found Rudolph for a gain of nine, but that wasn’t nearly enough and Matt Wile came in to punt once again. Cohen called for a fair catch at his own 11 to set up the Bears for their next possession.
Jordan Howard started the drive for the Bears with a five-yard gain, and was then stopped for a short gain to bring up a 3rd-and-3. Trubisky tried to connect with Josh Bellamy, but Mackensie Alexander broke up the pass to force the three-and-out. Pat O’Donnell came on to punt the ball away, and Brandon Zylstra called for the fair catch at the Minnesota 36-yard line.
Cousins started the drive with a pass to Kyle Rudolph for five yards, and then Cousins hit Stefon Diggs, who made an insane catch to move the chains at the Minnesota 49. Cook then took the ball into Chicago territory for the first time today with a five-yard run, and Cousins then hit Rudolph for no gain. On third down, Cousins tried to go deep for Thielen, and while the pass fell incomplete, Bears’ safety Deon Bush was called for a personal foul for grabbing Thielen’s face mask to move the sticks to the Chicago 31.
Cousins then connected with Diggs for a gain of five, and the Vikings used a timeout. Cousins then tried to connect with Cook, but the pass fell incomplete to make it 3rd-and-5 from the Chicago 27. Cousins threw one in the general area of Thielen, but it fell incomplete as it wasn’t really close. Out came Dan Bailey for a 45-yard field goal attempt, and he blasted it through to cut the deficit to 13-3 with under a minute left. That was where we ended, as the Bears just let the time tick off the clock to end the half.
As you’d expect, it was an ugly first half offensively for the Vikings. Cousins completed 10-of-15 passes, but for just 44 yards. It’s been that bad. Kyle Rudolph and Stefon Diggs each have four catches, and they’ve gained 19 and 17 yards, respectively. Thielen has one catch for nine yards, and Cook as a catch for a one-yard loss.
On the ground, it’s been all Dalvin Cook, and there hasn’t been much there. He’s carried the ball seven times for 19 yards in the first half.
With the Eagles leading their game against the Redskins at halftime, the Vikings aren’t going to get any help there. They’d better get it together in the second half if they want to punch their ticket to the postseason, as they trail the Bears 13-3 after the first half at U.S. Bank Stadium.