The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings battled on Monday Night Football for the second year in a row. Last year, Chicago came away with a surprising win. This time, Minnesota was victorious 20-17. The Vikings overcame many injuries to oust Chicago on a late field goal by Kai Forbath with 16 seconds left to ice the game.
Chicago is loaded with plenty of injuries themselves. Both teams are shadows of their former selves. It’s getting kind of silly really. Both of these teams have had bad luck for at least two years in a row in the injury department. The Bears have already lost the following opening day starters for all or most of the season as these 5 guys are on Injured Reserve (IR):
- WR Cameron Meredith
- WR Kevin White
- ILB Jerrell Freeman
- OLB Willie Young
- S Quintin Demps.
- Another player, OLB Lamarr Houston, was on IR but was now released altogether.
So that’s basically 6 out of 22 starters/main contributors are already done for 2017. Starting CB Marcus Cooper and ILB Danny Trevathan also didn’t start vs the Vikings. So for this Monday Night tilt, 8 of 22 guys weren’t available.
Throw in a first time starting quarterback and it’s no big surprise the Bears lost. Oh yeah, the new QB! I almost forgot. QB #10 Mitch Trubisky made his NFL debut! Overall, it was a hopeful, solid debut. It wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful. His numbers were pedestrian, completing 12 of 25 passes for 128 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. He ran for 22 yards on 3 carries. He lost a fumble on that blind side sack by Everson Griffen. He also scored on that incredible 2 point conversion. Nice play call drawn up by OC Dowell Loggains! I’ve been watching football for over 30 years and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that play. Amazing! Football is a copycat game and I’m sure we’ll see that play duplicated all over the place again, likely this season.
WR #13 Kendall Wright – Wright caught 4 passes for 46 yards on 5 targets from Trubisky. He seemed like the most competent WR and biggest potential weapon in a bad Bears wide receiving unit. At least he seems to get open sometimes.
TE #86 Zach Miller – Targeted 7 times by Trubisky, Miller caught 3 balls for 39 yards and a touchdown. His 20 yard TD reception was a crazy one after it was tipped by Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo. Miller looks like Mitch’s security blanket. Look for Miller’s usage to continue and maybe even increase next week.
S #38 Adrian Amos – Getting more and more playing time since Quintin Demps was injured, Amos looked good against Minnesota. His motivation turned into production. Amos collected 8 tackles for the 2nd game in a row. He made some big pops too! On one hit, he almost jarred the ball loose from Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon.
RB #29 Tarik Cohen – I love Cohen but he was running in circles in this game, literally. It looked like he was trying too hard in his first Monday Night game. His stats: 6 carries, 13 yards (2.2 avg), 1 catch for -6 yards, 1 kickoff return for 14 yards, 4 punt returns for 25 yards. That’s all. I’m really surprised he was only targeted one time and he caught the pass for a negative gain. I thought he’d be more involved with the QB switch but in this game he was involved less. Of course, Minnesota’s defense is probably one of the best in the NFL, so that had something to do with it too.
Co-Players of the Game
OLB #94 Leonard Floyd – OMG! Lenny Floyd was everywhere on Monday Night! He dominated as a pass rusher. This was the Floyd that Pace and his scouts saw. This was the Floyd that flashed last year as a rookie. This was the Floyd that we predicted would have a huge sophomore year. DC Vic Fangio used Floyd mainly as a pass rusher this week and wow did it make a difference! Floyd manhandled Vikings RT Mike Remmers. On his first sack, he worked his way around Remmers and was in perfect position when Vikings starting QB Sam Bradford moved up in the pocket and ran right into Floyd’s waiting arms. Put your hands together for 2 points. SAFETY! Lenny had a total of 6 tackles, 4 TFL’s, 3 QB hits, 2 sacks, and he caused a big holding penalty by Remmers that ESPN analyst Jon Gruden astutely pointed out should be added as a credible stat. “It’s as good as a sack so why don’t we mark these down?” to paraphrase Gruden. Overall, an amazing game by 2016’s #9 overall pick.
DE #96 Akiem Hicks – Joining Floyd in this pass rush party was a mountain of a man, Akiem Hicks. He totaled 4 tackles, 3 TFL’s, 3 QB hits, and 2 sacks of his own to join Floyd with almost identical stats. Hicks is a beast. The rest of the NFL might not know it, but Pace knew it. That’s why he signed Hicks to a big contract before it was too late to hold onto his talent. Nice move by Pace. The combo of Hicks and Floyd is a nightmare for future opponents. Just wait until 2018 when Pace assuredly makes a move for another pass rusher on the other end of the line. Then the Bears will REALLY have a pass rush. By the way, I love sacks! You could argue sacks are as much fun as touchdowns.
In my Vikings/Bears preview column, I predicted the following:
“Let’s make it a double whammy! I’ll go on record and predict the Bears will record 3 sacks! Chicago will have a big game running the ball with RB #24 Jordan Howard and #29 Tarik Cohen. And best of all, Bears fans will go home crazy with excitement after witnessing a home win to start the Mitch Trubisky Era!
Chicago Bears 24 Minnesota Vikings 17″
The “Dutch Lion” was decent but solid this week. He predicted 3 sacks. Bears recorded 4 sacks. He predicted a big game rushing. That did not come to fruition against a stout Vikings defense, as the Bears only ran for 115 yards on 29 carries (4.0 avg). Finally, the score prediction was on point, just a couple of points away from perfection. How sweet it would have been for the “Lion” if the Bears had gotten that game winning TD drive from rookie QB Trubisky after it was indeed tied at 17-17. Wow! Now that would’ve been special! As it turned out, another tough loss but hope is here and the future is bright. A loss is a loss but this one didn’t hurt as much.
Final: Minnesota Vikings 20 Chicago Bears 17
Bears Record: 1-4
Dutch Lion’s Record: 3-2
Next up for Chicago are the Baltimore Ravens on the road in Maryland on Sunday at Noon. Look for my Preview later this week.