Almost perfect: Teddy Bridgewater had another career day. After throwing for a career-high 335 yards in his previous game against the Arizona Cardinals, Bridgewater threw a career-best four touchdown passes, rushed for another and at one point in the third quarter had a perfect passer rating of 158.3.
Bridgewater showed a little of everything. On a 15-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs, it was good decision-making and accuracy.
“It was just a matchup that I liked and we wanted to take advantage of it,” Bridgewater said. “That’s what you talk about, giving your guys a chance and Diggs did a great job at the line of scrimmage of getting a good release and all I had to do was just put it in an area where he could come down with it and he did just that.”
Late in the first half he hit Jerick McKinnon with a 17-yard touchdown, and in the third quarter, he used Diggs’ elusiveness to turn a short pass into a 33-yard touchdown. With less than two minutes left, Zach Line got his first receiving touchdown.
But Bridgewater thought a non-scoring pass to Mike Wallace down the middle was his best throw of the day. That one took some moxie.
“He was matched up with a linebacker, did a great job of just throwing it to his back shoulder and he did a great job of just making the catch,” Bridgewater said. “It started up front with the offensive line giving me some time. We just played pitch-and-catch.”
Bridgewater’s rushing touchdown came when he used man coverage on third-and-9 from the 12-yard line to run the ball and leap onto the shoulders of a defender with momentum carrying him into the end zone.
Bridgwater finished the game completing 17 of 20 passes for 231 yards, four passing touchdowns, one running, no interceptions and a 154.4 rating and admitted it was “probably” the best game of his career. It was the first time since the Vikings’ inaugural season of 1961 that a Minnesota quarterback threw four touchdowns and ran in another. Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton was that 1961 quarterback.
Bridgewater became the second quarterback in NFL history to complete at least 85 percent of his passes with four touchdowns passing, one rushing and no interceptions in a single game, joining Cleveland’s Fran Ryan (Dec. 12, 1964).
“It shows that when we do put the ball in the air that we’re pretty good,” Bridgewater said.
Peterson limited: Adrian Peterson started the game with nine carries for 39 yards early into the second quarter, but after seven rushes on the first drive, he had his shoulder looked at on the sideline and wasn’t in for the second half of the Vikings’ second drive, which ended with a 53-yard field goal and a 10-0 lead. He sat out the rest of the first half before returning for the second drive of the second half.
He lost three yards on each of his first two carries on that series, and temporarily lost the lead for the NFL rushing title. However, on the next drive he gained it back with a 10-yard run on the first play of the drive.
He finished the game with 18 carries for 63 yards after entering the game averaging 115 yards per game against Chicago.
McKinnon makes the most: McKinnon took two short passes in the first half and turned them into long gains. The first came on the Vikings’ opening touchdown drive when he turned a short pass into a 25-yard gain. On the next series, McKinnon took another short pass 30 yards into Chicago territory to set up a Blair Walsh field goal and a 10-0 lead. McKinnon finished with four catches for 76 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown.
Shadowing Jeffery: For the first 24 minutes of the game, Xavier Rhodes shadowed Bears WR Alshon Jeffery and the receiver didn’t have a catch. Rhodes broke up one pass to him in the end zone, but Rhodes was hurt on that play. He left the game for two plays and Jeffery caught a 10-yard touchdown against Terence Newman. Jeffery also left the game in the second half, returned but left again after the game was out of hand.
Jeffery finished with that one touchdown catch on five targets.
Winning up front: The Vikings yielded only one sack and still scored a field goal on the next play. On the other side, Minnesota had five sacks – 1½ from rookie Danielle Hunter, one each by Chad Greenway, Tom Johnson, Brian Robison, and a half a sack by Sharrif Floyd.