Early Missed Opportunities, Hurt Late

The Bears were able to move the ball against the Minnesota defense all day, but it was their lack of execution inside the red zone through three quarters that led to defeat.

While Rex Grossman put together two scoring drives late in the fourth quarter, if the Bears could have had the same result through three quarters there is a good chance they would have left the Metrodome with a victory.

The Bears moved the ball on their opening possession by mixing up the run and pass. With first and 10 from the Minnesota 15, consecutive runs by Thomas Jones each yielded two yards. A false start by John Tait on 3rd down turned a manageable situation into a situation where the Vikings could come with pressure. Paul Edinger put the Bears up 3-0 on a 34-yard field goal, but leaving points on the board started a trend the Bears didn't want to see.

Momentum seemed to stay with the Bears when the Vikings Morten Anderson sailed a 46-yard field goal attempt wide right.

Grossman led another possession into Minnesota territory on a 27-yard completion to Jones. Bryan Johnson and Jones teamed up to give the Bears first and goal from the 8. Grossman tried to make a play with his feet and was striped by Lance Johnstone that was recovered by Kevin Williams.

Thanks to a great effort by Adewale Ogunleye, who ripped the ball away from Onterrio Smith on the following play, the offense had a chance to redeem their turnover.

The Bears started the second quarter with a false start on Desmond Clark. First and goal from the 7 was pushed back to 12. The Bears got as close as the 5, but had to settle for Edinger's second field goal.

On their opening possession of the second half consecutive completions from Grossman to Terrell and Wade respectively resulted in 20 and 40 yards. Another passing first down put the Bears inside the red zone for the fourth time 7 in possessions. However a chance to cut into a 17-6 lead went by the board when a holding penalty on Steve Edwards negated a first and goal completion to Terrell. Then Edinger pushed a 39-yard field goal wide right.

A Minnesota turnover inside the Bear 20 gave the Bears life. Michael Haynes leveled Kelly Campbell forcing a fumble that Hunter Hillenmeyer recovered and eventually handed the ball to Lance Briggs. The return gave the offense the ball in Viking territory. A first down pass to John Gilmore and runs by Jones put the Bears inside the Minnesota 20. A third and 3 incompletion gave Edinger another chance. He converted the 33-yard attempt 14 seconds into the fourth quarter, but five red zone opportunities resulted in just 9 points.

The Bears added two touchdowns in the closing minutes, but by then the Vikings were playing soft coverage and just trying to keep the clock running. If the Bears had been able to execute in the red zone then maybe Grossman didn't have to scramble for a desperation score, which resulted in a right knee sprain and him being carted off the field.

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