CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 16: Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears and Cedric Griffin #23 of the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field on October 16, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis /Getty Images)
The Bears who showed up for the game against the Vikings in no way resembled the disaster that played in Detroit on Monday night. With a tweaked lineup, a focused defense and an energized defense, the Bears beat the Vikings 39-10 on Sunday night. Devin Hester returned a kickoff for a touchdown, giving him the 17th return for his career.
The much-maligned defense started the game by forcing a three-and-out, and continued to give the Vikings trouble throughout the game. Stephen Paea, playing in place of the injured Matt Toeina, sacked Donovan McNabb in the end zone for a safety. Julius Peppers, who did not practice because of a hobbled knee, had two sacks. Amobi Okoye and Israel Idonije each recorded a sack, as well.
The defense completely neutralized the Vikings offense. Adrian Peterson, the second-best RB in the league coming into the game, ran for just 39 yards on 12 carries. McNabb threw for 177 yards, giving up 43 yards in sacks. He was pulled for first-round draft pick Christian Ponder, who played just well enough to create controversy in Minnesota.
On offense, the Bears struck early. In the first series, Jay Cutler hit Devin Hester for a 48-yard touchdown. The next TD was by ground, as Matt Forte and Marion Barber moved the ball down the field. In the second quarter, Cutler hit Sanzenbacher with a perfect pass in the end zone. Hester followed his touchdown catch with a 98-yard kickoff return, giving him the 17th of his career.
What allowed the offense to be so effective was that the protection held. Cutler was sacked just once, and even threw an impressive block against Pro Bowler Jared Allen for Matt Forte.
Next week, the Bears will travel to London to take on the Buccaneers. Both teams are coming off big wins.