Week 6 Game Recap: Minnesota Vikings 3, Chicago Bears 28
What you need to know
On their opening drive, the Minnesota Vikings moved the ball well against the Bears’ defense with a combination of quick accurate passing by Daunte Culpepper and shifty running by Mewelde Moore. However, the drive came up empty when the Vikings botched the snap on a 36 yard field goal attempt. The Vikings continued to move the ball well throughout the first half, but blew multiple red zone opportunities and put just 3 points on the board. In the second half, the Vikings reverted to uninspired, mistake ridden football.
Daunte Culpepper was sharp throughout most of the first half, but played poorly in the second half. He threw two bad interceptions and had no touchdowns. His passes were frequently thrown behind and beyond his open receivers. Absent from the Vikings’ passing attack was any semblance of a vertical passing game. On the receiving end, only Jermaine Wiggins distinguished himself with a solid effort, catching 10 balls for 68 yards. Despite having 13 balls thrown in his direction, Troy Williamson managed just four catches for 35 yards.
Among the Vikings’ running backs, only Mewelde Moore had a productive afternoon, with 109 combined rushing and receiving yards. Like every other Viking player in the game, he failed to find the end zone. Moe Williams and Michael Bennett were used sparingly and were ineffective.
The Chicago Bears handed out an old-fashioned beating to their long-time division rivals. A formidable defense and a patient offense centered around a potent running attack were keys to their success. Despite giving up large chunks of yardage to the Vikings in the first half, the Bears defense was stout in the red zone. They failed to yield a touchdown on the day, and kept the Bears in the game until the offense could get on track.
Kyle Orton looked like a rookie quarterback much of the time, but he also came through with a number of clutch passes that helped propel his team to victory. His miscues included an interception, a lost fumble on a botched handoff to Thomas Jones, and multiple errant throws. But he also threw two touchdowns on the afternoon, and led a balanced Bears’ offensive attack. Among Bears’ receivers, Desmond Clarke had a career day, with four catches for 19 yards and two touchdowns. Though he did not find the end zone, Muhsin Muhammad figured prominently into the Bears’ passing game. He had five catches for 48 yards on 13 targets.
To the surprise of many fantasy owners, Thomas Jones started in the backfield despite his injured knee. Jones did not seem at all limited by his injury, as he total 89 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns. Notably, Cedric Benson had only three carries in the game, even though Chicago led by more than two touchdowns for most of the fourth quarter.
What you ought to know
In the early part of the game, Culpepper completed seven of his first eight passes and moved the ball effectively with quick timing passes. He showed no ill effects from his knee injury, stood in the pocket, and made crisp passes in the face of Chicago blitzers. However, things fell apart quickly and completely for Culpepper in the second half. In the face of an unrelenting Bears’ pass defense, Culpepper missed open receivers, had passes blocked at the line, and added two picks to his league high 12 total interceptions. Culpepper threw for 237 total yards and was sacked four times.
|RB Mewelde Moore, Rush: 14 - 57 - 0, Rec: 5 - 52 - 0 (10 targets)|
Moore started in the backfield for the Vikings, and saw more action than any other Vikings’ ball carrier. Although he did not find the end zone, Moore actually pieced together a pretty solid performance. He was used effectively in the passing and running game, and finished with 109 combined yards. Moore had a great 25 yard run on the Vikings’ first drive of the game, on which he had a nice cut back at the line of scrimmage before turning upfield.
Bennett barely played in this game. He finished with just eight yards on three attempts.
Williams was not a factor in the game.
Robinson had 41 yards on the day on four catches.
Williamson was targeted often by his quarterback, but finished the day with just four catches. In his defense, many of the passes thrown in his direction were well off the mark. Williamson dropped a 20+ yard pass that would have given the Vikings the ball deep in Chicago territory early in the second quarter. He was also targeted on a deep sideline route on a pass that went 50 yards in the air, but the ball was underthrown and nearly picked off. Williamson was also wide open in the end zone on a fade pattern from the Chicago 15 yard line, but the pass was badly overthrown and uncatchable.
Taylor had a nice 31 yard catch on a post route to move the Vikings deep into Chicago territory in third quarter action. Aside from this reception, he had a quiet afternoon.
Robinson had just one catch in the game for four yards. He was also used as a punt and kick returner.
Wiggins emerged as Culpepper’s favorite target in this game. Culpepper went to Wiggins on the Vikings’ second and third plays of the day for successful completions, and he continued looking his way throughout the day. Many of Wiggins’ catches came on check downs when Culpepper was unable to find open receivers downfield. Though he didn’t score a touchdown, Wiggins was targeted several times in the red zone.
Edinger had a miserable day. He pulled up short on a muffed snap on a 36 yard field goal attempt. Replays showed that he would have been able to get the kick off had he trusted his holder to get the ball down in time. Edinger went on to badly miss a 52 yard attempt, and had a 32 yard field goal attempt blocked in the third quarter. He did connect on a 23 yard field goal attempt.
The Vikings’ rush defense played reasonably well. The unit kept Thomas Jones in check for most of the game, until they allowed him to score on a 24 yard run early in the fourth quarter. In total, the Vikings gave up just 95 yards rushing to all Chicago ball carriers on 30 total attempts.
The Vikings’ pass defense also had a solid afternoon. They blitzed frequently, sacked Orton three times, and intercepted him once. The unit also had a forced fumble and touchdown return nullified by an offsides penalty.
|QB Kyle Orton, Pass: 16 - 25 - 117 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 4 - 0|
Orton had his share of struggles in this game, but played well enough to help his Bears overcome the hapless Vikings. On the negative side, he had several blocked passes, a number of errant throws, and often failed to see open receivers. He fumbled a hand off to Thomas Jones and threw an interception when he forced a deep pass to Muhammad into double coverage. On the positive side, Orton made all the throws he needed to make to lead his team to victory. His two touchdown passes were both thrown to his tight end in short yardage situations.
|RB Thomas Jones, Rush: 23 - 89 - 2, Rec: 1 - 6 - 0 (1 targets)|
Jones started the game at running back and showed no ill effects from his knee injury. Although he did not reach the 100 yard plateau, Jones had another impressive outing. He ran for 89 yards and scored two touchdowns. On his first touchdown, Jones ran off tackle to the right for 24 yards and ran into the end zone virtually untouched. His second touchdown came late in the game on a one yard goal line plunge. Jones did lose a bad fumble early in the fourth quarter.
Benson failed to take advantage of his few attempts in this game, totaling just 2 yards on three carries. It’s worth mentioning that Benson carried the ball only three times in the game, despite his team being up by a wide margin late in the contest. The announcers noted that Benson looked uneasy when he was on the field.
Edwards was utilized only in the passing game. He gained 13 total yards on the two passes thrown his way.
Peterson saw his lone opportunity of the day in the passing game, a seven yard reception.
Muhammad had a modest 48 yards on five catches, despite being targeted 13 times by his quarterback. Although Muhammad can be blamed for two dropped passes, many of the passes thrown in his direction were uncatchable. Muhammad had a nice catch on a crossing route down to the Vikings’ six yard line to set up the Bears’ first touchdown.
Wade had just one catch for four yards in the passing game. He made a greater contribution in the return game with a 49 yard punt return that led to the Bears’ first touchdown.
Bradley’s only catch of the game, a 15 yard reception on a comeback route, came on the Bears’ first touchdown drive in the waning minutes of the first half.
Clark had his best performance as a Chicago Bear. He scored the Bears’ first two touchdowns, both on short passes from the goal line. In addition, his other two catches converted third downs to sustain Chicago drives.
Reid was not a major factor in the game.
Gould connected on all of his four extra point tries. He did not attempt any field goals.
The Bears’ rushing defense played reasonably well against the Vikings, allowing just 80 yards on the ground. The unit was not tested extensively in the second half, when the Vikings were playing catch up and forced to pass the ball often.
The Chicago pass defense was particularly stout against the Vikings. They successfully took away the Vikings’ deep passing game, forcing Culpepper to check down to his backs and tight ends. In addition, they kept constant pressure on Culpepper, forcing inaccurate and ill advised throws time and again. In total, the Bears pass defense had four sacks, two interceptions, and just missed scoring a touchdown when cornerback Charles Tillman was pushed out of bounds at the Vikings’ three yard line at the end of a 55 yard interception return.