by Bryan Dietzler
Having a first-hand, in-person view of a football game is the best way to watch it. This past Sunday afternoon, I had a chance to go and see the Chicago Bears host the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. The game was high energy as was the crown and the Bears seemingly easily handled the Minnesota Vikings winning by a score of 16-6.
This game saw a lot of players who hadn’t had much experience playing or played second string, step up and play especially on defense. They made the difference and the Bears easily won this game.
There wasn’t a lot of scoring action in this one unless you like field goals, but the Bears got the upper hand first. Shortly after starter Mitchell Trubisky went out, backup Chase Daniel threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Tarik Cohen to put the Bears up 7-0 quickly in the first quarter.
After a lot of ineptitude on both sides of the ball, Chicago managed to get a 25-yard field goal from Eddie Pinero to go up 10-0 in the second quarter. The score came on the heels of a 16-play 57-yard drive.
Chicago would go up 13-0 in the third quarter following a 38-yard field goal by Pinero. The score capped off a drive that saw that Bears lose four yards.
The Bears’ final score of the game came after a 9-play 62-yard drive which ended with a 30-yard field goal by Pinero. The score was 16-0. The Bears were poised for a shutout.
But the shutout didn’t happen. Minnesota headed down the field, with seeming ease, capping off a 13-play drive with a touchdown. The touchdown came courtesy of a two-yard run by Dalvin Cook. The two-point conversion failed and the score ended up at 16-6.
That’s how the game would end.
Bears on Offense
Six plays into the game, Mitchell Trubisky went out with a shoulder injury that looks like it will keep him out for a while. Daniels played well in his place but the Vikings didn’t have any tape on him and weren’t prepared. That can make a difference and it did. This happened last year, as well as Daniels’ first game, was good but his second game was a bit of a disaster.
Let’s hope that his second game is just as good, or better than his first.
The running game was able to get going, albeit a little bit and helped control the ball and the clock. Remember that the Vikings have a great run defense so getting the yardage that the Bears did was a big feat. Supplemented by accurate passing, the offense shined on Sunday. Even though all they could do is score 16 points.
Bears on Defense
The Bears’ defense was stifling. It was one of the best performances by their defense I have seen in a while. They virtually shut down the Vikings offense, in particular, their rushing attack which had been averaging well over 100 yards per game. They allowed just one score. The unit was filled with second-string players due to injuries and the mysterious missing Roquan Smith issue and they all played like starters.
The effort on defense was nearly flawless. Six sacks recovered fumbles, and constant pressure made them shine. They took care of Cook and didn’t allow him to get big.
They played tough and won.
The defense is outstanding.
I liked Matt Nagy’s use of his challenges. They made sense and he won them which helped lead to the Bears’ victory. You could see, being there in person, what seemingly made sense with the challenges and they were spot on. The defense was very well-coached and overall, got the best of the Vikings offense.
This is one of the better-coached games in recent history for the Bears.
Pinero delivered with three field goals and helped keep the Bears ahead of the Vikings. Coverage teams were good and Pat O’Donnell’s booming punt helped matters.
Special teams have been unsung heroes this season.
Player of the Game on Defense
I give this honor to all of the backups that played on defense. It looked like the number one unit was out on the field for the game because there wasn’t any drop off in play. These guys did great. It looks like they might have to do it again coming up against the Raiders.
We will see.
Player of the Game on Offense
My player of the game, on offense, is Daniels. He came into this game with hardly any reps and played to near perfection. Granted, there were a few passes that he didn’t complete that he should have but overall, his start was stellar. It looks like he will have at least one more start this weekend in London against the Raiders. Hopefully, he does well.
Before the game, we knew that Akiem Hicks would likely not play due to a knee injury. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel was out with a concussion suffered on Monday night. The biggest surprise of the game was with Smith. He was ruled out just before the game and it’s a mystery as to what is wrong with him. Hopefully, everything is ok.
The biggest and most concerning injury of this game came early on when Trubisky went down with a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum. He shouldn’t miss much time but the Bears look like they are in good hands with Daniel.
At least in the short term.
It appeared as if Ted Larsen was injured a couple of times in the game.
Sights and Sounds from the Game
Attending the games live and in person is the best way to go to view the action. The crowd was heavily involved in this game and made it difficult for the Vikings to hear plays being called. Several people in the stands were calling for Daniels to be the full-time starter. A few people around me were asking where Smith was and what was going on with him.
Overall, it was a very pleasant experience. It was a lot of fun and well worth the time and money spent.
The Bears will travel to London to take on the Raiders next Sunday. The Raiders are playing well, somewhat, but haven’t faced a defense the likes of the Bears.
A full preview of this game will be coming this weekend.