All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL's Game Statistic and Information System.
Yes, I do think this is the Chicago Bears worst loss of the season, because the Bears team that we've seen through the first 13 games this year wasn't this bad. Even though this was a relatively close game with around 5 minutes left in the 2nd quarter, I never got the sense that the Bears had a chance.
I suppose the lack of talent was bound to show up at some point, and the five and nine Bears just couldn't hang with the nine and five Minnesota Vikings. With just two games remaining in John Fox's and Ryan Pace's inaugural season, they need to find out about some of the younger players on their roster.
Before we get into the individual numbers, we'll run through the team stats.
Minnesota outgained the Bears 350 yards to 293. They also had the edge in 3rd down conversions 67% (8-12) to 42% (5-12), but the Bears actually had more 1st downs, 21 to 20. The Vikings had the time of possession edge 32:10 to 27:50, they won the turnover battle 2 to 0 and they were flagged 4 times for 45 yards to 6 for 39 for the Bears.
Chicago's D, who has had some real good flashes this season, let Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater look like an All Pro. He threw for 4 touchdowns, only three of his 20 passes were incomplete, he had a passer rating of 154.4 and he scrambled for a TD as well.
FYI - All the charts are Total snaps played - Percentage of snaps played
|Matt Slauson LG||64 - 100%||3 - 11%|
|Hroniss Grasu C||64 - 100%|
|Kyle Long RT||64 - 100%||3 - 11%|
|Charles Leno Jr. LT||64 - 100%||3 - 11%|
|Patrick Omameh RG||64 - 100%||3 - 11%|
|Jermon Bushrod||3 - 11%|
|Vladimir Ducasse||3 - 11%
Since I thought last weeks o-line performance was bad, I'll call this weeks performance awful. Minnesota had 4 tackles for loss, 6 quarterback hits and 5 sacks. Chicago's running attack did average 4.7 yards per carry, but the offense just wasn't able to establish much of a rhythm all day.
Grasu was hit with a holding penalty on the 1st play of the game, Leno was flagged for a holding penalty (declined) and Slauson has a false start.
Not one of Jay Cutler's better games this week. He ended up with a 93.4 passer rating but he had another fumble on a strip/sack and he threw an interception to a defensive lineman on a screen pass. He completed 26 of 37 passes (70.1%) for 231 yards and 2 TDs. He had one run for 1 yard.
|Matt Forte||30 - 47%|
|Jeremy Langford||28 - 44%||2 - 7%|
|Ka'Deem Carey||6 - 9%||6 - 22%
Matt Forte had a decent all around game, even though his opening 15 yard scamper was negated by a hold. He ended up with 47 yards on 8 carries (5.9 ypc) and he caught 6 of the 7 balls directed his way for 57 yards and a TD. Forte became just the 7th player in the history of the NFL to go over 1,100 yards from scrimmage in each of his first 8 seasons.
These last couple weeks we've been seeing the workload start to hover around 50/50 for Forte and Langford. I would expect that trend to continue the final two weeks of the year as the Bears begin to prepare themselves for life after Forte.
Langford had 11 carries for 46 yards (4.2 ypc) and he caught 1 of the 3 balls thrown his way for 11 yards. Carry caught 2 of 2 passes for 18 yards. If the Bears truly have turned the page on Forte, I'd expect Carey to find his way into a few rushing attempts as they close of the season.
|Zach Miller||64 - 100%||4 - 15%|
|Khari Lee||14 - 22%||10 - 37%|
|Rob Housler||7 - 11%||14 - 48%
Even though Zach Miller is "on the wrong side of 30," there aren't a lot of miles on his tires. I'd be fine with the Bears bringing him back on a contract extension. He ended the day catching all 6 of his targets for 57 yards.
Housler got in on the action with 1 catch on 1 target for 9 yards. I also find it interesting that he cut into some of Miller's special teams work. Housler is an athletic TE that has struggled with some injuries. Does that mini-bio remind you of anyone?
Lee will need to really take a step in play this offseason if he intends on being a part of the future.
|Alshon Jeffery||30 - 47%|
|Eddie Royal||61 - 95%|
|Marc Mariani||43 - 67%||4 - 15%|
|Deonte Thompson||8 - 12%||10 - 37%|
|Josh Bellamy||29 - 45%||16 - 59%|
Jeffery was limited with a hamstring injury, something he wouldn't talk about after the game, but he's been sounding like a guy that plans on staying in Chicago beyond this season. The Bears will need to decide if these minor injuries are just fluky things or if he's a player that will struggle to stay healthy all the time. He caught one of the 5 balls thrown his way for a 10 yard TD.
A healthy Royal should be a part of the offense next year, but he's another guy that has to prove himself. He caught 5 of 6 passes for 31 yards.
Mariani is in the final year of the 2 year contract he signed, so the Bears will have to decide what value he would bring them as a back up wide out. He has a career high 14 receptions and 188 yards receiving, but he will be 29 in May. Against the Vikings he caught 3 of 4 targets for 31 yards.
Bellamy caught 1 of 2 for 7 yards and he added a special teams tackle. Bellamy will be an unrestricted free agent after this season and I think he's proven himself as a bottom of the depth chart / special team type player. If the Bears don't bring him back, he'll find a gig somewhere.
Deonte Thompson is another UFA after this year, but I could see the Bears wanting him back. With his 5 kick returns for 153 yards (30.6 avg), he jumped to the top on the NFL kick return leader board. Among all returners with at least 10 kick returns this season, Thompson leads with a 32 yard average.
|LaRoy Reynolds||18 - 67%|
|Sherrick McManis||24 - 59%|
|Lamin Barrow||24 - 89%|
|Harold Jones-Quartey||14 - 42%|
|Robbie Gould||7 - 26%|
|Patrick Scales||7 - 26%|
|Patrick O'Donnell||7 - 26%
Gould hit a 51 yard field goal, extending his franchise record for 50 yard or longer FGs to 22. There's this too.
#Bears Robbie Gould is the 5th most accurate field goal kicker on 50 yard kicks or longer in the history on the #NFL at 22 for 30 (73.3%)— Lester A Wiltfong Jr (@wiltfongjr) December 21, 2015
Gould also hit both of his extra points and successfully executed an onsides kick.
O'Donnell put 3 of his 4 punts inside the 20 yard line and he had a 40.3 average.
This Vikes had 1 kick return for 22 yards.
McManis had a special teams tackle.
|Kyle Fuller CB||62 - 100%||6 - 22%|
|Adrian Amos S||62 - 100%||10 - 37%|
|Tracy Porter CB||58 - 94%|
|Chris Prosinski S||55 - 89%||14 - 52%|
|Demontre Hurst CB||24 - 39%||3 - 11%|
|Sherrod Martin S||4 - 6%||11 - 41%|
|Alan Ball CB||6 - 10%||3 - 11%
Prosinski had 7 tackles and Amos had 3.
Porter had 3 tackles while Fuller had 2. Hurst had a tackle and a QB hit while taking over the nickleback reps from the injured Bryce Callahan. I think Porter has earned a new contract with his play this season, but Alan Ball probably won't be back.
|Shea McClellin ILB||62 - 100%||6 - 22%|
|Jonathan Anderson ILB||18 - 29%||15 - 56%|
|John Timu ILB||38 - 61%|
|Sam Acho OLB||40 - 65%||14 - 52%|
|Pernell McPhee OLB||22 - 35%||6 - 22%|
|Willie Young OLB||29 - 47%||6 - 22%|
|Lamarr Houston OLB||33 - 53%|
Rookie UDFA Timu received the start over Christian Jones who was a healthy scratch, and he made the most of his opportunity in leading the Bears in tackles with 9. He added a tackle for loss. Timu seems to understand how to play downhill as an ILB, and I'd expect the Bears to take a good look at him these next two weeks.
McClellin was 2nd on the Bears in tackles with 8 total and he also had a TFL. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio still speaks highly of the soon to be free agent McClellin, but we'll have to see if GM Ryan Pace shares his thoughts.
Rookie UDFA Anderson had 2 tackles and a QBH.
McPhee picked up 4 tackles and a pass defense and Acho assisted on a tackle. Back up OLBs Houston (5 tackles) and Young (2 tackles, 1 sack, 2 TFL, 1 QBH) both continued their solid play, while Young did this.
OLB Willie Young is the 3rd player in #Bears history with a sack in 5 straight games joining Urlacher (2000) & Steve McMichael (1983 & 1991)— Lester A Wiltfong Jr (@wiltfongjr) December 21, 2015
Young may not like being called an outside linebacker, but he's growing into the position. His relatively inexpensive contract is good news for the Bears next year. Houston makes a bit more than you'd like to pay a reserve, but unless the Bears get into a salary pinch, I think he has a future in Chicago.
|Jarvis Jenkins||45 - 73%|
|Eddie Goldman||34 - 55%||6 - 22%|
|Will Sutton||30 - 48%||6 - 22%|
|Bruce Gaston||15 - 24%|
|Mitch Unrein||45 - 73%||13 - 48%
Sutton led his position group with 4 tackles.
Unrein and Gaston each had 3 tackles.
Jenkins had 2 and a TFL. I could see the Bears bringing both Jenkins and Unrein back next year.
Thoughts on the numbers this week?