Bears’ defense shuts down Joshua Dobbs, Vikings

Bears' defense shuts down Joshua Dobbs, Vikings
The Bears harassed Joshua Dobbs all night, sacking him twice and getting nine QB hits. Bruce Kluckhohn/AP Photo

Monday night, the Chicago Bears dominated the Minnesota Vikings in a number of categories (aside from the scoreboard), and when the Vikings pulled ahead late in the fourth quarter, it appeared as though it might be costly for the Bears.

However, Justin Fields masterminded a last-ditch drive that ended with a field goal for a 12-10 Bears triumph.

After teams had previously gone 0-28, the Bears were the first team to win without scoring a touchdown. It was also their first victory without a touchdown since 1993.

Chicago Bears

After Fields guided the offense on a 10-play, 66-yard drive in the final 2:12 to grab the lead for good, the Bears (4-8) snapped their losing run versus teams in the NFC North at 12.

While victories are crucial, the Bears have a lot of questions as they approach their bye week because of how Monday’s game unfolded.

After a game plan that mainly relied on screen passes failed to capitalize on extra possessions from the Bears defense, which committed four turnovers for the second straight game, Chicago’s offense was stuck in neutral.

Fields accomplished enough to lead his team to victory, but there will always be doubts about whether he can stay in Chicago for the long run.

Unsettling trend: Despite forcing seven interceptions in the last two games, the Bears are forcing turnovers on a regular basis, and the offense isn’t capitalizing on it. In back-to-back games, Chicago was unable to capitalize on numerous first-half turnovers until Jaylon Johnson and Jaquan Brisker intercepted deep throws in the second quarter.

Fields failed to make contact with his deep pass on third down on each of the ensuing possessions, causing drives to stall. In the first half, Chicago controlled the clock, forced more turnovers, and gained more total yards, but they only managed three points. With four steals, the Bears managed a total of three points.

Biggest hole in the game plan: The Bears’ passing game became horizontal in order to offset Minnesota’s relentless blitz, which was the biggest flaw in the game plan. By the end of the first half, Fields had surpassed his career high of ten throws completed at or beyond the line of scrimmage, averaging 0.3 air yards per completion.

Although the screen game felt important, Chicago missed multiple scoring opportunities due to its inefficiency. More than a quick ball to DJ Moore on a down-and-two in the third quarter that was unsuccessful for a first down, perhaps no play exemplified that. The Bears offense stopped midway through the drive, leading to a 39-yard field goal.

QB breakdown: Fields had a solid, well-rounded game last week in Detroit, but Chicago’s game plan didn’t help him much. After the Bears’ first drive ended in a field goal being missed, Fields completed four passes for a first down. By the end of the first quarter, he was 12-for-12 for 100 yards. His good fortune ended there and lasted all the way to the game’s conclusion.

The Bears are counting on Fields to step up in big moments throughout the remaining seven games of the season. The Bears attempted to get into the red zone, but Fields was strip-sacked after Chicago recorded its fourth interception. Fields committed to run on third-and-long, coughing up the ball on the Bears’ subsequent possession. Nevertheless, Fields put his two fumbles behind him and guided the Bears down the field to achieve his second career comeback in the fourth quarter.

Startling statistic: Since Matt Eberflus took over as head coach at the beginning of last season, the Bears had not defeated a division opponent and had lost 12 straight NFC North games. According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was the Bears’ worst losing run since the 1970 merger and the longest ongoing division losing streak in the NFL. With the NFC North, Eberflus is now 1-9.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings lost their second straight game in almost the same manner as they had the previous week: they committed far too many mistakes and their worn-out defense was unable to hold onto a late lead. The Vikings, who come into their bye week with a.500 record (6-6) when it might have easily been 8-4, will be haunted by that formula.

They gave up three interceptions last week in Denver, allowing the Broncos to score the game-winning touchdown with 1:03 left. Joshua Dobbs, the quarterback for the Bears, threw four interceptions on Monday night before winning on a field goal with ten seconds left. With (2.0) turnovers per game and a (-0.67) turnover margin per game, the Vikings are currently ranked No. 31 in the NFL.

In the grand scheme of things, the Vikings remain in seventh place in the NFC playoff hunt, with a 62.4% chance of qualifying for the postseason according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. With receiver Justin Jefferson anticipated back, their attack might get even more explosive, but it probably won’t matter if the Vikings can’t solve their turnover problem.

QB breakdown: During the Vikings’ bye, Dobbs offered them some food for thought. He is officially 1-2 as the Vikings’ starting quarterback after throwing four interceptions, raising his total to eight turnovers in his four games with the team. Jaren Hall, a rookie, started the game and was credited with helping them win over the Atlanta Falcons in his debut.

Although Dobbs has been one of the greatest NFL tales in recent memory, he was never more than an emergency starter, and the Vikings now have Nick Mullens, the team’s original No. 2 quarterback, back in good condition. That’s not to say the Vikings should or will turn to Mullens after the season, but they will undoubtedly need to consider that possibility while they’re gone.

Positive trend: Ty Chandler received the game’s first carry, but Alexander Mattison was starting for the Vikings after a week of speculation over their offensive backfield. After Mattison fumbled last week in a defeat to the Denver Broncos, his second of the season, coach Kevin O’Connell hinted at the prospect of a shakeup.

Although O’Connell stated that accountability is crucial, he ultimately chose not to publicly shame the popular veteran Mattison. In the end, the load was divided between Mattison (10 carries for 52 yards) and Chandler (4 carries for 8 yards).

Two words to sum up the game: Football mishap. Despite Dobbs throwing interceptions on two of the Vikings’ first three drives and the Bears running on twenty-two of the game’s first twenty-five plays, the game ended up tied 3-3 at halftime, which matched for the fewest total scores in the first two-quarters of an NFL game this season. There wasn’t much to keep watching into the night after the first half.

Credits: ESPN

Read more at News Intercept:

Big Steelers’ Turnover Carries Day Against Bengals, 16-10

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