- Surprisingly the Bears came out playing the pass with seven in the box, allowing the Vikings running game to get going.
- It looked to me like the Bears came out well prepared scheme-wise this week. They looked like they had done a good job of studying the Vikings tendencies and that they were on top of what they were doing. Nice work.
- It was hard to tell much about Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater because they were being careful not to ask too much of him. But he was plenty accurate and considerably more composed than veteran Jay Cutler was for the Bears. Despite all we’ve heard and read about the Vikings success in the draft, it looks to me like he needs more talent around him. He’s been struggling with throws outside the numbers and he did so again today. I also expected his arm to be stronger. Nevertheless he shows promise.
- Kudos to Jared Allen who was matched up against Matt Kalil, who has been struggling all year. Allen looked great coming off of the end, beating Kalil regularly.
- Really, the entire defensive line played well. On the other side, the Vikings offensive line looks like a serious weakness. They were losing one-on-ones and blowing assignments, allowing blitzers to get to Bridgewater. That’s a bad combination if you are a Vikings fan.
- Nice work from the defensive back today a well. Bridgewater had a really hard time finding receivers beyond 7 yards or so. The linebackers were where they needed to be as well. Everyone was aggressive. Lance Briggs looked particularly good.
- I’m surprised that the Bears came out throwing. With all of the (justified) criticism about not getting the ball to Matt Forte, I expected to see more running plays in the initial set of downs. It looked like Cutler might have been simply counting the men in the box and running when he thought it was favorable. That’s fine but it can make you one dimensional.
- Some poor tackling out there by the Vikings.
- A lot of screens this week as the Bears apparently were trying to attack the edges and neutralize the Minnesota pass rush. As opposed to attacking the middle of the field. More evidence that we’re looking at a finesse offense that can’t attack with a physical front (in contrast to what GM Phil Emery believes they can do). In fairness, they executed them well.
- The Vikings started to blitz quite a bit late in the first quarter and early in the second. The Bears did a good job of picking it up and it didn’t hurt that they were doing a lot of short quick passing. It was pretty ineffective and they eventually stopped doing it.
- The Vikings did a much better job against the run in the second half.
- Heck of a pass from Jay Cutler to Alshon Jeffery for the Bears first score in the second quarter. Jermon Bushrod let Cutler feel the pressure and Cutler had to escape to extend the play.
- Speaking of Bushrod, he struggled mightily this game. The Bears left him one-on-one with Everson Griffin quite a bit early. He was over-matched.
- The Vikings did a good job of moving Cutler off of the mark but Cutler was able to step up in the pocket and often escaped to make a play.
- Anthony Barr is a good looking player. He’s quick, he’s in the right spots and on top of plays. I was impressed.
- I really didn’t think the Vikings did enough to stop Alshon Jeffery. He needed to be double covered more often. Or at least the Safety needed to provide more help.
- Really a nice drive by the offense at the beginning of the fourth quarter with a very nice catch for a touchdown to cap it. They ate almost half of the quarter away.
- Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon and Stacey Dales were surprisingly good. Well, Harlan’s always good. But Dales actually added a bit to the telecast giving a candid report about the mood from the Bears sideline early. I thought perhaps that she got a bit more than the usual amount of face time for a side line reporter. Gannon impressed me after diagraming out the Bears second quarter touchdown. He frequently ready my mind as he broke down the team play, particularly the quarterback play. He also endeared himself to Bears fans with criticism of the non-aggressive way that the Bears approached the end of the first half, essentially running the clock out.
- What was going on with the initial chip shot on the opening kickoff? Is Cordarrelle Patterson that dangerous? Robbie Gould missed a field goal in the first quarter. They gave up forty-nine yards on a fake punt as no one did their job by staying at home and sealing the end. That resulted in seven points. Return teams were subpar. Gould kicked off the ball out of bounds midway through the fourth quarter to give the Vikings some life at the 40 yard line.Honestly, all I want is for the special teams not to totally kill this team. Is that so much to ask?
- Let’s see… In the first set of possessions:
- Willie Young had an offsides on the first set of downs and eliminated a stop. It cost the Bears three points.
- An illegal formation call eliminated a first down in the Bears initial possession.
- That was compounded by a Kyle Long false start.
- Then Jay Cutler got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty right after that.
All of that added up to a missed field goal. Another great start.
Its unbelievable how undisciplined this team is this late in the season. Far, far too many penalties. A young Vikings team did a much better job.
- Two interceptions from Cutler and the second could have been a killer as the Bears defense had just stopped the Vikings backed up near their goal line. Fortunately the Vikings somehow found a way to waste the break and miss the field goal. A better team would have scored a potentially demoralizing touchdown.Bridgewater threw one under pressure trying to make a play with about a minute left. I understand the tendency but that’s won you keep in your pocket. There was still plenty of time to get the needed touchdown.
- I’m usually not much of a second guesser and maybe its just me but don’t you take the field goal to go up by seven in the third quarter rather than going for it on fourth and one? I guess when you’ve got three wins you’ve got nothing to lose.
- The NFL needs more Kate Upton commercials. Way more.
- You take a win when you can get it but, really, the Vikings had no business being in this game. The talent gap between these teams was pretty big. The Bears dominated both sides of the ball but their undisciplined play on offense and on special teams continues to be disturbing. I might add that there wasn’t much fancy in a vanilla game plan on either side of the ball. That works when you are going up against a definitively inferior opponent but it isn’t very encouraging for the future. Frankly, I’m not sure they’re capable of executing anything more complicated right now.
Having said that, kudos to a much maligned defense that played aggressively and dominated the line of scrimmage. The linebackers and defensive backs were aggressive, tackled well and were fast to the ball. It was as good as they’ve looked since Lovie Smith was fired.