I absolutely hate going into an NFC North Division game against a starting quarterback that the Vikings have no tendencies on. When you do not get a read on a quarterback from previous weeks of film study, it's no different than when a backup comes off the bench and — as we've all seen time in and time out — rallies a poor team to victory.
Obviously, a lot of the blame Sunday can go on the Vikings offense, even though it played one of the better defenses in the National Football League. (Middle linebacker Brian Urlacher is an absolute joy to watch.) How good is the Chicago defense? On some power ratings, the Bears defense is rated right ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles, and the way the Bears were throwing the blitzes around in this game you know they are definitely a very aggressive defense.
This is probably the most pressure I've seen on Daunte Culpepper in quite some time, as the Bears defense got some great matchups. On many occasions, their strongest pass rusher was lined up across from the Vikings' tight end. Chicago created quite a bit of confusion, and on many occasions mental mistakes were made. Inside the red zone, I have to give the Bears a definitive ‘A.' On three different occasions the Vikings came away with zero points after being in the red zone. As for the Vikings defense, it was given quite a setback when Antoine Winfield sprained his ankle and then watched the Bears attack his replacement. In addition, the defensive line and linebackers must learn to work as a group and be more disciplined on their assignments when a particular defense is called.
I mentioned last week that to be a consistent winner week after week an offense needs long, time-consuming drives. Today, the Chicago Bears had two of them. The one that was most damaging, of course, was when they scored with just 22 seconds left in the first half on an 11-play, 76-yard drive while adding another 13-play touchdown drive in the fourth quarter. The Vikings' best drive went 15 plays in 8:30 with the end result being a missed field goal attempt, one reason why the Vikings came up on the short end of this 24-14 game.
The good news is that my Christmas Eve day has not been ruined, as the Vikings only lost 27-16 against Philadelphia while the Packers got blasted 47-17 Sunday in Philadelphia, keeping the division race tied and setting up an electric showdown on Dec. 24.
Lurtsema's Reaction: Defensive Differences
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