Bears 28 Vikings 10
It was good to have Cutler back under center after missing last week with a concussion. A tough divisional game vs. the Vikings turned out to be just that. The Bears had 5 players leave due to injury and getting healthy this week to face the Seahawks will be critical. The Bears move to 8-3 and remain in first place in the NFC North. Here is the breakdown:
Jay Cutler looked good after returning from a concussion sustained two weeks ago against the Houston Texans. Cutler was 23/31 for 188 yards. He threw 1 TD and 1 INT. Cutler showed mobility and had to work with a makeshift offensive line because of injuries. Cutler was hit with a 15 yard penalty on a scramble that ended with him flipping the ball at the Vikings player. His lack of composure cost the Bears critical yards. There were a few forced passes to Marshall, but all in all it was good to have #6 back under center.
Running backs: A-
Michael Bush rushed 21 times for 60 yards and 2 TD's. The numbers may not be impressive, but Bush was critical to the Bears win. Bush kept the chains moving and ran hard between the tackles. Bush also showed his value when Matt Forte left the game with a leg/ankle injury. Matt Forte had 14 carries for 43 yards and 1 fumble. The fumble came on the opening drive for the Bears and was just a lack of ball control by Forte.
Brandon Marshall continues to impress and be Cutler's favorite target. Marshall was targeted 17 times and caught 12 of them for 92 yards. Marshall has already eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the season. Marshall continues to do the dirty work against the defenses big bodies to gain yards. Earl Bennett showed up this week. He was targeted 4 times for 45 yards. Bennett was also good for 3 first downs. Kellen Davis caught one pass for 15 yards to set up a Bush TD. Davis, however, dropped two other balls that were catchable. Matt Spaeth contributed with a 13 yard TD catch. Evan Rodriguez saw a 11 yard pass out of the backfield for his first NFL catch.
Offensive Line: A-
The line saw a shakeup this week with Jonathan Scott (RT) and Chris Spencer (LG) inserted into the starting lineup. Scott was impressive on the right side in his first game as a Bear. The line saw more shakeup throughout the game because of injuries. Chris Spencer and Lance Louis both left the game with knee injuries. Edwin Williams and Gabe Carimi both came into the game to play guard. J'Marcus Webb did a good job on Jared Allen, who did not register a sack in the game. Jay Cutler even volunteered to tie Webb's shoe when it came lose in field. A very comical moment compared to the heat he received for his Week 2 shove. With the line being a revolving door today, you have to give them credit for their performance. Cutler was only sacked once when he tripped on Roberto Garza's foot. Health will be a key factor for this unit as Seattle comes to town next week.
Defensive Line: A-
Christian Ponder was only sacked twice in the game, but was under pressure. Henry Melton sacked Ponder on the first play of the game. Shea McClellin and Israel Idonije both shared a sack later. The line did a good job of limiting Adrian Peterson's ability to get that top speed out of the backfield. They challenged the Vikings offensive line all day.
Lance Briggs had a good day with 7 total tackles, 5 of which were solo. Briggs was also involved in breaking up 2 critical passes. Nick Roach saw a lot of minutes this week with the Vikings running the offense through Peterson. Roach had 6 tackles, 5 which were solo. Roach also stripped Peterson causing a fumble that Tillman recovered. Brian Urlacher had 4 total tackles. The linebackers helped in limiting Peterson's running game, which was essential to the Bears victory.
A ankle injury to Charles Tillman saw Kelvin Hayden getting heavy minutes at the corner position. Hayden did a good job of breaking up a fourth quarter touchdown pass for the Vikings. Tillman recovered Roach's strip of Peterson, but had to leave the game with a ankle injury. Tim Jennings did a good job with his tackling and finished with 5 solo tackles. Chris Conte and Major Wright were decent with limiting Adrian Peterson. Peterson is a difficult assignment for anyone to tackle. Conte broke up 2 passes and had a interception that setup a Bears touchdown.
Special Teams: B+
Devin Hester continues to struggle in his return game. Hester exited the game with a concussion in the 1st quarter. Eric Weems returned 3 kickoffs for just over 20 yards a piece. Robbie Gould was good from 46 and 47 yards on FG's. Adam Podlesh executed a 2 point conversion on a fake PAT. Podlesh also had two punts inside the 20. Julius Peppers blocked a field goal attempt. The coverage for the Bears was good not allowing the Vikings much in returns.
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