VIKINGS WIN GAME THAT WAS UGLY ON ALL SIDES
Written by Tony Schultz on December 20, 2021
Whenever the Vikings and Bears play they are always tough meetings. At the beginning of the TV broadcast and a few times during the game they show old footage of the historic battles of the Purple People Eaters and the Monsters Of The Midway with cold breath and brutal hits and tackles. It looks like all the games were ugly slobber-knockers with no amount of control from the refs. So, it was fitting that tonight’s game seemed to look the same. As many times as myself along with people with more expertise than me said that the Vikings should easily win this game, we couldn’t will it into being. In fact, those of us that have seen this scenario before know that it is never that easy. There is always some reason the Vikings go to Soldier Field and make it more difficult than it should be to win. With the Bears missing their starting secondary, some coaches, and offensive starters the Vikings did their best to blow another easy win. There was some questionable calls by the refs in this game and most of them went against the Bears, but there were a couple against the Vikings that made everyone shake their head. The Bears got the calls started with Head Coach Matt Nagy flying off the handle at the refs and getting a warning that his next transgression would get him ejected. Nagy had a few more explosions that were reminiscent of a toddler throwing a tantrum. His time with the Bears is most likely over at the end of the year so he might have been pulling out all the stops to try to get his team fired up. It worked for his defense as Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn were wreaking havoc on the offensive line and Kirk Cousins sacking him 4 times. But that was all they had. Their offense was basically inept and rookie quarterback Justin Fields looked lost when the Vikings blitzed and sacked him 3 times. The Bears offense was in the charitable mood during this season of giving the ball away 3 times on fumbles including a muffed punt. The Vikings stats weren’t great, but some of that was the fact that they were constantly playing on a short field, but the offensive line was atrocious. Kirk had little to no time to do much at times with pressure immediately in his face. He did have a comfortable pocket when he hit Ihmir Smith-Marsette for another six points with Jefferson playing as a distraction. Credit goes to the Bears defensive line as it is formidable, and it caused the backups to the backups in the secondary to look better and take pressure off them. Chicago just kept shooting themselves in the foot with poorly timed penalties mostly of the personal foul level.
Click the photo for a game recap.
The Vikings started the game a little wobbly but got on the board with a Kirk Cousins to Justin Jefferson touchdown. But the rest of the night they seemed to sputter with bad passes or short routes, and even though Dalvin Cook had a reasonable night rushing it never seemed like he was controlling the game on the ground. One of the worst calls of the game was when Cousins went back to pass and threw an interception when there was absolutely no Vikings receivers in the area, but that was because Justin Jefferson was basically tackled on the play and it should have been pass interference. There was no flow to the game and then it just got worse. In the fourth quarter with the ball on their own 10 yard line the Bears were going to make a last gasp drive. Fields got chased back to the goal line where James Lynch sacked him. The only problem was that Fields appeared to take a knee, but there was no whistle so Lynch should still tackle him. The refs though suddenly decided that Fields did take a knee and Lynch was wrong in his training since pee-wee football to play to the whistle. This gave the Bears the motivation to drive down the field to threaten to score. The refs then made a correct call when Fields went to slide and Eric Kendricks hit him helmet to helmet which you just can’t do, but it was in no way malicious. The terrible thing is the refs ejected Kendricks and no one knows why. With the very last play Justin Fields threw to the end zone to get a worthless touchdown that at first wasn’t a touchdown per the refs. After a useless review with no time left on the clock they gave it to him. But hey, it was to Minnesota native Jesper Horsted! Luckily the poor refereeing didn’t decide the game, but they made the whole thing unwatchable.
The Vikings are now in the Wild Card if the season ended today, but they may not be there for long. They have three tough games to finish the season against the Rams, at the Packers, and then they finish at home against these same Bears. After watching this game and its outcome it felt more like a loss and maybe it should have been. If the Vikings make the Wild Card round, they are not a playoff contending team. While they play up or down to their competition, they can’t play up enough to make a run through the playoffs. There is no savior that will show up at the last moment to suddenly put them over the hump. You take the wins, but this year it just doesn’t feel like they should even try anymore because the wins feel empty as they lead to a continued feeling of mediocrity into the offseason. Has the window closed on the Vikings to get to and win a Super Bowl with this current team? Maybe it has. They have three more games to figure it out.