By Joseph Gunther
Teddy Bridgewater had an opportunity to lead the Vikings on an improbable game-tying touchdown drive against the Chicago Bears on Sunday. The rookie quarterback had the Vikings driving, but an interception sealed the 21-13 loss at Soldier Field.READ MORE: Kim Potter's Trial In Daunte Wright's Death Begins Wednesday: Here's How To Watch
Bridgewater heaved a long pass back against his body toward the corner of the end zone on a second-and-three play from the Bears’ 29 yard line with right around a minute left. The decision to try for the home run play turned tragic when Bears safety Ryan Mundy was waiting for the ball to land in his lap. While the clocks had not been working for a few plays, that was when it really played a factor.
“Teddy thought at that point when he threw the ball, when he threw the interception, he thought the clock was down and he tried to make a play in the end zone,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “That’s really the only time. It being a little disconcerting for the offense in the two-minute drill was the biggest issue. Now, the Bears had the same thing. If they know it’s a minute left in the game or 10 seconds left, they’re going to make different calls as well. So I’m not going to put it all on that, but — you know, you’ve got a young quarterback running the two-minute drill and he can’t find anywhere in the place (displaying) how much time is left, and so that is a little bit disconcerting. We didn’t deserve to win the game, regardless if we would have tied it up.”
Time was announced during breaks. In a hurry up situation, there are not enough breaks for the offense to get accurate readings within the final two minutes. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler admitted that Bridgewater was in an unenviable position and that he was glad to be on the other side.
“The ref said something to me and I was like, ‘We’re in four-minute drill. I’m just looking at the play clock. I don’t need the clock. So let’s keep it rolling here. I’m good,’ But to reverse it in his situation, that’s hard to do,” Cutler said during his Monday radio show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. “You hear the ref over the intercom saying, a minute-five, 40 seconds left. To not visually be able to see it and know where you’re at time-wise, that’s difficult. It’s a tough spot for the kid.”
Zimmer also wanted it to be known that the clock was not an excuse nor the reason for the loss, but that the better team won.
“The only time the clock was really an issue was in the last two (minutes),” Zimmer said. “The Bears beat us. It wasn’t the clocks. The Bears beat us. They performed better than we did.”READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: System Setting Up Potential Snow Event Friday
The Vikings now have to regroup for another showdown against a division rival. They face the Green Bay Packers in Week 12 at TCF Bank Stadium.
Rudolph returns; eases back into action
Kyle Rudolph returned to the lineup after missing six games because of a sports hernia. However, the starting tight end played just 14 snaps and was not targeted for any passes.
“He’s feeling his way a little bit still,” Zimmer said. “And so you know he’s got to let it loose a little bit more. We wanted to be careful with him, but on the same token he needs to continue to feel good about where he’s at and try to let it loose, too.”
Chase Ford and Rhett Ellison filled in well for Rudolph while he was out. But, the duo, like everyone else on the offense, was fairly quiet. They combined to catch two passes for 11 yards, including Ellison’s seven-yard touchdown grab in the first quarter, and were targeted only three times.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.MORE NEWS: Undefeated Gophers Getting Along Just Fine Under Ben Johnson
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.