The Bears fall to 3-6 against NFC opponents, and they now have the worst record amongst the teams competing for a wild card spot. Needless to say, they need help to get out of the hole they did just about everything to dig themselves into.
The three things I noted the Bears should focus on Sunday were ball security, containing AP as best they can and getting off to a fast start. Let’s take a look at how they fared.
Looking back at the keys to victory for the Chicago Bears
For the Bears, ball security from now on is paramount to their success. Quarterback Josh McCown provided two close calls in the form of potential interceptions. Luckily, one was dropped and the other was negated by an offsides penalty. He did a good job of securing the ball and putting it in the right spots, throwing for 355 yards and two touchdowns on 23-of-36 passing. He did make a questionable decision when, trying to avoid a sack, he attempted to flip the ball to running back Matt Forte but it deflected into the hands of offensive guard Kyle Long, who fumbled it. The blame in the situation gets put on Long, who got caught off guard.
McCown’s two touchdowns were both to wideout Alshon Jeffery, 80 yards and 46 yards respectively. Jeffery’s strong hands helped him have a big day, breaking his own single-game receiving yards record he set back in Week 5, with 249 Sunday on just 12 targets. Forte successfully held onto the ball as well, rushing for 120 yards on 23 carries for just his second 100-yard game this season. Unfortunately, the one game they do well in this aspect, they failed in the other areas I addressed.
Containing “All-Day” Adrian Peterson was not in the cards for the Bears Sunday. The running back ran for 211 yards on what is still a nagging groin injury, which adds to the legend that is AP. The Bears showed why they are ranked last amongst NFL defenses, although they did show glimpses of a competent defense on multiple occasions. The Vikings’ front four manhandled the Bears’ defensive front, opening holes for Peterson to charge through and shred the defense. The bright spots came on sacks by defensive end Julius Peppers and an interception by rookie linebacker Khaseem Greene, but those plays were not enough to pull that unit out of the NFL cellar.
It was not as slow as molasses this time, but the Bears still got off to a frustratingly slow start. They scored a grand total of six points through the first two quarters, and finishing the game 2-for-11 on third down is something the Bears could not afford to do if they wanted to get off to a faster start. Trestman failed the team in this factor of the game, as this is now the third game in which they started slow. The game against the Baltimore Ravens was the players’ fault, but these last two games lands on the head coach. Not having your players ready to go is inexcusable.
Usually-reliable kicker Robbie Gould, who arrived in Minnesota in the wee hours of Sunday morning after witnessing his wife give birth to a baby boy, missed what could have been the clincher in overtime, giving the Vikings a chance to put the game away off the foot of Blair Walsh.
They capitalized, and with the loss the Bears pushed themselves deeper down a hole with no shovel in reach.