- The Vikings came out running on first down, probably in an effort to slow the pass rush and keep the Bears from blitzing. The Bears were doing a pretty good job of stopping it with seven in the box. They held the line of scrimmage pretty well.
- That also didn’t keep the Bears from blitzing on occasion and getting pressure with it. The Vikings have one of the worst offensive lines in football and Sam Bradford has a poor reputation for performing in the face of the blitz. It was what the Eagles beat them with last week and it was obviously part of the game plan for the Bears.
- Minnesota also tried to run the no huddle to wear the Bears defense down but they couldn’t sustain a drive to do it.
- Some decent pass coverage by the young defensive backs had Bradford occasionally taking a long time to look for targets. This gave the four man pass rush a lot of time to get to him on these occasions.
- The pass rush itself also was pretty good. I note that Leonard Floyd had another good game with a sack.
- The Minnesota offense just looks terrible. They’re bad up front, Bradford and the receivers aren’t on the same page, Bradford Is missing big throws. It’s pretty bad right now.
- Big night for Akiem Hicks with 2 sacks.
- Stephon Diggs is a flat out star. He had a good game on what was otherwise a miserable night for the Minnesota offense.
- After a really good start with a good 69 yard run by Jordan Howard the Bears started yet another gaff in the red zone with a poorly executed play where a defensive tackle went completely unblocks and there was a mix up between Jay Cutler and Howard in the backfield. Cutler followed with a poor throw to Jeffery in the end zone. Alshon Jeffery dropped touchdown on the next trip to the red zone. This kind of incompetence has to stop.
- One good thing that the Bears did in the red zone was run the ball on occasion. If you can do that, you’ll score. And when they did it successfully, they did score.
- Cutler was getting the ball out quickly and on time in the short passing game and he was spreading the ball around better.
- Having said that, he was erratic tonight with his accuracy, especially early in the game. There were some bad throws to Alshon Jeffery in particular. At one point Cutler hit Jeffery in the back of the head when Jeffery didn’t turn for the ball and I could hear big top music in my head and it felt like I was watching clowns at the circus. They did a better job of connecting in the third quarter when Jeffery scored his first touchdown of the year.
- Cutler got decent protection from the offensive line against a very good Minnesota defensive front. The offense generally did a good job of picking up the blitz despite missing both starting guards. Also kudos to Cutler for getting the ball out when the blitz came. He did a nice job of that.
- Howard had a good night on the ground and with some of his catches on screens and a shuffle pass. He’s a good one and he was just good enough to make the play action work pretty well tonight.
- Some good play calls tonight. Some well-timed screens. Nice job by Dowell Loggains there.
- Zach Miller had a good night as Cutler frequently looked to him short. That’s good.
- Nice job of running the game out at the end.
- I really like Jon Gruden. He’s pretty insightful and I enjow his commentary. Sean McDonough is a pro.
- Special teams, especially the kick coverage, were fine on both sides. I was underwhelmed by Cre’Von LeBlanc as a returner.
- The Bears really cut down on the penalties with only 2 for 20 yards. One of them, an unsportsmanlike conduct on Cornelius Washington, was pretty damaging in that it gave the Vikings a first down on their way to a field goal in the first half. Nevertheless, this has been a problem and it was better this game. The Vikings only had 1 penalty. So a clean game.
- Jeffery dropped a touchdown in addition to the ball that hit him in the back of the head that he didn’t look for.
- No turnovers on either side. Again, relatively clean.
- This was a nice win for the Bears against what might be the best team in the division. They played a clean game with no turnovers and few penalties, something that they have to do if they expect to win. Some unknown players in the defensive backfield came up with good performances. Some young players including Cody Whitehair and Leonard Floyd are looking good. A nice effort going into the bye.
The Minnesota Vikings, on the other hand, are a huge disappointment. That offense is a huge problem. The line stinks, just as it did last year, especially when they play anyone any good. I had hoped that veteran offensive coordinator Norv Turner could eventually make ice cream out of garbage on this team. But they simply don’t measure up and the defense can’t make up for it. They’re the Achilles heel for this team which, once again, looks like it will go nowhere in the playoffs, at least at this point.