JC's Live Game Blog: Bears at Vikings

It may only be Week 3, but today's NFC North showdown between the 2-0 Bears and the 2-0 Vikings has the makings of being a huge game for both teams. Your Editor in Chief checks in live from the Metrodome for another installment of his live game blogs. Be sure to refresh this page every 10 to 15 minutes or so for all the happenings from the land of 1,000 lakes.

(11:30) Good afternoon, Bears fans. I'm doing a segment for a radio show in Green Bay very shortly, so once I get that taken care of, I'll have the game blog up and running. Huge game today. As well as the Bears have played so far, a loss in Minnesota would really bring them down to earth ...

(11:51) This game is going to be won in the trenches, no question about it. Thomas Jones has got to get it going today, although doing it in the face of Kevin and Pat Williams certainly won't be easy. The matchup of the day might be Bryant McKinnie and Steve Hutchinson going up against the likes of Ian Scott and Alex Brown on the other side of the ball ...

(12:03) The Vikings have won the toss and elected to receive ...

(12:08) Ryan Longwell boots a field goal for a 3-0 Vikings lead, the first time the Bears have trailed this season. The drive was helped along by a pseudo-pick play that got Travis Taylor free in the secondary. Nickelback Ricky Manning Jr. bumped right into Charles Tillman and never had a chance to get into coverage.

(12:11) How about that? Special teams coach Dave Toub gets creative with the opening kickoff return of the game and runs a bluff throwback pass. The Vikings bit on that play last week against the Panthers even though it didn't work. Rashied Davis splits the seam and gets all the way out to the Bears 43 yardline.

(12:17) Lovie Smith gets aggressive on the opening drive and goes for it on fourth down. Jones finds a crease and converts. Bears on the move ...

(12:25) Robbie Gould stays perfect on the season and ties the game 3-3. 41 yards out, and believe me, it would have been good from 55. Bears fans had to breathe a sigh of relief when Grossman got up after big boy Pat Williams pancaked him on third down ..

(12:40) The Bears have been a little sloppy with their tackling so far, but they get tough after the Vikings cross midfield and force a punt. The pass rush forced a Brad Johnson intentional grounding that killed the drive. Chester Taylor has found some open lanes in the running game, something to watch for as the first quarter comes to a close.

(12:50) The Vikings are literally blitzing on every play and putting all kinds of heat on Rex Grossman. They are daring the Bears to beat them with the pass. Offensive coordinator Ron Turner needs to call a few draws and screens to slow down this rush ...

(12:56) Awesome gang tackling there as the Bears finally force a three-and-out. That's big stop as far as field position goes, but Devin Hester can't quite get loose on the return. Charles Tillman proceeds to get an unnecessary roughness penalty to push the Bears back to their own 12 yardline though. Brutal penalty. Not to mention stupid ...

(1:08) Travis Taylor slips through the secondary for a big play, but he fumbles and turns it over to the Bears. Mike Brown forced it, and who's Johnny-on-the-spot coming up with the recovery? Rookie Mark Anderson. Every time he's on the field, good things happen. He's been impressive so far ...

(1:12) Olin Kreutz gets called for an illegal snap penalty, the seventh infraction on the Bears in the first half ...

(1:13) If you can tell me who Grossman was throwing that pass to, please let me know. That was one of the uglier interceptions you'll ever see. Minny has all the momentum right now, and this place is getting loud ...

(1:17) That horse-collar rule has got to be changed. If that's unnecessary roughness in this league, just start playing flag football. What an awful 15-yard penalty on Alex Brown that he didn't deserve ...

(1:22) Longwell boots a 26-yard field goal for a 6-3 Vikings lead. The Bears did a good job just keeping them out of the end zone there. With 1:08 to go in the second quarter, I think they will be quite happy to hit the locker room down just three points ...

(1:33) Grossman throws a beauty of a pass to Muhsin Muhammad, but he can't get out of bounds as the clock hits zero. 6-3 Minnesota leads as the teams head to the locker room. The Bears passing game got off to another hot start, but after two quarters, Grossman is just 10-of-20 for 132 yards and an interception. Jones has only six carries for 14 yards as the ground attack still can't get on track. Johnson is typical Johnson, 15-of-18 for 142 yards, with most of his completions to the second and third reads ...

(1:49) Why does Muhammad make so many tough catches and drop so many easy ones? That was a gorgeous grab on the far sideline. The Bears could really use some points on this opening drive of the third quarter ...

(1:53) Desmond Clark is limping off the field right now. They're gonna miss him in the red zone right here. Maybe John Gilmore can show up again this week ...

(1:58) Gould bangs a 24-yarder to tie the game 6-6. All the replay challenges in this game have been maddening. There's just a strange feel in the Metrodome right now, but I can't quite put my finger on it. You knew this was going to be a rough game. First touchdown probably wins this thing ...

(2:10) That's the second illegal snap penalty on Kreutz today. He's flinching for some reason. Maybe the crowd noise is having an effect ...

(2:19) 9-6 Bears as Gould kicks another field goal. How many penalties have there been in this game so far? It's been hard to get any rhythm on either side of the ball because of all the stoppages. Penalties and challenges have made this one tough to watch at times. Time for Brian Urlacher & Company to earn their money on this drive ...

(2:26) The Bears finally get to Johnson as Tommie Harris squeezes through and comes up with a sack. They have the lead, but a few first downs are crucial here as they have to start deep in their own territory at the 12 yardline. That's the end of the third quarter, Bears still leading 9-6 ...

(2:30) And there's the old Grossman. He makes a horrible decision on a flat pass to Jones and has it picked off by Antoine Winfield for a gift touchdown. Just seven seconds into the fourth quarter, the momentum has done a complete 180 as the Vikings take a 13-9 lead ...

(2:38) Is Jones going to break one tackle this season? Cedric Benson hasn't gotten off the bench yet, by the way. Even though Jones has been far from impressive again ...

(2:41) All you fantasy football guys who listened to me and drafted Gould, you can thank me know. He drills his fourth field goal of the day to trim the Vikings lead to 13-12, this time a career-long 49 yards. No doubt about this one either ...

(2:51) Longwell splits the uprights and extends the lead to 16-12. The Bears have kept the Vikings out of the end zone today, but that freebie TD that Grossman threw them is the difference right now. Time for a big return from Rashied Davis to shorten the field ...

(2:58) The missed tackles finally come back to bite the Bears in the backside as Mewelde Moore slips through half the defense on 3rd-and-5 to convert a crucial first down. Now they will have to burn the rest of their timeouts and will be lucky to get the ball back with two minutes left. No way should Moore have been able to move the chains there ...

(3:01) What a play by Tommie Harris as he destroys the offensive line and forces a fumble. Adewale Ogunleye pounces on it at the Vikings 37 yardline. Absolutely have to get the ball in the end zone here to win this game ...

(3:05) Grossman fires to Davis and hits him for a 24-yard touchdown to take the lead 19-16. 1:53 left in the game, so we're going to see real quick if the Bears defense can step up and secure this win. But Johnson will get a short field to work with as Troy Williamson returns it out to the 38 yard line ...

(3:12) Johnson throws the fade to Williamson on 4th-and-2, but he leads him too far as the ball harmlessly hits the turf. The defense needed to stuff them, and they did. A win like this can catapault this team through the rest of the season ...

(3:14) And that's the game. 19-16 is the final as the Bears open the season with three consecutive victories over NFC North opponents. Grossman ends the day with 278 yards passing and the game-winning touchdown to Davis. What a game. It's hard to overstate just how big a win this can be for Lovie Smith's crew. A season ago, they would have lost this one. But being able to survive that Grossman mistake and still come back to win speaks volumes about how far this team has come ...

Be sure to come back to BearReport.com tomorrow for all the analysis, all the quotes, and your Stud and Dud of the Week. Time to get excited, Bears fans. Something special is brewing in Chicago this season.

JC


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