Upon Further Review: Vikings at Bears

BY Tom Dierberger • September 30, 2019

Every NFL football season, there seems to be one game where teams just need to move on and toss out the film.

Head coach Mike Zimmer might want to burn this tape.

His Minnesota Vikings were embarrassed in every aspect of the game Sunday afternoon, as they suffered another loss at Soldier Field in a 16-6 thrashing by Chicago.

Chicago dominated Minnesota in the trenches and, even with Pro Bowl defensive end Akiem Hicks sidelined, shut down the Vikings’ highly touted rushing attack. Running back Dalvin Cook, the NFL’s leading rusher heading into this week, was limited to 35 rushing yards on 14 carries as well as 35 yards on six catches – a mere 3.5 yards per touch.



Quarterback Kirk Cousins was sacked six times, fumbled twice (lost one) and overthrew Adam Thielen on his lone deep ball of the afternoon in the first quarter.

The Vikings defense didn’t look much better.

After Bears starting quarterback Mitch Trubisky exited the game with a shoulder injury on the first drive, the Vikings defense was baffled by journeyman backup Chase Daniel, who marched Chicago down the field for four scoring drives and threw for 195 yards and a touchdown on 22-of-30 passing.

Minnesota dropped to 3-16 at Soldier Field since 2001.

So far through four games, the Vikings have beaten up on bad teams (Atlanta, Oakland) and looked extremely vulnerable to two division rivals (Green Bay, Chicago).

Maybe that’s just the type of team they are this year.

Here’s a recap of Sunday’s game:

PLAYER OF THE GAME

Oof. It’s tough to name a player of the game after that performance, but we’ll give a shoutout to linebacker Eric Kendricks, who led the team with 12 tackles. The Vikings defense didn’t force a turnover, but it did hold rookie running back David Montgomery to 53 yards and the Bears to 2.2 yards per carry. So there’s that.



DON’T FORGET ABOUT ME

Besides a costly fumble in the second quarter, wide receiver Stefon Diggs posted an ok stat line. He caught all seven of his targets and turned them into a season-high 107 yards. Diggs briefly gave Vikings fans hope late in the third quarter with back-to-back catches on third and fourth down to move the ball near Chicago’s red zone, but that was immediately erased with a false start the very next play and a Cousins fumble two plays later. Through three weeks, Diggs had recorded just six catches for 101 yards and a score, so it was good to see No. 14 get involved, even if most of the production was in garbage time.




THAT MOMENT

With two minutes to play in the first half and Chicago leading 7-0, the Bears faced a fourth-and-3 from the Vikings’ 34-yard line and were preparing to punt the ball away. However, Minnesota came out with its field-goal block personnel and Zimmer inexplicably called timeout -- that’s right, with the play clock winding down and the two-minute warning just seconds away. During the timeout, Bears head coach Matt Nagy reconsidered the punt and instead sent his offense back out on the field. Daniel hooked up with wide receiver Anthony Miller for a five-yard gain to move the chains, and Chicago rolled down the field and kicked a field goal on the last play of the first half. So instead of trailing 7-0 and getting the ball back with two minutes to get the offense going, Minnesota went into halftime losing 10-0 -- all due to a strange timeout. It was that kind of day.

THIS NUMBER

35:27 – Chicago’s time of possession. It was even more of a factor in the first half, when the Bears had the ball for nearly 19 minutes while Minnesota ran just 21 plays and had possession for 11 minutes. Chicago took control of the game with a long opening drive of 7:16, punted after a five-minute drive and ended the half with a field goal that wrapped up a 6:36 drive.





THEY SAID IT

“It was a bad mistake. It was my fault. I’ll take the blame for it.” – head coach Mike Zimmer on the strange timeout late in the first half

“I still believe we have a good football team. We have to show that in the coming weeks. This counts as one. We have to remember that and have an edge while we prepare for New York.” – quarterback Kirk Cousins

“Everybody is frustrated right now. When you lose and you don’t play well enough to win, everybody is frustrated.” -- Zimmer

WHAT’S NEXT

Minnesota will attempt to rebound from Sunday’s ugly loss next week with a matchup against the 2-2 New York Giants. The Giants, coached by former Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, have won both games since benching quarterback Eli Manning. Sixth overall pick Daniel Jones has passed for 561 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for a 96.7 passer rating over his first two career starts.



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