- The Vikings game plan was pretty similar to the Bears – take what the defense gives you. They alternated between runs with Adrian Peterson and going to the air. They were particularly effective passing the ball in the second quarter. Stopping Peterson first was obviously the right thing to do but whenever they went seven in the box, Peterson almost always made yardage.
- The Vikings obviously liked Greg Jennings matched up with Tim Jennings in the first quarter. The Bears made an adjustment in the second quarter because Christian Ponder looked for him but didn’t throw it. I’m not sure what the adjustment was but it was effective.
- Ponder has been under siege in Minnesota and was more good than bad for most of the day. He was effect running outside the pocket and made some accurate (if not very strong) throws.
- Another quiet day for Julius Peppers and Henry Melton. In fairness to Peppers, I think he got some pressure on Ponder to force a turnover.
- The Bears looked to me like they were blitzing more today, often out of the eight man fronts they were using to stop Peterson.
- Nice to see Cory Wooton get a sack.
- Matt Kalil has been under scrutiny in Minnesota after a bad pre-season and a rough game last week. He looked solid today.
- I thought the Bears needed to do a better job of keeping Ponder in the pocket. A more disciplined pass rush was needed.
- Give some credit to the Vikings for coming out and executing some long, time consuming drives that ended in field goals in the third and fourth quarters. The Bears had a lot of guys at the the line but The Vikings didn’t completely abandon the run. They sustained each drive with good blocking up front and few mistakes. The Bears defense spent a lot of time on the field in the second half.
- The Bears came out running. The Vikings responded by bringing an extra guy in the box, the Bears responded by passing, for example to Brandon Marshall. That’s pretty much how it went all day with both teams mixing it up.
- Marshall, of course, had a great game.
- The Bears still were running a lot of double tight end and max protect.
- I loved the way the Bears took advantage of the Vikings aggressiveness on defense. The Alshon Jeffery end around in the first half was a brilliant call. As pointed out by color man Brian Billick, the Beas were also using a lot of counter plays and inside traps.
- Passes just don’t come any better than the one from Jay Cutler to Marshall for the touchdown at the end of the first quarter. Cutler hit Marshall in stride on a pass that couldn’t have been more accurate.
- Cutler’s tendency to hold the ball still worries me. His day was up and down and he frequently looked jittery. He was finding himself trapped in the pocket more often than last week, I thought.
- Martellus Bennett was once again catching everything he could (not to mention the game winning touchdown). I thought he had as good of a game as can be reasonably expected.
- I loved the way the Bears used Matt Forte. Catching passes, running the ball, he was all over with shifty running and good vision.
- Kevin Williams, who sat out last week with an injury, didn’t do much in his first game back beyond a fluke interception in the end zone. Earl Bennet was quiet again. I was surprised we didn’t see more Dante Rosario. I wanted to see what he could do.
- The play where Jared Allen cause Cutler to fumble the ball (which resulted in a Vikings touchdown) was a strange one. The Bears lineman and Matt Forte looked to me like they were running a screen play to the left. Cutler, instead of throwing the ball to Forte, rolled right and was caught by Allen, who both Bushrod and Forte let go. Weird play. It wasn’t the only play this game where the Bears offense didn’t look like they are on the same page with Cutler.
- The Minnesota defense needs to limit big plays like a couple of the throws to Marshall and the last one to Martellus Bennett. They killed them this game.
- Brian Billick and Laura Oakmin did their usual professional job. Billick pointed out that the Bears were taking advantage of the Vikings single high safety look and that the Bears were running a lot of inside traps and counters to take advantage of the Vikings defensive aggressiveness. I wasn’t as happy with the way that Thom Brennaman responded to adversity. He apologized repeatedly for the technical difficulties but did point out what, exactly they were. When it eventually became apparent that it was graphics and replays (mostly), he didn’t adjust by giving, for instance, the time on the clock or the down and distance more often.
- Special teams were big this game with the opening Vikings kickoff return by Cordarrelle Patterson. Devin Hester had some good returns as well which gave the Bears some excellent field position. Though Eric Weems was getting pats on the back for it, unless I’m misunderstanding something the way he batted the ball out of the back of the end zone on one punt almost resulted in a Minnesota touchdown.
- Not too many dropped balls today. Jeffery had one.
- Turnovers played a big role here as the Vikings got 6 points on a Cutler fumble and the Bears got six on a pick six fro Tim Jennings. Letroy Guion took the ball away from Matt Forte on an important fourth quarter drive. And, of course, John Carlson’s loss of the ball to Blake Costanzo on the last kickoff was a killer. There were a number of others that had varying impact but all of them hurt. Not good.
- Way too many penalties on both sides today. Twelve men on the field is always inexcusable.
- There was a lot of slipping and sliding around the field this game. Let the pissing and moaning about the Soldier field tug commence.
- One word describes this game. Sloppy. Sloppy field. Sloppy teams. It’s little comfort that the rest of the NFL currently generally doesn’t look a lot better. A win is a win but everyone has to take a long look at themselves and clean this mess up.