The Windy City continued to make the Vikings look full of hot air.
Mike Tice's Vikings have never won at Chicago, but Mike Tice's Vikings have never lost coming out of the bye week. The Bears continued the first streak and put a quick halt to the second in a 28-3 win over Minnesota.
The loss drops the Vikings to 1-4 overall and 0-1 in the NFC North.
The Vikings looked horrible kicking field goals, mishandling a snap that resulted in an incomplete pass, having a 52-yard attempt sail far to the right and having a third attempt blocked. But the offense was just as bad against the NFL's third-ranked defense, making the only points of the game come on Paul Edinger's only successful field goal try.
Quarterback Daunte Culpepper threw two interceptions and took four more sacks, bringing his season totals to a dozen interceptions and two dozen sacks. The turnovers and sacks put the Vikings defense in bad positions, leading to touchdown drives of 3 and 1 yards for the Bears.
Conversely, the Bears offense was able to be more patient while building a lead off of Minnesota miscues and penalties (14 of them), rushing 30 times to the Vikings' 19.
The mistakes started early on special teams.
The Vikings offense opened conservatively but in a great rhythm. Jermaine Wiggins and Mewelde Moore saw the majority of the action, but a 25-yard run by Moore was the only play that went for double-digits. Despite getting inside the red zone, a mishandled snap by Brad Johnson kept points off the board on a 36-yard field goal formation that resulted in an incomplete pass.
After the Bears picked up one first down on a 10-yard pass to Muhsin Muhammad, Lance Johnstone ended the drive with a third-down sack of Kyle Orton.
The teams traded punts again before another special teams failure by the Vikings. Their third drive of the game started on the Chicago 34-yard line, and Culpepper converted the initial third down of the drive with a 14-yard scramble. Following a 16-yard pass to Marcus Robinson, the Bears held and the Vikings sent Edinger on for a 52-yard field goal attempt. That one was struck poorly and sailed well right and well short.
The Vikings were finally able to capitalize on their next play, following an Orton fumble that was recovered by Corey Chavous, setting up the Minnesota offense near midfield. On second down, Moore ripped off an 18-yard pass play. Following a series of runs and checkdown passes to Wiggins, the Vikings were facing first-and-goal on the 2-yard line. From there, however, the offense self-destructed with a sack and back-to-back penalties. First-and-goal from the 2 eventually turned into second-and-goal from the 17, leading to a 23-yard Edinger field goal, his only successful attempt of the game, with 6:55 to play.
Another exchange of possessions ended with a 55-yard punt from Chris Kluwe but also a 49-yard return from Bobby Wade, setting up Chicago's only scoring drive of the first half. It started with a sack of Orton, but a facemask penalty on E.J. Henderson and an 8-yard run by Thomas Jones moved the chains. Orton followed with a 15-yard pass to Mark Bradley and an 18-yard pass to Muhammad to the 6-yard line. After a 3-yard run by Jones, Orton found tight end Desmond Clark at the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown and a 7-3 lead with 37 seconds left in the first half.
The defense continued to perform to open the second half, with Pat Williams forcing a fumble of Thomas Jones and Keith Newman recovering on Chicago's opening drive.
Moore started the Vikings' first possession of the second half with an 11-yard pass play, and the offense was able to overcome a holding penalty on Mike Rosenthal with a 31-yard pass to Travis Taylor to the 21-yard line. But the field goal unit failed the Vikings for the third time in the game when Alfonso Boone blocked Edinger's 32-yard attempt.
The defense held again, but Culpepper put that same defense in a bad situation on Minnesota's next possession. On the second play of the drive, Culpepper felt pressure and threw behind his receiver. Cornerback Charles Tillman made an aggressive move on the ball for an interception and a 55-yard return to the 3-yard line. On second down, Orton and Clark connected for their second touchdown of the game and a 14-3 Bears lead with 7:28 left in the third quarter.
The Vikings offense continued to struggled for the rest of the quarter on two more possessions and the rest of the game, as it slipped further and further away.
The Bears' fifth possession of the second half game them another touchdown, as a two receptions by Muhammad took them across midfield before Jones capped the drive with a 24-yard touchdown run with 13:03 to play.
Minnesota's offense sputtered so much that it had six straight possessions in the second half that went five plays or fewer. Meanwhile, the defense continued to try and hold up with an interception from Chavous, but the Bears eventually iced the game when Urlacher sacked Culpepper at the Minnesota 1-yard line on fourth down, setting up Jones' second touchdown run of the second half with 4:11 to play and capping the 28-3 win.
The Vikings looked horrible off the field all week while dealing with allegations that gave the franchise a black eye, and their offensive performance Sunday was nearly as offensive, compiling 283 yards of net offense and leaving the defense in a severe hole on the 3- and 1-yard lines twice in the second half. Combined with three botched field goal attempts, the Vikings looked shipwrecked in two of the three phases of football and struggling once again to find the answers to a season that is slowly sinking.
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