The Chicago Bears 23-20 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday was certainly disappointing. In a game that the Bears needed to win, the team was plagued with physical and mental mistakes. Those mistakes are certainly on display in this edition of “the good, the bad, and the ugly” as Da Windy City Breaks down the Bears performance against the Vikings.
The Good: Alshon Jeffery continues his ascension to being one of top-tier wide receivers in the league. In the game against the Vikings, Jeffery had a Calvin Johnson-esque performance as the receiver caught 12 passes for a total of 249 yards and two touchdowns. This season has been a breakout season for Jeffery. This is the second time this season that Jeffery compiled more than 200 receiving yards in a game, and this is the second time this season that Jeffery broke the individual game record for the Bears for most receiving yards in a single game.
Bears running back Matt Forte also put in a good performance against the Vikings. Forte rushed for a total of 120 yards on 23 carries. More importantly, Forte presumably would have single-handedly put the Bears in a position to win the game in overtime had Trestman not opted for the 47-yard field goal attempt on second down.
The Bears pass rush was also impressive in their game against the Vikings. More specifically, the Bears blitz packages were constantly creating pressure on the Vikings’ quarterbacks. Julius Peppers continued his string of success as the veteran defensive end recorded 2.5 sacks on the day.
The Bad: The statistics of quarterback Josh McCown would suggest that the quarterback had another quality performance on Sunday. McCown was 23 of 36 passing for a total of 355 yards with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Statistics don’t always tell the truth. McCown was one of reasons why the Bears lost on Sunday. Throughout the game, McCown was inaccurate with his passes and was bailed out by the Bears’ receivers more times than not including on one of his touchdown passes to Jeffery. McCown also had an interception that was negated because of a Vikings’ penalty. McCown also made a crucial fumble in the fourth quarter in a time when the Bears offense needed to eat the clock and take care of the ball. Something is to be said for the fact that Bears head coach Marc Trestman opted to run with Forte in overtime instead of allowing McCown to run the full-offense.
The Ugly: Trestman does not get off easy for his coaching on Sunday. The most inexplicable decision by Trestman was made in overtime when the head coach elected to attempt a 47-yard field goal on second down. In overtime or game-ending situations, it is common practice for the coaches to elect to take the game-winning field goal on third down to allow room for error. But not second down; especially when it was a 47-yard field goal attempt. Now there is no question that Robbie Gould will make a 47-yard field goal 9 times out of 10, but it was an attempt that could have been shorter. On that drive in overtime, Forte was finding holes in the Vikings defense. It made no sense to attempt the field goal on second down and nothing Trestman could say will justify the decision.
The Bears lack of discipline in their game against the Vikings was also ugly. Rookies linebacker Jonathan Bostic and safety Chris Conte were flagged for crucial penalties in the fourth quarter and overtime that helped the Vikings maintain control of the game. Bostic was flagged for a taunting penalty late in the fourth quarter on a third down play when the Vikings were in the red-zone. The penalty gave the Vikings a new set of downs. Say what you want about the legitimacy of a taunting penalty, but Bostic needs to know the rules of the game. It was a rookie mistake in its true form and one that could have hurt the Bears. Bostic was bailed out as linebacker Khaseem Greene picked off a Matt Cassel pass on the second play after the penalty.
The Bears mistakes were simply too much for the team to overcome as the performances by Forte and Jeffery were not enough to secure a victory for the team.