1st Down: Let's address the elephant in the room right away--Josh Dobbs was horrendous last night against the Chicago Bears. From my perch in US Bank Stadium section 215, I saw all the carnage play out--22/32, 185 yards, 1 TD, 4 INT, 2 sacks. An absolute nightmare. It was abundantly clear that whether due to his unfamiliarity with the scheme or the scheme (downfield passing) not playing to his draw-it-up-in-the-dirt scrambling strengths, his inability to push the ball deep down the field was crippling the offense. Sure, not every mistake in the contest was his to bear, but a team isn't going to win many NFL-caliber contests with QB play like that.
2nd Down: I was a little surprised--thought not out-and-out-shocked--to hear that HC Kevin O'Connell had contemplated a mid-game QB switch to Nick Mullens. Where does that leave the Minnesota Vikings now? Well, that largely depends on what direction KOC decides to go during the upcoming bye week. Do they roll with Dobbs and morph the offense to his unique skill set? Do they hand the reins to Mullens, who knows the offense best but has severely limited athletic upside? Does Jaren Hall get another shot? Everything seems to be on the table. Personally, I hope Dobbs gets at least one more opportunity (even if just a half of play) with Justin Jefferson--but as previously mentioned, QB play like what was seen against Da Bears simply isn't going to fly in any ongoing capacity for a team with playoff aspirations.
3rd Down: Not helping matters was the broken-record inability to run the ball. After Ty Chandler looked promising the week before, he got 4 carries for 8 yards. Mattison? 10 carries for 52 yards--a good average but nothing particularly impressive. Not only does this offense fail to pound the rock in traditional format, but they cannot execute a screen pass to save their lives. I truly believed that moving away from Dalvin Cook was going to help the rushing attack, but it has become clear that his big-play potential was the only thing even marginally keeping it afloat in 2022.
4th Down: The crying shame of it all? The magnificent Brian Flores defense has allowed one touchdown the last two entire contests--and lost both of them. Inconceivable. Had this defense been present for last year's offense, the MN trophy case might not be empty--but of course ifs and buts and candy and nuts and all that. With Flores almost certainly nabbing a HC job next year, it seems a crying shame to waste this unit.
XP: A lot of negativity surrounding this loss to the Bears, and richly deserved. Yet, this team still is right in the thick of the NFC Wild Card hunt. But now the likes of the Green Bay Packers (yuck), Los Angeles Rams, and Bucs/Falcons/Saints have to be fended off. A good time for a bye week to take a deep breath and gear up for the December stretch run.