CHICAGO – With a bye week ahead and behind the pack in the NFC playoff race, Week 10 featured quite a pivotal contest for the Bears.
Already with three-straight losses entering their second division game of 2020, a 5-1 start was on the verge of getting completely away from Matt Nagy’s team in mid-November. The head coach is pulling out the stops, giving up play calling duties for the first time with the team.
Bill Lazor made the calls on Monday night against the Vikings at Soldier Field, but not much changed in another low-scoring contest for this version of the Bears which had fans groaning with every offensive play.
The change in play callers did nothing to turn the Bears’ fortunes in a 19-13 loss to Minnesota on Monday night. The team has now lost four-straight games and falls to .500 for the first time this year as they head to the bye week with a trip to Green Bay to face the Packers on primetime on Sunday, November 29th.
Perhaps the Bears will have to look at another quarterback option since Nick Foles was carted off in the final minute with an injury. He was replaced by Tyler Bray since Mitchell Trubisky remains out with a shoulder injury.
In the end, the offense finished with 149 total yards – with just 32 of those coming in a second half where the unit failed to score a point.
The game got off to an auspicious start when both teams traded turnovers on their first possessions. Danny Trevathan and Tashaun Gipson teamed up on knocking the ball out of Kyle Rudoph’s hands to end a promising Vikings’ drive. Two plays into the game, however, Nick Foles and the offense gave it back, as his pass went off the hands of Anthony Miller and into Minnesota’s Harrison Smith.
Kirk Cousins made the Bears pay as he hit Adam Thielen on a well-executed 17-yard touchdown play that made it 7-0.
Hope for the Bears offense came when they gained 70 yards on their next series but it stalled inside the five-yard line, forcing a Cairo Santos field goal to make it 7-3. Khalil Mack could take credit for another field goal in the second quarter when his first interception since Week 1 of 2018 set up a short field at the Minnesota 45-yard line.
Santos got a few more yards but did most of the work, knocking down a 42-yard field goal to make it 7-6.
Cordarrelle Patterson delivered one of the more electric plays of the Bears’ season to open the second half, racing past defenders for a 104-yard touchdown return to give his team the lead. His eighth kick return score of his career ties the modern-day NFL record held by Leon Washington and Josh Cribbs.
Yet the special teams gave one back when Dwayne Harris fumbled a punt later in the quarter, allowing the Vikings to get a field goal to make it a three-point game. Meanwhile, the Bears’ offense called by Lazor sputtered, gaining just three total yards in their first four drives.
With Akiem Hicks out with a hamstring injury, Minnesota had a pair of lengthy scoring drives in the third and fourth quarter. A 60-yard march led to a field goal while nine-play, 63-yard drive produced a second Cousins-to-Thielen touchdown connection, with a botched extra point attempt leaving the advantage for the Vikings at six.
The Bears’ offense would have no response, but did get into Vikings’ territory late in the fourth quarter thanks to Anthony Miller’s 32-yard punt return. Yet Foles and the receiver just barely missed on what would have been a touchdown connection on fourth down on that drive.
Foles was injured with 44 seconds left and Bray couldn’t lead a drive as the Bears’ offense struggled again in a fourth-straight defeat.