Chicago Bears

Bears Blow Lead, Fall to Vikings in Season Finale

In what was reportedly head coach Matt Nagy’s final game as head coach of the Chicago Bears, the team went out with a whimper on Sunday, blowing a two-score lead and losing 31-17 to the Minnesota Vikings.

After building up a 14-0 lead, the Bears could not figure out how to advance the ball on fourth down, with the climax occurring in the fourth quarter when Patrick Peterson picked off Andy Dalton on 4th-and-1 and took the ball all the way back to the end zone to give Minnesota the 14-point lead.

Dalton threw for 325 yards and two interceptions, playing in place of Justin Fields after the rookie was placed in the NFL’s COVID protocols.

Justin Jefferson and Ihmir Smith-Marsette both had over 100 yards receiving and a touchdown apiece in the Minnesota victory, and Dalvin Cook rushed for 79 yards in the win.

The Bears managed to put the ball into Vikings territory on their first drive of the day, but after a couple of incomplete passes from Dalton, Cairo Santos booted through a 43-yard field goal to give Chicago a 3-0 lead.

While the Vikings’ offense couldn’t get going, the Bears continued to let them stay in the game, failing to convert on consecutive 4th-and-short situations, including one at the Minnesota 13-yard line that saw Dalton get sacked for a loss of five yards in the second quarter.

After another Minnesota punt, the Bears did manage to kick through a field goal to make it 6-0. The Vikings then went three-and-out on their next drive as well, and this time Chicago was finally able to capitalize, with Dalton finding Damien Williams for a touchdown with just 31 seconds remaining in the half. Allen Robinson caught the two-point conversion pass, putting Chicago ahead 14-0.

Signs of impending trouble showed themselves as the half came to an end, with Cousins finding Jefferson and Smith-Marsette for consecutive huge gains. The Vikings did have to settle for a field goal to end the half, with the Bears leading 14-3 after 30 minutes.

The Bears’ secondary continue to struggle badly as the second half opened, with Cousins finding Smith-Marsette for a 44-yard touchdown pass that made it a 14-10 game.

A Bears field goal made it 17-10, but the Vikings started off the fourth quarter with a furious comeback, punctuated with a 45-yard touchdown pass to Jefferson that knotted things up at 17-17.

On Minnesota’s next drive, Cousins found KJ Osborn for another 21-yard touchdown pass, this one giving Minnesota their first lead of the afternoon.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, Dalton was picked off on 4th down on the Bears’ next drive, and Peterson brought the ball back 66 yards for a touchdown, punctuating the Minnesota victory.

The loss drops the Bears to 6-11 on the season, and they’ll miss the postseason for the second time in the last four years.

The team is expected to part ways with Nagy after Sunday’s game, but no official announcement has been made.

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