When word broke that the Chicago Bears defense was going to be without Akiem Hicks and Roquan Smith, it felt like the Minnesota Vikings had a golden opportunity to get out of the nightmare that is Soldier Field with a rare win, go to 3-1 in the NFC North, and end the first quarter on a high note.
And when the Vikings knocked out QB Mitchell Trubisky on the first series and recovered a fumble in Bears territory, it really felt like things might be looking up for the Vikings.
Backup Chase Daniel came in and picked apart the Vikings all day long, consistently moving the ball on the Vikes defense. On offense, Minnesota got less than nothing going until it was garbage time and the game was well in hand.
When it was over, the Bears had shackled and drawn the Vikings, hadn’t they, Mr. Springsteen?
Gray morning light spits through the shade
Another day older, closer to the grave
Closer to the grave and come the dawn
I woke up this morning shackled and drawn
Shackled and drawn, shackled and drawn
Pick up the rock son, carry it on
I’m trudging through the dark in a world gone wrong
I woke up this morning shackled and drawn
The SMR that piles up a lot of meaningless words in garbage time follows.
Blue Chip Stocks
You’re kidding, right? You can’t give blue chips when you go to the circus to watch a clown show. You get popcorn, a large pop, and look at the unfolding drama that is about to his this team, because winter is coming, kids.
Olabisi Johnson, WR: On a day when most stocks were selling for pennies on the dollar, Johnson stepped up late and ended up catching four passes for 35 yards. A ray of sunshine in an otherwise overcast and dreary day.
Mike Zimmer: These games are becoming tired refrains for the Vikings against teams that are even remotely talented. It’s a tired script, and I am 100% sure it’s one we’ll read and see played out again and again this season. Slow starts, the Vikings fall behind, they look lost for at least one quarter or more on defense before they seem to figure things out. All the while, the offense can’t find their ass with both hands, can generate no production, and everything looks completely out of sync. Every time one of these games happen, the head coach stands at the podium and vows to figure things out, yet every time the Vikings play a good team, nothing seems to be figured out. Today he got outcoached in all phases by Matt Nagy (again), the Vikings are now 0-2 in the division, and on a day when they had a big opportunity to get his team into the thick of the NFC North race, they came out flatter than five day old Coke and dropped into last place in the division. It’s unacceptable for a team with this much talent. Oh, this is interesting:
So @matthewkrier asked an interesting question: what's Zimmer's record against winning teams?— Eric Thompson (@eric_j_thompson) September 30, 2019
I looked it up. Including playoffs, the #Vikings are 13-27 (.325) against teams that had a winning record coming into the game.https://t.co/zTWqhxKvoQ
It’s actually 13-28 when you factor in today’s game. I’m sick of it.
The offensive line. I’m sick of them, too. A sub-par to bad offensive line has been a common refrain during the Rick Spielman tenure as GM. I don’t know why the VIkings can’t fix their offensive line, yet here we are, eight years into Spielman’s tenure as being ‘the guy’, and ‘the line’, save for maybe Brian O’Neill and eventually Garrett Bradbury, is another dud. It should not take eight years to come up with AT LEAST a league average offensive line. Ridiculous. Kirk Cousins took six sacks today, there was no running game, and the Bears defense was playing in the Vikings backfield all day long.
Kirk Cousins, QB: Cousins is in his what, eighth year? He is what he is at this point, and that is an average quarterback, at best. I have no faith in him being able to raise his game when it matters, and once again, when he had an opportunity to change his narrative today, he only reinforced it. Whenever the Vikings need Kirk Cousins to step up and carry the team on a day when nothing seems to be working, he can’t.
You look at his statline and you think ‘hey, 27/36 for 233 yards is pretty good.’
No, it’s not. He had 49 yards passing at halftime, and seemingly had no ability to make a read, throw the ball, and keep the offense moving. No, he had no help from the offensive line, as he was sacked six times. But he also held on to the ball too long, checked down, and fumbled twice more again today. Once again, when the game was out of reach, the Vikings moved the ball, piled up yards, and scored a meaningless touchdown.
Buy: Everson Griffen fumble recovery on Chicago’s initial drive. The Vikings needed to start out fast today, and on the first drive of the game it looked like they might do just that. Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky rolled out to his left, got caught from behind by Danielle Hunter, who sacked Trubisky while causing him to fumble. Everson Griffen picked it up and was forced out of bounds at the Bears 32. Trubisky was helped off the field, and was knocked out of the game.
Sell: Defensive holding that negated the Everson Griffen fumble recovery. But it was all for naught. Anthony harris was called for defensive holding, giving the bears an automatic first down. So instead of the Vikings knocking out the starting QB and getting the ball in Bears territory, Chicago goes on a 14 play, 75 yard touchdown drive that eats up over 8 minutes of the first quarter, engineered by backup QB Chase Daniel. The drive ended with a Daniel to Tarik Cohen touchdown.
Buy: The theory of deferring. If you win the toss and defer, you are playing the odds of putting our stronger unit out on the field first, hopefully getting a lead at halftime, and then getting the ball to open the second half. If you have a strong defense, it’s a good theory.
Sell: Deferring. This theory sucks for the Vikings, at least against good teams. Against the Packers, Green Bay went 75 yards in a mere four plays. Against the Bears, Chicago...using their second string QB, mind you...went 75 yards in 15 plays, eating up more than half the time off the clock in the first quarter. Their second drive went 16 plays, for 72 yards, and the Bears kicked a field goal. Half over. But, wait, the Vikes get the ball to start the third quarter, and a good drive that ends in a TD to open the half, and we have a brand new ballgame. Yeah, Cousins fumbled on the first play, the Bears recovered, and the game was essentially over.
Buy: CJ Ham. I really like C.J. Ham. I think he’s a good fullback, and does his job well.
Sell: CJ Ham as primary targeted receiver over Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. I don’t like him as the main guy targeted by the quarterback while meaningful football is being played, though. Call me crazy that way.
Fullback CJ Ham has been targetted four times so far -- more than Stefon Diggs (2) and Adam Thielen (1) combined.— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) September 29, 2019
Sure am glad the Denver Mafia came in and fixed the offense.