Notebook: Inept offense shows in stats

For a span of more than two quarters, the Vikings gained just 47 yards on offense. That was only one of the negative revelations the stats from Sunday showed.

Heading into Chicago has routinely been a nightmare for the Vikings. They haven’t won at Soldier Field since 2007, and even in that game it took a 224 rushing yards and three touchdowns from Adrian Peterson, a 60-yard kickoff return from Peterson in the final minute and a 55-yard field goal from Ryan Longwell as time expired to get the win.

There was no such offensive outburst Sunday against a Bears team that had allowed 106 points in its previous two games. When a team’s leading receiver is Charles Johnson and its leading rusher is safety Andrew Sendejo, there isn’t a whole lot more that needs to be said about the struggles of the Vikings offense against one of the league’s worst defenses this season.

The Bears spotted the Vikings 10 points in the game’s first 12 minutes, but after that the Vikings were able to manage almost nothing through the air or on the ground.

From the time the Vikings scored their only touchdown to take a 10-0 lead with 3:16 left to play in the first quarter to the point where the Bears scored the touchdown that would give them a 21-10 lead with 8:51 to play in the game, in that span of 40:25 on the game clock, the Vikings offense managed just 47 yards on six possessions, forcing the defense back on the field quickly and often.

Teddy Bridgewater threw for just 158 yards. Running back Jerick McKinnon had 28 yards on his first two carries of the game, but had just 10 yards on the six carries he got the rest of the way. Cordarrelle Patterson didn’t have a reception until less than nine minutes remained in the game. Greg Jennings had just one reception for four yards. Kyle Rudolph, making his return to the lineup after sports hernia surgery in September, had his name called only once, for an offensive holding penalty.

There are games that players and coaches simply want to erase from their memory. Sunday’s loss, which started out so promising early, will clearly be one of those games, as the Vikings struggled on offense, defense and special teams and gave away a win to Chicago that exposed several of the flaws in the current configuration of the Vikings.

GAME DAY NOTES

  • Jay Cutler is now 7-1 in his eight games against the Vikings as the starting quarterback, on Sunday completing 31 of 43 passes for 330 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions.

  • Bears running back Matt Forte ran 26 times for 117 yards. The Vikings kept Forte out of the end zone – he hasn’t scored a touchdown against the Vikings in his last 10 games – but his two career 100-yard games have come in the last two against the Vikings.

  • Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns. In his last five games as a Bear against the Vikings, Marshall has caught 40 passes for 500 yards and four touchdowns.

  • Alshon Jeffery was the primary receiver for the Bears, catching 11 passes for 135 yards and a touchdown. In his last two games against the Vikings, he has caught 23 passes for 384 yards and three TDs.

  • Chad Greenway led the Vikings with 11 tackles and Josh Robinson finished second with eight, primarily because he was targeted often by Cutler.

  • Jared Allen faced the Vikings for the first time since leaving via free agency and finished with five tackles and a sack – four of those tackles coming in the first half.

  • McKinnon had just one rushing attempt in the second half.

  • The Bears had 24 first downs in the game, as opposed to just 10 for the Vikings.

  • Chicago almost doubled up on the Vikings in total yards – 468 to 243.

  • The Vikings offense was equally inept in the first and second half. In the first half, the Vikings had 121 total yards of offense. In the second half, they had 122 yards.

  • Chicago made good on 10 of 17 third downs, as well as two of three fourth downs when they didn’t convert on third. The Vikings made just 2 of 11 third-down conversions.

  • The Bears ran 74 offensive plays, as opposed to just 46 for the Vikings.

  • As a result of the play disparity, the Bears held the ball for 38:38 of the game, as opposed to just 21:22 for the Vikings.

  • Of the final 30 minutes, Chicago held the ball for 20:45, while the Vikings had it for just 9:15.

  • Chicago had almost twice as many rushing plays as the Vikings (31 to 16).

  • Xavier Rhodes had his first career interception Sunday.

  • Harrison Smith recorded his fourth interception of the season. He entered play Sunday tied for sixth place with three picks.

  • It was an up and down day for Vikings kicker Blair Walsh. He hit a 50-yard field goal, the 16th in 20 attempts for his career, but missed a 38-yarder, just the second miss inside of 40 yards of his career – the other miss was a blocked field goal.

  • The Vikings didn’t have any sacks after averaging five sacks a game over the four games prior to the bye week.

  • The Vikings had only two penalties called on them the entire game.

  • Jarius Wright left the game with hamstring tightness in the first half and didn’t return.

  • Captain Munnerlyn was suffering from cramps in the second half and was shuttled in and out of the lineup as the cramps came and went.

  • The Vikings only touchdown came in the first quarter – the first time the Vikings have scored a first-quarter touchdown in six games.

  • In a controversial play early in the game, Cutler had his arm hit on a pass and it appeared clear on replay that the ball was loose before Cutler’s arm started forward. The Vikings recovered the ball, but after challenging the play, the ruling on the field stayed because of a rule stating that the fumble recovery must come as part of continuous play. The players stopped, apparently because the whistle was blown, before a Viking pick up the ball. The Vikings were charged a timeout.

  • There was snow for much of the first half falling with temperatures below freezing – something that may become a regular ritual for the Vikings, who will play their next three games at home.

  • Andrew Sendejo’s 48-yard run on a fake punt was the longest run on a fake punt in Vikings history.

  • Harrison Smith’s 52-yard interception return marked the third time he has returned an interception for 50 yards or more, tying Charlie West for the franchise record.

  • Former Viking Rich Gannon provided color commentary on the game, which was switched from FOX to CBS two weeks ago. It was the first Gannon has been on a play call of a Vikings game.


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