Quick Game Comments: Bears at Vikings 12/20/15

vikings_at_bears_2014-624x350Offense

  1. The Bears tried to run their usual ball control offensive game plan. They came out in a double tight end set and tried to establish the run. They eventually found that wasn’t working and tried spreading the field instead but it didn’t really matter. ┬áThe Vikings did a good job of getting penetration up front and did a reasonable job of limiting Matt Forte (8 caries, 47 yards) and Jeremy Langford (11 carries, 46 yards) on the ground.
  2. The Bears really got beat up front and that made the difference in the game. The Vikings simply beat both Hroniss Grasu and Kyle Long in particular like a drum. Long got beat for two sacks (one resulting in a Jay Cutler strip and turnover) and the line as a whole gave up five.
  3. The Vikings were, as usual, very effective with the occasional blitz though they really didn’t need it.
  4. Alshon Jeffery scored a touchdown but was really pretty much non-existent in this game as it was his only catch. It may not be a coincidence that it came the play after Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes left the game with an injury. Terence Newman was left to cover him on the play.
  5. Zack Miller (6 receptions for 54 yards) had another reasonably good game and Eddie Royal (5 receptions for 31 yards) came off of the injured list to make his presence felt.
  6. Jay Cutler (26 of 37 for 231 yards) missed Eddie Royal deep on what would have been a long gain and he threw one interception on what was supposed to be a screen to Matt Forte but overall he didn’t have a bad game.

Defense

  1. The Vikings also came out trying to establish the run and they were more successful with Adrian Peterson (18 carries, 63 yards) and Matt Assiata (5 carries, 28 yards). Peterson was running particularly well. Unlike the last time these teams met, the Bears felt the need to occasionally throw eight into the box to stop the Viking running game. They may have felt that Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t beat them. If so, they were obviously wrong.
  2. The Bears got beaten at the line of scrimmage by what has been a miserable Vikings offensive line. This was a pretty poor performance by the Bears front seven.
  3. The Vikings took full advantage of the miserable Bears linebacker situation with a series of short passes over the middle and to running backs out of the back field. Stefon Diggs once again burned the Bears with 3 receptions for a very damaging 55 yards. Kyle Rudolph had a couple receptions for 21 yards and wasn’t the factor I thought he’d be after the Bears were burned so badly by Jordan Reed last week. But the real damage was done by running back Jerick McKinnon, who had 4 receptions for 76 yards. The Vikings were splitting him out wide in the same way the Bears have had a habit of using Forte this year.
  4. Willie Young once again collected a sack, the Bears only one of the day. He’s turning out to be a bright spot this year.
  5. Hats off to Teddy Bridgewater (17 of 20 for 231 yards). He was nearly perfect today. The first touchdown pass to Diggs was a beautiful throw.
  6. The Bears defense got off to a rough start as they looked unorganized with a lot of switching around and pointing on the Vikings first drive. They didn’t look ready to go today.

Miscellaneous

  1. The Bears special teams were better today. They did a particularly good job of returning kick offs for good gains, giving the offense reasonable field position. Sherrick McManis got an onside kick to start the second half (though the Bears lost one later in an effort to come from behind).
  2. The Bears had 6 penalties for 39 yards which is an improvement. But the ones they had were damaging. They’re still getting too many holding calls, including one against Hroniss Grasu on the first play of the game that brought back a Matt Forte 35 yard run.
  3. Drops weren’t a significant factor in the game.
  4. The Bears aren’t going to win many games where they lose the turnover battle. This one was no exception. Kyle Long gave up a strip sack and Jay Cutler threw an interception on an attempted screen pass that I’m sure he’d like to have back.
  5. This game was pretty simple. The better team won. There are all kinds of things like turnovers and penalties that factored in but they really didn’t matter. The Bears lost one-on-one battles all over the field, highlighting their lack of talent and experience. They got beat at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The linebackers got beat by the fast McKinnon. The defensive backs got beat by the receivers like Diggs. The game quite simply showed the difference in where these teams are at right now with the Bears rebuilding and the Vikings rightfully competing for a division title.