Bears Playoff Hopes Dwindling After OT Loss To Vikings
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 2, 2013 5:05PM
The Bears and Vikings each had multiple opportunities to win before Minnesota finally claimed victory beating the Bears 23-20 in overtime Sunday. Despite a record-breaking day by Alshon Jeffery, the offense couldn't overcome Adrian Peterson, poor coaching decisions, bad defense and missed field goals.
New father Robbie Gould, who remained in Chicago until the wee hours of Sunday to witness the birth of his first child, gave the Bears a 3-0 lead with a 30-yard field goal that provided the only points in a sluggish first quarter.
In the second quarter, Minnesota moved 90 yards down the field in just five plays to take a 7-3 lead when rookie Cordarrelle Patterson ran 33 yards for the score. Gould's second field goal of the afternoon cut Minnesota's lead to one, which is where the score remained at halftime.
The Bears opened the second half with a bang as Josh McCown connected with Jeffery on an 80-yard TD strike less than a minute into the third quarter that gave Chicago a 13-7 lead. Minnesota cut that lead to 13-10 on a Blair Walsh kick but McCown and Jeffery connected on another long TD, this time a spectacular catch just inside the left pylon for 46 yards and a 20-10 Bears lead.
In the fourth quarter Vikings backup QB Matt Cassel, who replaced Christian Ponder just before halftime, connected with former Greg Jennings for an 8-yard touchdown that put the Vikings within three. Minnesota appeared poised to take the lead after a personal foul on Bears linebackers Jon Bostic game Minnesota first down inside the Bears' 5-yard line but rookie linebacker Khaseem Greene picked off Cassel at the goal line and returned the ball to midfield. After a nine-yard gain on first down, the Bears failed to move the chains but rather than attempt a 57-yard kick that would have forced Minnesota to score a TD, Trestman sent Adam Podlesh out to punt with the Bears still up by three. The Vikings then drove down to the Bears' 12-yard line before kicking the game-tying field goal. Devin Hester's 57-yard kick return gave the Bears a glimmer of life even with less than 30 seconds remaining. After gaining just two yards, Trestman sent Gould out to attempt a 66-yard game winning kick. The kick was on line to split the uprights but fell short as the two teams headed into overtime.
The Bears received the ball first but were unable to score. Minnesota drove and lined up Blair Walsh for the apparent game winning kick. But as the fireworks went off in Mall of America Dome, a flag waved off the kick. Walsh's kick from 57 yards went wide and the Bears were still alive. Driving the other direction, Trestman made another questionable coaching call. With three minutes remaining in overtime, he sent Robbie Gould out to attempt a game-winning 47-yard kick on second down rather than running another play or two to get the ball closer. Gould's kick went just right of the goal post, extending the game. Walsh kicked the eventual game winner on Minnesota's next possession, sending the Bears home losers.
The loss cast a pall over an impressive offensive day by a number of Bears players. Jeffery, who broke the Bears' 59-year old record for receiving yards in a game just a few weeks ago, set new marks with 12 catches for 249 yards and two TDs. McCown, in perhaps his final start before Jay Cutler's return, passed for 355 yards while completing 23 of 36 attempts. Matt Forte ran for 120 yards and averaged over 5 yards per carry.
While the defense had its moments and Julius Peppers recorded 2 1/2 sacks, the defense could not shut down Adrian Peterson.the defending NFL MVP ran all over the Bears for 211 yards on the afternoon. Ponder was fairly ineffective at QB for Minnesota but his replacement, Cassel, passed for 243 yards and completed 20 of 33 passes after halftime.
While there was plenty of blame to go around and many took responsibility for the loss, it appears that Trestman cost the Bears the game with a number of questionable calls. While he tried to defend the call to kick on second down, the excuses were lame. And this was not the first time the Bears rookie coach appeared to cost them a game with questionable play calling.
The Bears fall to 6-6 on the season and are now a game back of Detroit in the NFC North race. But the Lions hold the head-to-head tiebreaker against Chicago. Unless the Bears can win out their remaining four games and Detroit drops two of of their final four four the Bears have no path to the postseason. But even with their season effectively over, the game go on and the Bears host the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football next week. Which is good because we've reached the point this year. where we no longer plan to schedule our Sundays around Bears games.