The Chicago Bears had a late lead against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, but they couldn't hold on as a Blair Walsh field goal as the clock expired sent the Bears to a 23-20 defeat.
The Bears got on the board first in the game, and it came as a result of an excellent Robbie Gould kick. After the team’s offense was stopped near midfield, Gould stepped up and hit a knuckling, fluttering ball that somehow found its way through the uprights to give the Bears a 3-0 lead.
The Bears’ defense managed to keep the Vikings largely contained in the early going, but a special teams breakdown ended up costing them. With several players out of position, Vikings punt returner Marcus Sherels found a seam and ran in a 65-yard punt return touchdown to put Minnesota up by a score of 7-3.
The Vikings opened up the second quarter with their running backs running roughshod over Chicago, with Adrian Peterson racking up yardage and Matt Asiata picking up a huge conversion on a 3rd-and-11 screen pass. Fortunately for the Bears they were able to finally stop the bleeding as the Vikings got deep into Chicago territory, and Blair Walsh popped in a field goal to make it a 10-3 game.
The Bears’ offense continued to struggle as the second quarter moved along, with several three-and-outs as Adam Gase opted for a conservative approach. Things then went from bad to worse for the Bears as Eddie Royal was forced from the game with a knee injury, robbing the team of one of their more potent receiving threats.
Ultimately, it was the defense that ended up getting things kick-started for the Bears. Kyle Fuller jumped a route and intercepted a pass from Teddy Bridgewater to set the Bears up deep in Minnesota territory, and Jay Cutler did the rest. The quarterback lofted a perfect pass to the back of the end zone, and Alshon Jeffery made a spectacular leaping catch to tie the game at 10-10 just before the end of the first half.
As the third quarter got underway, the Bears marched down the field with Jeffery racking up yards and receptions, but the team’s home field ended up costing them late in the drive as the receiver slipped and fell on his route. The Bears did get a field goal from Gould however to take their first lead of the afternoon at 13-10.
After the Bears made a big stop against the Vikings, the offense drove back down the field, but they were unable to convert. Gould attempted yet another field goal, but his attempt from 51 yards out sailed just wide of the left upright to keep the Bears’ lead at just three points.
The Vikings got a field goal to tie things up at 13-13, but the Bears responded with an incredible drive that ate eight and a half minutes off the clock. Jeffery made several big plays, including a catch to convert on a 4th-and-1 play, but the star was unquestionably Cutler. The quarterback found an opening as the Bears were trying to score, and even though he took a huge hit on the goal line, he managed to get the ball across the plane to give the Bears a 20-13 lead.
Late in the game, the Bears' defense made several costly mistakes, and the Vikings scored to even the score. Stefon Diggs did the damage, catching a pass and faking out Sherrick McManis as he scampered into the end zone to tie things up at 20-20.
The Bears looked as though they were going to get a first down to extend their final drive of the game, but Jeremy Langford dropped a pass near the sideline, and the team was forced to punt. A big catch from Charles Johnson put the Vikings in field goal range, and Walsh calmly knocked through the game-winner to give the Vikings an impressive victory.
The Bears, who are now 2-5 on the season, will play the San Diego Chargers next Monday night, with kick-off scheduled for 7:30 p.m.