JC's Game Blog: Bears vs. Vikings

Be sure to refresh this live blog every now and then for all the goings on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field in Chicago. From the field to the sideline to the press box, JC will make you feel like you're a part of the game.

Greetings, Bears fans. This had the makings of an ugly football game even before Mother Nature decided to open the heavens. The tarp has been on and off the playing surface all morning long, but it looks like the rain is going to be here the rest of the day. That puts a premium on the running game for head coach Lovie Smith's crew, which isn't necessarily good news even though he always wants to run the football. Remember Minnesota has the No. 1 rush defense in the NFL and controls the trenches more often than not ...

Inactive today for the Bears are CB Nathan Vasher, FB Lousaka Polite, S Josh Gattis, LB Darrell McClover, OG Josh Beekman, WR Mike Hass, and DT Darwin Walker. Kyle Orton will serve as the third quarterback. As for the Vikings, CB Ronyell Whitaker, RB Mewelde Moore, TE Garrett Mills, OG Brian Daniels, OT Chase Johnson, WR Aundrae Allison, and DE Jayme Mitchell will sit this one out. Brooks Bollinger is the No. 3 QB. Anthony Adams will make the start in place of Walker at defensive tackle, Danieal Manning steps in for Vasher again at cornerback, and Brandon McGowan moves into Manning's spot at free safety ...

The Bears have won the toss and elected to receive ...

The Bears gained two first downs on the first two plays of their opening possession, but that's it as Brad Maynard will punt for the first time today. Once again, Cedric Benson drops a pass out of the backfield that he should have had. Former Midway Monster Bobby Wade is greeted with a chorus of boos at Soldier Field as he lines up to field the punt ...

The Vikings put together a nice little drive before stalling just out of field-goal range. What a shock, Troy Williamson dropped a pass that hit him right between the numbers, although Adrian Peterson looked awfully fast on his first carry. He sprinted around right end for 27 yards before being pushed out of bounds by Adam Archuleta ...

Benson rips off another good run on the first play of the drive, but that's it as Maynard will punt it away again. 26 yards already for Benson on just four carries, but he's dropped a pair of passes out of the backfield and simply looks lost out in space running patterns ...

Lance Briggs just doesn't miss any tackles, that's all there is to it. He drops Peterson for a 3-yard loss to blow up that drive as Chris Kluwe will punt it away to Devin Hester. This game has gone pretty much to plan so far, boring and ugly for both sides ...

Boring and ugly until Hester decides to do his thing, of course. He just did it again, ladies and gentleman, this time from 89 yards out as the Bears take the lead in electrifying fashion. As I've written many times before, I simply have no more superlatives for that guy because I'm doing him a disservice at this point. Just unbelievable, what else can I say? Robbie Gould boots the extra point for a 7-0 Bears advantage with 1:56 left in the opening stanza ...

Man, that was some throw from Tarvaris Jackson. I saw Williamson streaking past Archuleta and pretty much called the touchdown even before the ball was in the air. And just like that, the Vikings come back and tie it 7-7 from 60 yards out on the last play of the first quarter ...

Touchdown Bears as Bernard Berrian finds the end zone for the first time this season, a 39-yard strike from Brian Griese down the right sideline. Gould splits the uprights once again to put the home team back in front 14-7 with 11:45 remining before halftime. That was Griese's first shot downfield the entire game, and Berrian certainly showed no ill effects from that toe injury right there ...

Three-and-out for the Vikings, and it looks like there's a bad case of the dropsies going around for both teams today. For the Bears, Muhsin Muhammad dropped a pretty easy throw on the previous drive before Griese hit Berrian, and then Minnesota rookie Sidney Rice can't handle a quick slant from Jackson that could have been a big gainer because he had nothing but real estate in front of him. It's a little sloppy out there with the rain and all, but it's not that bad ...

Third-and-long means a predictable screen pass for Adrian Peterson – the other one, by the way – that comes up well short. The Bears tried a reverse to Hester that was quite exciting for a 3-yard loss since he went the complete opposite direction of where the play was scripted to go. Maynard boots a beauty of a directional punt and pins Minny back at the 16-yard line ...

Alex Brown sacks Jackson on third down to put an end to that Vikings drive. Hester is back deep once again waiting for the punt, but he can only manage 9 yards on that return. Jamar Williams went out with a rib injury and is questionable to return, and now Rashied Davis is a little slow to get up after the punt ...

Griese just aboout got his head taken off by Ben Leber, who comes up with the sack blitzing off the left edge around Fred Miller. Maynard's punt bounces into the end zone, so the Vikings will take over at their own 20. The action has slowed down considerably since all those fireworks toward the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second ...

Good gracious, that was an unbelievable run by Peterson that puts both his strength and speed on display. Up the middle, to his left, and then all the way back to his right for 67 yards and a sick touchdown. Yeah, he's the real deal, folks. 14-14 with 2:19 left in the first half. Benson couldn't have put together a run like that if his life depended on it ...

"This is the two-minute warning" ...

First-rounder Greg Olsen was known for his soft hands coming out of Miami, but he just dropped one down the seam that could have gone for about 30 yards. So much for getting the lead back before intermission. Griese ultimately fumbles on 4th-and-short in a pileup, as Pat Williams comes up with the recovery and gives Minny's offense one last chance with just over a minute to go in the half ...

Jackson just airmailed a pass intended for fullback Tony Richardson that could have gone for a touchdown since he was so wide open. Instead, Kluwe punts the ball away with just 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter. Griese comes out with four wide receivers, but don't be shocked if the play-callling is conservative and the team is content to head to the locker room all square ...

Jason McKie gets his first carry of the afternoon as the Bears just run out the clock with five seconds to go in the half, but he's absolutely drilled by E.J. Henderson and coughs up the football. Antoine Winfield pounces on it, but there isn't any time left on the clock and the teams start jogging toward the locker room. Everyone except McKie, who's still down on the field after taking that vicious shot from Henderson ...

Nothing happening for the Vikes on their first drive of the second half, which means Hester will get another chance to work his magic in the return game. Seriously, I don't know why Chester Taylor is even a part of the game plan these days considering how good Peterson has been thus far. McKie, by the way, has an injured neck and may not return ...

Griese is pretty good with the short and intermediate throws, but he's no better than Rex Grossman when it comes to throwing on the run. He just bounced one to Desmond Clark on third down, but he had Muhammad wide open about 20 yards downfield along the right sideline. Maynard will punt again, his fifth of the day ...

Three-and-out again for Minny as Jackson's pass for Wade is errant. Hester deep again for the Bears. Looks like he'll get another chance, although a flag came in really early as he made his way from left to right. Holding on the return team, putting the ball all the way back to the Chicago 9-yard line. Time for Griese to put together a drive with 7:26 to go in the third quarter ...

Griese did hit Clark for 32 yards on 3rd-and-11, but the drive stalls shortly thereafter. Benson has now dropped three passes on the day, and the crowd is starting to get a little impatient with him right now even though he's run the ball reasonably well today. Maynard does his job beautifully yet again, as Wade is forced to call for a fair catch at his own 12-yard line ...

Gone. Peterson explodes a second time for a 73-yard touchdown run, outrunning the entire Chicago defense on his way to paydirt. I know durability was an issue for him coming out of Oklahoma, but he's just oozing with talent and is already a force on Sundays. Soldier Field is silent right now as the Vikings have jumped out to an unexpected 21-14 lead with 2:31 to go in the third frame ...

Again, Griese can not throw the ball on the run. He's intercepted by Leber on the last play of the third quarter, just an awful pass that was badly underthrown. Clark had worked himself free on the scramble drill, but Griese was not able to get him the ball. The Vikings take over at their own 36-yard line as we start the final period. Time is a ticking, Bears fans ...

Ryan Longwell comes up big with a 48-yard field goal and pushes the Minnesota advantage to double digits. It's 24-14 Vikings with 11:31 remaining in the game. The big play of the drive was a 13-yard completion from Jackson to Rice on 3rd-and-10, and it was some catch by the rookie receiver ...

Griese keeps finding the tight ends, this time connecting with Olsen on an out-and-up down the left sideline for 31 yards. Gould gets the call on fourth down and converts a 32-yard field goal to make it a one-score game again. 24-17 Vikings with 8:37 to go in regulation ...

That's a hat trick for Peterson as he scores for the third time today, this time from 35 yards away. This Bears rushing defense has been absolutely shredded today, already 313 yards allowed with 231 of them coming from the former Sooner. And I must say, there were some pretty half-ass efforts from the supposed Monsters of the Midway on that play trying to make a tackle and save this game ...

Griese is intercepted for the second time, overthrowing a pass for Muhammad and seeing it fall right in the waiting arms of Dwight Smith. Stick a fork in this team. The playoffs are a longshot at best based on what we're seeing on the field today ...

Kluwe isn't even going to think about punting the ball to Hester, angling a 23-yard effort out of bounds and forcing the Chicago offense to score a pair of touchdowns in less than three minutes ...

Well, Griese gets them half-way there with a 33-yard scoring strike to Muhammad over the middle. After the Gould extra point, it's 31-24 Vikings with 2:36 still on the game clock. The Bears still have two timeouts left plus the two-minute warning, so they really don't need to go for the onside kick just yet ...

I guess that's why I'm up here and Coach Smith is down there. He elects for the onside kick anyway, but the Vikings come up with the recovery and can run out the clock probably with just one first down. Bad decision right there, and someone will be sure to ask Smith about it in the interview room after the ballgame ...

"This is the two-minute warning" ...

Griese will have one last chance with 1:53 left and zero timeouts. He's already thrown for 300 yards today, but four more turnovers have killed the offense. That and Peterson, of course ...

If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't have believed it. Griese pulls off the miracle and hits, you guessed it, Hester down the right sideline for one of the most improbable touchdowns I can remember. 81 yards for Hester's first career offensive score, and all of a sudden it's tied up 31-31 with 1:38 to go. I just about choked up my corndog as I watched that pass travel through the air. And what kind of press box serves corndogs for lunch? Sorry about that. Back to the game ...

Briggs rips through the line of scrimmage and blasts Peterson for a 4-yard loss on third down. The Vikings let the clock tick all the way down to four seconds before calling timout. Looks like they're going to give Longwell a chance from 55 yards out to win the game ...

Longwell comes through with about an inch to spare for an incredible 34-31 victory. What a ballgame. That was one of the most exciting fourth quarters I've ever seen. The outcome was nothing short of brutal for Bears fans, but what a finish. I need a scotch, and I don't even drink scotch ...

Be sure to visit BearReport.com for all the analysis, all the insight, and all the latest from Chicago as the Bears get punched in their collective stomach and fall to 2-4.

John Crist is the Editor in Chief of BearReport.com and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.


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