Bears Conquer Vikings, Get First Soldier Field Win
By Benjy Lipsman in News on Nov 17, 2014 4:30PM
After two losses where they allowed more than 50 points—a mark of futility only matched by the 1923 Rochester Jeffersons—the Chicago Bears got back into the win column with a 21-13 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday. The win over their division rivals improved the Bears' record to 4-6, and was their first win of the season at home.
Photo credit: David Banks/Getty Images
Jay Cutler - The bears quarterback has been the target of more blame for this season's debacle than justified, but showed why he was given a huge contract extension during the offseason. Cutler completed 31 of 43 passes for 330 yards and 3 TDs. However, his second interception reminded Bears fans of why they're not sold on him as the face of the franchise for the next half decade.
Matt Forte - The Bears running back had another solid all-around game, racking up 117 yards on 26 carries (4.5 yard avg.) and catching six passes for 58 yards. His 175 total yards were a season high. Forte's yards on the ground was basically accomplished in three quarters, as he carried just twice in the first quarter.
Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall - Bears fans finally saw the production from the team's top two wide receivers that had been expected all year. Jeffery caught 11 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown, while Marshall snagged seven for 90 yards and scored twice.
Defense - The defense bounced back after allowing over 100 points in the previous two games. Granted, they were facing a rookie QB instead of two future Hall of Famers. But the defense allowed a season-low 243 yards and 13 points. Jared Allen recorded a sack against his old team and Willie Young recorded his team-high eighth sack.
Special Teams - The third phase had another subpar afternoon. Robbie Gould missed a 47-yard field goal early in the game, and then the punting unit missed a fake punt that turned a three-and-out into first-and goal for Minnesota. A touchdown on the next play gave the Vikings an early 10-0 lead. It looked like the Bears were in for another long afternoon at that point. Was Gould's miss a result of rust? The Bears placekicker hadn't attempted a field goal since just before halftime of the Atlanta game, in Week Six.
Photo credit: David Banks/Getty images
Game Management - We continue to question whether head coach Marc Trestman is over-matched calling an NFL game. His decision to go for a touchdown on forth-and-goal from the one while sporting a 14-10 lead, rather than let Gould kick a chip shot and give the Bears a seven point lead was a head scratcher. Trestman's clock management in the final minute of the first half also made little sense. With the Bears still up by four and 62 seconds to work with, he twice called for running plays, before burning their final timeout and only then throwing the ball in a play that was picked off.
The Game Clocks - Soldier Field's game and play clocks suffered malfunctions throughout the afternoon, forcing the referees to keep time manually for much of the game. The first issues arose in the first half, continued into the third quarter and then in the game's final minutes. The problems with the clocks were so bad the Vikings were thrown off trying to run a two-minute drill in an attempt to tie the game. After the game, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer resorted to expletives to describe the situation.
Next up for the Bears are some familiar faces. Former coach Lovie Smith brings his 2-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Chicago, including quarterback Josh McCown. How many Bears fans wish he were under center for Chicago this season? Even if he's not having quite the year Cutler is, he also isn't eating up as much cap space that could otherwise go toward fixing the Bears countless other roster holes.