After a first half that featured a total of 45 points between the two teams, the pace between the Chicago and Minnesota Vikings slowed down in the third quarter.
The only thing of note that happened in the third quarter was a field goal by Vikings’ kicker Blair Walsh that tied the game at 24.
The game remained tied at 24 as the two teams entered the fourth quarter.
The Vikings forced another turnover of Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler on the first play of the fourth quarter when Cutler was picked off for the second time of the game after trying to connect with wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
After the interception, through a mixture of Adrian Peterson runs and Ponder scrambles, the Vikings managed to drive the ball into Bears’ territory. After a ruling that initially gave the the Vikings a first down on a third-down Ponder scrabble, a challenge by Bears’ head coach Marc Trestman was won putting the Vikings in a fourth down position. The Vikings decided to go for it on fourth down and converted with a Peterson rush.
On the next play Peterson lost 13 yards on a carry and that led to the Vikings settling for a field goal to give them a 27-24 lead.
The momentum continued for the Vikings as on the Bears’ next offensive series, Matt Forte–who was the focal point of the Bears offense on Sunday–fumbled in which Minnesota recovered.
In what was a small victory for the Bears at the time, the defense held the Vikings to a field goal after the Matt Forte fumble.
Despite all that went against the Bears in the second half, Cutler and the Bears offense orchestrated another fourth quarter comeback as late in the fourth quarter–10 seconds remaining to be exact–a Martellus Bennett touchdown reception from Cutler gave the Bears a 31-30 victory.
There was,however, concerning signs for the Bears in their game against the Vikings on Sunday. Not only did the Bears have 4 turnovers, but the Bears offense failed to do anything in the second half with the exception of the final two minutes. Of course the turnovers certainly played a part in their inability to have success, but from a play-calling perspective, it seemed as if the team struggled in responding to the Vikings’ adjustments.
Also, the Bears offense struggled late in the fourth quarter with their two-minute offense. For whatever reason, the Bears struggled to operate with a sense of urgency as seconds were running off the game clock. That being said, Cutler proved clutch as he orchestrated his second straight fourth quarter comeback for the Bears as he connected on the game winning touchdown to Bennett.
In addition, the Bears’ defensive line struggled to generate consistent pressure on Christian Ponder. As Ponder proved, the Vikings’ quarterback is pretty capable when given time to make plays. The Bears’ defensive line gave him time on Sunday and that is what should have cost the team the game had it not been for the late Bennett touchdown.
It essentially was a role reversal for the Bears from their game against the Bengals last week. The Bears were unable to respond to the adjustments that the Vikings made and that should have been the difference in the game. But Cutler and Bennett connected on the game-winning touchdown with under 20 seconds remaining in the game.
The Bears are now 2-0 heading into their Sunday night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.