With the Vikings and Bears going back-and-forth throughout the game on Sunday, there was no question one fanbase was going to come out elated while the other would be crushed by a brutal loss against a division rival. When Jay Cutler hit Martellus Bennett for the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds to play, it meant Bears fans would be the ones celebrating.
Chicago improved to 2-0 with its second down-to-the-wire victory. The close win tested the nerves of Bears fans, but Bennett ensured they would go home happy. Bennett has played well in two games for the Bears. He caught seven passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday. Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. of Windy City Gridiron wrote Bennett's contribution goes even beyond his stats:
How great of a fit has Martellus Bennett been for the Bears? His skill set is tailor made for the West Coast Offense. So far in two weeks, he's only been off the field for two offensive snaps. His ability to do everything a tight end should do, allows Marc Trestman to hide what he's trying to do offensively.
Minnesota appeared to have a chance to seal the game late in the fourth quarter before its drive stalled. Christopher Gates of the Daily Norseman didn't come away impressed with the playcalling on that final drive.
After a great play on defense by Letroy Guion to force a turnover from Matt Forte with a 27-24 lead, the Vikings maneuvered down to the Chicago 6-yard line, where they had a first and goal. On first down, Adrian Peterson ran for two yards, and the Bears burned a time out. Then things got wonky.
On second down, Ponder overthrew Kyle Rudolph on what would have been a touchdown had they been able to connect. The play stopped the clock and allowed Chicago to preserve a time out. On third down, with the Bears seemingly knowing it was coming, the Vikings handed off to Peterson again, who was stopped for no gain, and Blair Walsh came in to give the Vikings their last points of the afternoon and a 30-24 lead.
After the second down incompletion, I don't think there was any point in not taking another shot at the end zone. Ponder had been playing well, and the Bears appeared to be ripe for a play-action fake. If the clock is just going to stop after the play anyway, there wasn't a reason not to take a shot into the end zone. But, the Vikings settled for a field goal, and it wound up costing them at the end. Another example of playing not to lose rather than playing to win.
At 0-2 with two losses in the NFC North, the Vikings now have an early hole to dig themselves out of.