By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings had two weeks to prepare for the reeling Chicago Bears, but instead of taking advantage, they laid an egg. The Vikings jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but surrendered 21 straight points before falling 21-13.READ MORE: MN Dept. Of Human Rights: Brooklyn Center Police, Michaels Store Discriminated Against Black Teenager
The Vikings were beaten in every aspect of the game. They were out gained 468-243, including a 330-147 edge through the air.
The Vikings (4-6) received the opening kickoff and moved the ball down the field for a 50-yard field goal. After the Bears missed a field goal, the Vikings turned a fake punt into a seven-yard touchdown pass from Teddy Bridgewater to Rhett Ellison.
The Bears (4-6) jumped the Vikings in the standings by virtue of the head-to-head tiebreaker with the second meeting between the two teams coming in Week 17.
Offense Grade: F
The Vikings offense was abysmal, awful, terrible and any other synonym you can think for bad. They had just 14 plays of five yards or more, including three plays on third down that were three yards or more short of the first down. Also among those 14 plays, eight came in the fourth quarter. The offense also had four drives that were or could have been three-and-outs, which includes the fake punt on fourth down.
The problems include poor offensive line play, receivers not getting open, the quarterback holding the ball too long and the conservative play calls. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner had two weeks to come up some creative play calls and didn’t. The Vikings were predictable in play calling and they did not test the Bears’ bad secondary.
Defense Grade: D
The defense deserves some of the same adjectives as the offense does. The defense’s may not be as strong though.
The defense made a few plays to try to get the team back in it, but not enough. Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith both intercepted Jay Cutler. However, neither resulted in points. Smith’s return came all the way back to the 27-yard line of the Bears. Rhodes’ pick came with less than 10 seconds remaining in the first half.READ MORE: Target Lowers Seasonal Hiring Goals Due To Tough Labor Market
Josh Robinson, who had been playing really well, was abused by the wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. The big duo caught all three of their touchdown passes against the third-year corner. Robinson had decent to great coverage on all scoring plays, but physically could not matchup with the receivers.
The biggest problem for the defense was the defensive line. They got no pressure on Cutler, with the exception of one play — Smith’s interception.
Quarterback Grade: D+
Bridgewater’s performance was not good. The question is how much of it was the play calling and how much of it was him playing too cautiously? The worst decision he made, maybe of the entire season, sealed the victory for the Bears. He was veering backwards to the left while trying to throw a deep pass to the right sideline. Bears safety Ryan Mundy had the pass hit him right in the numbers.
The rookie finished the game with 158 yards on 18-of-28 passing for one touchdown and one interception. He also had a QBR of 21.3 and rating of 76.2.
Special Teams Grade: C
The Vikings punt team made the play of the game for the Vikings. They ran a perfectly designed fake that Andrew Sendejo ran 48 yards to set up the team’s only touchdown. Sendejo took a handoff from Adam Thielen and ran around the left end. He had running room and rambled into Bears territory before getting tripped up at the seven-yard line.
The rest of the units were so-so. Walsh missed a short field goal and made a 50-yarder. Jeff Locke bombed a 54-yarder, but also had two punts of 35 yards or less. Three different players returned kickoffs for just 11.3 yard average.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.MORE NEWS: Osakis Public School Closed, Students Evacuated Due To Bomb Threat
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.