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

The Bears beat the Vikings yesterday for their first home win of the season. We're going over our notes from yesterday's victory.

Jonathan Daniel
  • It's amazing how much better a team's offense looks when its primary weapons are doing primary weapon things, especially some of the things that made the offense so successful last season. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall won contested balls. Matt Forte ran for over one hundred yards. Jeffery caught a hundred yards and a touchdown. Marshall didn't reach 100 yards, but he had two touchdowns: a perfect pluck out of the air from distance and a post-up move worthy of the NBA.
  • The Vikings secondary just couldn't match up one on one, so why they spent the day playing a lot of man up against Marshall and Jeffery is beyond me.
  • And really, the deep game is a component that's been consistently absent for most of the season, and when the Bears tried to pull it off, it failed. This week, it worked out generally spectacularly, and the offense had its best game since Atlanta (Which, speaking of Atlanta, don't look now, but they're tied for the NFC South lead...).
  • Jay Cutler, however, is still Jay Cutler. To go with his three touchdowns, he threw two interceptions, one of which hit Harrison Smith perfectly in stride, and the other pretty much Xavier Rhodes perfectly in stride as well, both inaccurate floaters off the back foot. But while that's not a good thing, it doesn't mean he still didn't have a good statistical day. And a huge part of that goes to the offensive line, which did a fantastic job keeping the Vikings' pass rush at bay. Jordan Mills was inactive with a rib injury, which put Brian de la Puente at left guard and Michael Ola at right tackle, and everything looked much more solid. Might have also helped that the Bears weren't fighting from being down 30 the whole game.
  • Marquess Wilson doubled his career receptions in this one game (two receptions), which goes to show that as much promise as the Bears might think he has, he is still last year's seventh round draft pick with now four career receptions, and not a tremendous portion of the team's offense. Yet, anyway.
  • The defense had a very resurgent performance (well, except for the Willie Young "too much anticipation" penalty), as after the first quarter, Vikings were getting blasted behind the line of scrimmage regularly (five quarterback hits, two sacks, five tackles for loss). Jared Allen picked up a sack, Willie Young added to his team lead with another sack, and Ryan Mundy picked up an interception as Teddy Bridgewater pushed the ball downfield in an attempt to get back in the game late.
  • There really isn't a lot to complain about; after the first quarter the defense stood up and stopped the Vikings from getting much after that point. Lance Briggs and DJ Williams, for the heat they (especially Briggs) have taken, I didn't think they played poorly. There weren't many tackles to go around, but there weren't many times after that first quarter where somebody got free.
  • The Vikings were held to two third down conversions out of eleven attempts.
  • But there were some really odd areas to get into - let's start with the fake punt the Vikings got their single biggest play on, because judging from the post game show on 670 the Score, there are two ways that play could have happened. One, as a sight adjustment based on something they saw at the line, or two, as a stock playcall based on something they read in film. Either way, something tipped the Vikings to how the Bears would attack that particular punt, and that's dangerous.
  • Why does Marc Trestman continue to not really understand how timeouts work in the NFL? Every week, we find a way to complain about how he gets outcoached with timeouts.
  • Next, let's talk playcalling, because the big one is the fourth down quarterback sweep at the goal line. I didn't have the same problem with that call that others did, because if you score the touchdown, then everybody goes on about how creative a playcaller Marc Trestman is. Instead, it's "Why run the outside sweep with your slowest offensive player." Especially when later, in another fourth down situation, the handoff goes straight to Matt Forte up the middle.
  • Robbie Gould may never kick a field goal for the remainder of the year, apparently. Missing that first one didn't help. (This is a joke. Marc Trestman, however, seems to enjoy his "Let's go for it!" moments now.)
  • Actually, both teams seemed to forget briefly they do have kickers on their team. That being said, the Bears did go after their moments on fourth down when they felt it was most beneficial, and despite having Robbie Gould on their team, I can't really blame them for their fourth down decisions. Now, the playcalls on the other hand...
  • So, Teddy Bridgewater does have a little ability, but the Bears did a really good job keeping him and the Vikings' offense quiet after the first quarter. I know the Vikings' offense isn't a strong one, but doing what they're ideally supposed to do to a team like this is a step forward for the Bears' defense. Especially after the last three games.
  • Statistical anomalies: The Bears didn't have a single three and out the whole game. I don't really like bad field position, but there's something satisfying about a 16 play drive that goes seven and a half minutes that results in a touchdown.
  • So, the Bears destroyed the Vikings in total offensive yardage, time of possession, yards per play, and total plays (among other stats), and at half were only up 14-10. The game was so close in score for so long for two reasons - turnovers and penalties. Even thought the Vikings gave up their own turnover to close out the game, the Bears led in penalties with 7, for fifty more yards than the Vikings. What it shows is that it doesn't do any good to give the ball away when the score's still close, and that this team still struggles when giving back yardage.
  • I'll be honest, after I mentioned the Falcons, I do feel a bit better about the Bears, especially with what the Packers and Patriots both did last night. That being said, it's only a bit. What was seen still can't be unseen.
  • While the Bears did get the win, not much has really changed. The Bears are still three games behind the Lions and Packers in the division (effectively four behind the Packers, tiebreaker and all) with six games to play, and they still have both games against the Lions, so they do have a slim chance at the division. However, losing both games to the Packers, if they were to make the division championship, something would have to go wrong in Green Bay (and Detroit).
  • But, they did get the win. Yes, they are capable of winning a football game. Next week, they get Lovie Smith and the Buccaneers. The Bucs were capable of winning a game yesterday as well, so the Bears can't take them lightly.