The Chicago Bears lost their third straight game on Sunday afternoon as they were blown out 38-17 by the Minnesota Vikings.
Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdowns and rushed for another as Minnesota swept their season series against the Bears, and the loss eliminates Chicago from playoff contention.
After a long kick return by Deonte Thompson set the Bears up at midfield, the team promptly proceeded to shoot themselves in the foot. A holding penalty from Hroniss Grasu negated a 35-yard run by Matt Forte, and then a poor decision by Jay Cutler led to a sack as he held onto the ball for too long. The Bears ultimately were forced to punt, and Pat O'Donnell was able to pin the Vikings deep in their own territory.
Unfortunately, poor field position didn't matter as the Vikings scored the game's first touchdown. Kyle Rudolph snared a first down pass and Adrian Peterson rushed for several more, and the 13-play drive ended as Teddy Bridgewater lofted a perfect pass to Stefon Diggs in the back of the end zone to put Minnesota up 7-0.
After Andrew Sendejo and Chad Greenway helped the Vikings hold the Bears to another three-and-out, the Minnesota offense came back on the field and promptly went back to work. Jerick McKinnon made a huge play on a screen pass to drive the ball into Bears territory, and even though Willie Young was able to sack Bridgewater to stop the drive, Blair Walsh still made the ensuing 53-yard field goal to make it a 10-0 game.
The Bears were finally able to force a three-and-out from the Vikings later in the second quarter, and after a punt left Chicago with good field position, they were able to take advantage. A facemasking penalty helped things along, and then Alshon Jeffery made his first catch of the day a critical one as he hauled in a touchdown reception to trim Minnesota's lead to 10-7.
The Bears' defense didn't seem to gain any momentum from the touchdown, and they ultimately surrendered another touchdown with 30 seconds to go in the half. McKinnon caught a pass in the flat, and after juking past McClellin he was able to drive all the way to the end zone to give the Vikings a 17-7 lead.
As the second half got underway, the Bears went sneaky and recovered an onside kick, but Cutler and the offense spoiled the opportunity as they turned the ball over. After Bridgewater found Jarius Wright for a first down, he then found Diggs for his second touchdown of the day as the Bears found themselves down 24-7.
The Bears did get a field goal to cut the lead to 24-10, but the Vikings still wouldn't let them back in the game. A Cutler interception set up Minnesota with tremendous field position, and a Bridgewater touchdown run gave them a commanding 31-10 lead.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the final minutes of the contest, with Forte scoring on a rollout pass from Cutler and Zach Line hauling in a touchdown catch to give Bridgewater his fourth touchdown pass of the game to give Minnesota the 38-17 victory.
The Bears will head back out on the road for the final time of the regular season next week when they take on former head coach Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.