On Sunday, the Chicago Bears picked the right time to show up and decisively beat the struggling Minnesota Vikings, 39-10.
Bears fans saw glimpses of Devin Hester’s quick speed and Jay Cutler’s killer arm during the game. Cutler kicked off the evening with a 48-yard touchdown pass after just three plays to Hester. It set the tone for the evening and it was only three minutes into the game.
The Bears grabbed a safety and another touchdown by veteran running back Marion Barber to finish the first quarter ahead 16-0.
The Vikings got on the board with a 37-yard field goal by Ryan Longwell in the second quarter but had to wait until the third quarter for their sole touchdown of the evening by running back Adrian Peterson. It put the team within 16 points but it didn’t really make a difference for this night.
The Bears entered halftime ahead 26-3. Their final touchdown of the night came from Hester with a 98-yard kickoff return in the third quarter. Two field goals by Bears kicker Robbie Gould completed the night’s scoring.
While it was a game to celebrate Hester’s talent, it ended on a down note. The evening’s leading receiver left the game with a chest injury and without comment.
Running back Matt Forte continued to ring the cash register, with 17 carries for 87 yards on Sunday.
For the game, Cutler went 21-for-31 for 267 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. He saw his passer rating rise to 115.9, helped by three pass plays of 20-plus yards.
Rookie wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher continues to be one of Cutler’s successful targets and in the second quarter, he caught a 13-yard touchdown pass to extend the Bears’ lead to 23-6.
New Vikings quarterback Donovan McNabb did not fare as well as Cutler. He went 17 of 24 for 177 yards and was benched in the fourth quarter.
Also contributing to Sunday’s blowout was the Bears defense.
They have not shined this season as they previously have and they have given up three plays of 70-plus yards, equaling the number allowed from 2001-10. In an effort to stop some of this, guilty veteran safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather sat on the bench Sunday evening.
Their play was not missed and the adjustments made for the defense worked well. They were able to contain Peterson to 12 carries for 39 yards. The defense had five sacks, including two by injured Julius Peppers, eight tackles for loss and eight quarterback hits.
The Vikings also had only 286 yards of total offense.
Bears coach Lovie Smith was pleased by Sunday’s play and remarked:
“We’ve talked about all three phases contributing. That was definitely the case here tonight,” Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. “Hopefully, this is who we are. … We want big plays like that each week, and we have a lot of guys capable of giving it to us. You saw that tonight. Today, the big plays helped us out a lot.”
Next up for the Bears is a trip across the pond to play against a good Tampa Bay team.
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Written by Debbie Baratz