Needing to rebound from a pair of disappointing defeats on national television, the Chicago Bears defeated the Minnesota Vikings 28-10 on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field. The well-rounded effort allows Chicago to improve to 8-3 on the season, keeping the team ahead of the Green Bay Packers in the standings for the time being.
After struggling through a couple of frustrating losses to the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers, respectively, during the previous two weeks, Chicago rebounded to play much stronger on Sunday. While the Bears outgained the Vikings by only 38 total yards, Chicago was clearly in control for most of the game.
With Jay Cutler back in the lineup after missing the past six quarters with a concussion, the Bears' offense looked much better than it had with back-up Jason Campbell under center. Cutler completed 23-of-31 passes for 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception, generally playing a solid brand of mistake-free football.
The Vikings didn't fare as well on offense, turning the ball over three times while going just 6-of-16 on third down opportunities.
Timing Is Everything
The Bears' offense didn't always move the ball with efficiency, but it did an exceptional job of eating away the clock. Focusing mostly on running plays and quick, short passes, the Bears managed to hold possession for over 37 minutes during the game, making it extremely difficult for the Vikings to get anything going on offense, particularly with quarterback Christian Ponder looking shaky.
Adrian Peterson did his part during the game, recording 108 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards, but he did lose a key fumble in the fourth quarter. It was otherwise an underwhelming game for Minnesota from a fantasy perspective as the passing game floundered.
Brandon Marshall had another solid game for Chicago, leading all receivers with 12 catches for 92 yards, though he failed to bolster his statistics by dropping a big touchdown reception in the final period. Michael Bush ran for just 60 yards on 21 carries, but he did score a pair of touchdowns.
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The Bears were favored to win the game by 6.5 points, so they easily covered the spread.
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While the Bears came away with the victory, they were admittedly ravaged by injuries during the game. At different instances, five different Chicago starters- wide receiver Devin Hester (concussion), right guard Lance Louis (knee), cornerback Charles Tillman (ankle), running back Matt Forte (ankle) and left guard Chris Spencer (knee)- left the game and didn't return.
Additionally, the Vikings saw both safety Harrison Smith and tight end Kyle Rudolph leave with apparent concussion symptoms.
The Bears (8-3) move on to host the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday while the Vikings (6-5) head north to take on the Green Bay Packers.