Christian Ponder threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, the Vikings surrendered 249 yards in kickoff returns to Devin Hester and Adrian Peterson lost a fumble.
Despite all of those mistakes in a 31-30 loss to the Chicago Bears, it was Minnesota Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier fielding the blame for decisions he said he made during the Bears' 10-play, 66-yard, game-winning drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown toss to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds left.
"That last two-minute sequence I could have done some things different. I told our players after the game, as a staff I don't think we could have asked for any better preparation, any better fight from our team. But personally I have to do a better job in guiding our team in that last sequence and I wanted them to know that," Frazier said. "… At the end of the day, there were some things that I didn't do in my role that could have helped our football team. But the effort that they gave, we'll always have a chance because of that."
Frazier declined to get into specifics, but he said the personnel on the field for the Bears' last meaningful drive wasn't the problem.
"There were some things we could have done differently strategically and that's my fault," Frazier said. "There are some things we could have done a little different that I could have helped our guys with."
On five different questions in his post-game press conference, Frazier took the blame on himself.
Frazier said if he makes those defensive changes, the Vikings can win in similar situations if they reappear later in the season.
Offensively, he wasn't questioning the decision to run the ball on third-and-goal from the 4-yard line with 3:23 to play. Adrian Peterson was stopped for no gain, the Bears used their second timeout, and the Vikings settled for a field goal and a six-point lead with 3:15 to play. A touchdown would have given them a 10-point lead.
"It's easy to second-guess after the fact, but sometimes when you give it to Arian on third-and-4, you don't feel like you're in bad shape, but hindsight is always 20-20," Frazier said. "But we still had our opportunities to win that ballgame and didn't get it done."
No, they didn't.
After giving up a Bears-record 249 yards in kickoff returns to Devin Hester, the Vikings opted to kick it short of their final one with a six-point lead and Bears QB Jay Cutler was set up on his own 34-yard line. He led Chicago on a 10-play drive that took 3 minutes, 5 seconds and ended with a 16-yard touchdown pass to TE Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds remaining.
"Our guys played extremely hard for four quarters. Battled. Battled on the road," Frazier said in taking the blame for the first time in his postgame press conference, later adding:
"I've got to help them. I've got to do some things differently where I can help them. They showed that they are a resilient group, they'll battle. So that's part of it. It's the NFL. There are going to be some games just like this. We'll have maybe another one before the year is over."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
Frazier blames himself for last-minute loss
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