What was once a dominant, promising season for the Chicago Bears has now turned into an uncertain playoff run after Chicago lost in Minnesota to the Vikings, 21-14. Adrian Peterson continued to have his way with opposing defenses, rushing for 154 yards and two touchdowns, providing all the offense Minnesota needed to keep themselves above .500 and in the playoff hunt as well. Jay Cutler threw a pick-six and ultimately had to leave the game after suffering a huge hit to the head/neck area, and having his neck tighten up before the game was over. The Bears day started off poorly, and ended even worse.
The game started in familiar fashion for Vikings fans. Adrian Peterson was having his way with Chicago’s defense, despite everyone in the stadium knowing that Minnesota had no other real threats. Peterson busted free for a 51 yard run on the first play of the game, which led to his 1 yard touchdown. Shortly after that, he finished off another drive with a score to put the Vikings up 14-0 with less than half of a quarter gone. Chicago was able to answer in the second quarter as Cutler hit rookie Alshon Jeffery on a 23 yard score to make it 14-7. In the second half, both defenses stepped up, as Chicago did not allow another offensive point to Minnesota. Minnesota’s defense, however, provided the winning margin when Harrison Smith intercepted Cutler and ran it back 56 yards for the touchdown, making it 21-7. In the fourth quarter, Cutler got hit hard and was unable to finish the game. Jason Campbell stepped in and found Brandon Marshall on a 16 yard touchdown, but the Bears could not recover the onside kick and the Vikings held on for the win. Despite a big day from Brandon Marshall, who had 10 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, the Bears offense could not sustain enough drives to threaten the Vikings until late in the game. Cutler threw two interceptions, including the pick-six, and the other was returned to the Bears’ 5 yard line which set up Peterson’s second touchdown.
The Bears now face the daunting task of holding on to a playoff spot while suffering a loss to their most important offensive and defensive players. Brian Urlacher could be out for more games, and now Chicago has to deal with losing Jay Cutler again. He will most likely be questionable for next week’s huge showdown against the Packers, a game Chicago needs to win in order to keep their division hopes alive. With Green Bay winning last night, the Bears need to win this one in order to get back even with the Packers. Otherwise, they will be right in the mix for the wild card spots, with many other teams, including the Vikings, breathing down their backs.