Bears self-destruct in loss to Vikes

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Bears RB Matt Forte

Bears RB Matt Forte

Minnesota QB Teddy Bridgewater threw four touchdown passes and ran for another, but the lengthy list of mistakes the Chicago Bears  made contributed mightily in a disillusioning  38-17 loss to the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

The Bears lost their third straight and drop to 5-9. The Vikings remain squarely in playoff contention with the victory, improving to 9-5.

Chicago struggled on both sides of the ball in this one-sided defeat. The Bears defense couldn’t contain Bridgewater, who played a nearly flawlessly game. He completed 17-of-20 passes for 231 yards and frustrated the Chicago attack unit with key third down conversions. As the statistics note, Bridgewater’s accuracy was his greatest weapon, methodically moving Minnesota downfield and using his mobility to extend plays.He even earned toughness points by barreling over Bears defenders on his way to the endzone on a 12-yard scramble for a score.

Even with Bridgewater hitting on all cylinders, the Bears helped him with a slew of missed tackles, broken assignments and defensive penalties. It’s become clear 14 games in that a major tweaking of the personnel needs to occur before the Chicago “D” can regain its teeth.

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Offensively, things went from bad to worse. The offensive line sprang leaks for the second straight week, failing to handle an attacking Vikings defense missing three key pieces. ROT Kyle Long and center Hroniss Grasu appeared to be the worst culprits. Minnesota sacked Bears QB Jay Cutler five times and harassed him plenty of other times. Long couldn’t handle the pass rush of Vikings DE Brian Robison, who used a mix of speed and power to find himself in the Cutler’s grill most of the afternoon.

Under siege, Cutler turned in one of his worst performances of the season. Though his numbers read a fairly efficient 26 of 37

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for 231 yards and two scores (10 yarder to Alshon Jeffery, 4 yards to Matt Forte), Cutler’s fumble on the Robison sack and interception on a screen pass intended for Forte led directly to 14 Minnesota points.

In a brief visit with reporters after the game, Cutler commented on the offense’s woes. “We, the players, have to be accountable.”

Bears head coach John Fox echoed his QB’s sentiments. “It wasn’t very good today. We took a couple steps back.”

With nothing to play for but pride, the Bears will lace it up next Sunday against former coach Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Bear Tracks: K Robbie Gould was one of few Bears bright spots, hitting a 51 yard field goal that broke a brief slump and executing an effective onside kick to begin the second half that Chicago recovered…..Rookie undrafted free agent John Timu got the start at ILB in place of Christian Jones and was active. Unofficially, he was credited with 8 tackles…WR Alshon Jeffery sustained a hamstring injury and left the game….KR Deonte Thompson opened the game with a 49-yard return that set the Bears up at midfield. Unfortunately, penalties and a sack rendered the return meaningless on the Bears first possession….Chicago’s December swoon continues. The Bears have lost 8 of their last nine games in the year’s final month.

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