The bad news for the Vikings began when they arrived in the Windy City on Saturday, as they learned the Bears would have the services of starting QB Jay Cutler after all.
The way they played on both sides of the ball Sunday, the Bears might as well have had Jim McMahon starting at QB.
Minnesota played awful in the first half, and in the end they left Chicago on the receiving end of an ugly 28-10 setback in which just about everything that could go wrong – did.
QB Christian Ponder was sacked on the first play of the game, and that was the tempo setter for a Bears D that didn’t let up the whole day, and never let the Vikings come up for air.
Nick Roach set up the first touchdown by knocking the ball out of RB Adrian Peterson’s hands. Chris Conte set another TD with a 35-yard interception return, and Julius Peppers blocked a field goal.
Peterson didn’t help matters, as reports say he missed the team bus to Solider Field, and had to take a cab to the stadium, arriving only 45 minutes before kickoff.
After the game, the back who ran for 108 yards was not in the mood to talk about his cab ride to the stadium.
“I’m really not going to discuss that,” Peterson said. “Me and Coach actually haven’t had an opportunity to talk about it. It wasn’t a big deal. I came out and played. Most important is: What can you do to come back and get on track? That’s what got me focused.”
Michael Bush had two touchdowns on the ground for the Bears, as they pushed their lead further over the Packers in the NFC North with the win to move to 8-3 on the season.
Cutler was 23-for-31 with 188 yards, one touchdowns and one interception for the Bears, who snapped a two-game skid.
“This was a big win for us because you can’t lose division games at home,” said Chicago head coach Lovie Smith. “We were committed to the run and that really helped us today. Jay Cutler was really good today after coming off that injury. All of our guys came out ready to play.”
Ponder went 22-for-43 with 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Vikings, who with the loss fall to 6-5 on the season.
“It was a very disappointing game today since we didn’t execute the way we needed to on the road,” coach Leslie Frazier said. “We struggled in a number of areas, including third down and the red zone on both offense and defense. We didn’t get that done and they made some big plays on special teams.”
An ugly day all around for the purple, as with Peterson’s cab ride, having to play against Cutler and not Jason Campbell, and an offense that was stuffed by the Bears D, it’s back to the drawing board for the Vikings.
It gets no easier for the Vikings, who take on the Packers next Sunday in Lambeau Field.