Chicago Bears: Grading the Bears' Huge Win To Get Back into First Place
After a big win Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago Bears now find themselves atop the NFC North again. They are tied with the Green Bay Packers for first place, but the Bears do own the tiebreaker against the Packers.
In a big game, Chicago decided to show up and play big. They had the chance to all but eliminate the Vikings from playoff contention. With the big win Chicago now find themselves in the playoff hunt.
The game didn't start off too impressively for the Bears, as the Vikings scored early to take the lead. Chicago regained control of the game early in the second half, though, and never looked back. With balanced play-calling and a dominant defense, the Bears now believe they are a team to beat in the NFC.
Jay Cutler led the Bears down the field all afternoon and finished with three touchdown passes. After being pressured early on in the game, Cutler used his mobility to buy some extra time. That extra time led to completions.
He made one mistake by throwing an interception in the red zone in the second half but redeemed himself with a touchdown pass later in the game.
A big question mark surrounding the Chicago Bears before Week 10 was if they could establish a steady run game against the Minnesota Vikings. On Sunday the Bears ran the ball 38 times for 130 yards. Both Matt Forte and Chester Taylor had significant carries that paved the way to a Bears victory.
They finished with zero touchdowns, but let the Vikings commit to the run more often, making the Bears offense multi-dimensional.
Wide Recievers/Tight Ends
It was an all-around great effort by the Chicago Bears receivers and tight ends on Sunday. Every player on the core contributed in a way. Devin Hester, Greg Olsen and Kellen Davis all had touchdown receptions. Cutler found Davis wide open on a beautiful third down play in the fourth quarter to give the Bears a 14-point cushion.
Johnny Knox led the way with five receptions for 90 yards. Even when Knox was taken out of the game, Rashied Davis stepped in and made a critical third down reception to keep a drive alive for Chicago.
The offensive line continues their good play in Week 10 against a once-dominant Minnesota pass rush. The Bears line made the Vikings defensive line look non-existent. They gave up just one sack and shut Jared Allen down for the majority of the game. The Bears gave Cutler plenty of protection all game.
The Bears are building off their bye week and look to keep playing well on the offensive line. Play like this will surely lead to a nice, steady offense that can put up some points.
It's becoming clear that Julius Peppers doesn't have to have monster stats in order to be effective. We saw that once again in Week 10. Peppers' presence creates more opportunities for the rest of the line to shine.
The Bears got pressure up front against the Vikings all game long, forcing Favre into quick decisions which led to some nice plays by the Bears defense.
This position has probably been the most consistent all season for the Bears—against the Vikings, that was no different. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Pisa Tinoisamoa all played excellently. They completely shut down Adrian Peterson and the Vikings run offense, recording five tackles for loss.
The Bears got pressure and shot the gaps all game long. With the linebackers playing on another level, this defense will continue to shine. Lance Briggs had an interception late in the fourth quarter to all but seal the Vikings' fate.
The Bears secondary played a well-rounded game but hit some bumps along the road. Besides a few blown coverages, the secondary held up. They were key all game, shutting down the Vikings passing game. Chris Harris had his first interception on the year, and DJ Moore also had a big interception on a tipped pass early in the second half.
Completing the spectacular play of all three squads, the Bears special teams shined on Sunday. With Devin Hester back to return kick-offs, he gave the Bears great field position all game. He had two kickoff returns for 100 yards, including a 68-yard return in the third quarter.
Brad Maynard did a good job of keeping the Vikings in their own territory to start drives. Robbie Gould did miss a field goal in the swirling wind, but he made two other attempts.
The Bears coaching staff did a wonderful job in Sunday's win. Lovie did a good enough job to earn some respect back from a fan base that wanted him fired this past offseason. In fact, one of the biggest coaching moves Lovie did was moving Devin Hester back to returning kickoffs.
Mike Martz did a good job of mixing up the play-calling, drawing up 33 rushing plays and 35 passing plays. That gave the Bears a more balanced attack.
The defensive play-calling was solid as well, drawing up timely blitzes and never letting Favre establish a rhythm.