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Bears Vs Vikings: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

We're breaking down yesterday's overtime loss to the Vikings.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sport
  • Josh McCown had the most misleading 300+ passing yardage, 100+ quarterback rating day ever, and he got to that point because Alshon Jeffery is turning into a man before our eyes. Remember how two years ago the Bears didn't have a single number one receiver? How does it feel that the team pretty much has two of them?
  • Jeffery made some unbelievable plays on his twelve catches, but maybe even more telling are his 15 targets to Brandon Marshall's 9. When McCown's been in, he's been looking more to Jeffery, which speaks pretty well to Jeffery's quality of play. Jeffery actually beat Brandon Marshall to 1000 yards (Marshall's got 990 after yesterday).
  • But McCown's day was pretty bad to my eye, to be honest. He missed several throws, had two interceptions effectively cancelled by a drop and a penalty, Jeffery bailed him out on a couple other bad throws, and I have no idea what that shovel pass to a Vikings' defensive player was supposed to be. Don't get me wrong, for as much as we lambast Matt Stafford for being a one-trick pony and throwing to Calvin Johnson a lot, McCown was doing a lot of it to Jeffery.
  • If anything, this outing should serve as a reminder that Josh McCown is what he is - a backup quarterback who's improved a bit under Marc Trestman, but he's still the Josh McCown who even after his great statistics this season just finally reached above a 1:1 TD:INT ratio over his career. Plus, there were several throws he tried that Jay Cutler could only have made. That being said, when McCown truly steps up in the pocket, he really can still deliver a solid deep ball.
  • And that's where we get into the offense's failure to secure and win the game, up ten in the fourth quarter. Yeah, the defense gave up the ten points to push the game into overtime, and yes, Robbie Gould missed a field goal in overtime that would have given the Bears the win, but in the fourth quarter and overtime, the Bears picked up 50 total yards, with no fourth-quarter drive lasting over ten yards. And I think if Sunday's game led to the Bears only giving up 17 points or 20 points in a Bears win, I think we'd have taken that pretty readily.
  • Julius Peppers showed up pretty well yesterday. I think we'll take him if he can keep having games like yesterday (2.5 sacks). Of course, some of that was Christian Ponder's ability to hold on to the ball, but some more of it was the Vikings being willing to go to him early and often as the defensive line was running hot.
  • Jay Ratliff looked pretty good in his first game action in a calendar year. One tackle, but some nice early penetration.
  • Unfortunately, the Vikings realized that, oh hey, they have this guy named Adrian Peterson, and he's pretty good at running the football against a bad rushing defense that doesn't recognize what a gap is, how to stay in a gap, how to close off a gap, and can't tackle to save their lives.
  • To be fair, if there was a game you wanted Craig Steltz to play in, if he absolutely had to start in a game, this is the game for that. Unfortunately, that doesn't make him exempt from getting run over by an angry Adrian Peterson.
  • Apparently the inability to defend the run continues to extend to end arounds, as Cordarrelle Patterson made tacklers look silly on his touchdown run.
  • Matt Forte had his first career 100 yard game at the Metrodome.
  • Interesting strategy by the Bears to avoid directly kicking off to Cordarrelle Patterson until they absolutely had to on the long field goal. I guess getting burned right away in the first matchup would do that to a team.
  • Matt Cassell's performance can't be undersold - for a backup coming in cold after an injury to Ponder, he played well (243 yards, touchdown, tipped interception) despite his inability to get the ball over the unoutstretched arms of the defensive line. I think Corey Wootton just batted down another pass.
  • That being said, how do you allow Matt Cassell to convert fourth and 11 deep in his own territory for a long first down?
  • If the Vikings had lost the game, I'm sure Rhett Ellison would have been cut walking off of the field, since his batted reception for an interception and his facemask penalty kept the Bears in the game twice.
  • Did I see Michael Bush finally see the field on a play that wasn't just up the middle for a loss of one yard?
  • I'm not really sure what was the worse coaching job in the game, the Vikings trying to force the ball to Rhett Ellison in the end zone, or the Bears kicking (and missing) the field goal on second down. Another play with a Matt Forte who was having a pretty good game might have made the kick closer and a little easier. Then again, if Gould kicks the field goal through, that's probably not a question worth asking.
  • Note to Bears opponents: If you have a decent running back, or A running back, and it's fourth and one, just run right up the middle. The Vikings converted all three of their fourth-down attempts, including the 4th and 11 on the game-tying drive.
  • Speaking of conversions, neither team really felt like converting a third down all day, either.
  • The Vikings got to McCown four times, as pass protection continues its long, slow deterioration.
  • The Vikings ran 21 more plays than the Bears. They converted only two more third downs and all three of their fourth downs. That's five drive conversions total. That should tell you something about the offensive output in this game - bad.
  • The Vikings overall were 4-17 on third down. The Bears were 2-11.
  • Remember when the Bears used to be one of the most disciplined teams in the league with penalties? At this point, me neither. Jon Bostic had himself a bad game, including a drive-continuing taunting penalty.
  • Admit it, you gasped a bit when Zack Bowman got hurt.
  • And speaking of much maligned defensive backs, I didn't think Chris Conte was end-of-world bad either. He had his downs, sure, but I thought he had an okay game, all things considered.
  • So what's the takeaway from that trainwreck? With the Lions win and the Bears loss, the Bears are a game back in the win column as well as down the full tiebreaker, so they're effectively two games behind the Lions. That's some heady ground to cover with four games left and no matches left against the Lions. To keep their playoff hopes alive, the Bears are effectively in a must-win situation every week on out to have a chance at the division.