Rapid Reaction: Bears 31, Vikings 30
September, 15, 2013
By Ben Goessling | ESPN.com
CHICAGO -- My thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 31-30 loss to the Chicago Bears.
What it means: The Vikings looked like they were about to end a five-year losing streak at Soldier Field when they went up 30-24 with just more than three minutes left. But the Bears' 66-yard march for a touchdown erased all of it -- a solid second half from Christian Ponder, two timely turnovers from the Vikings' defense in the fourth quarter -- and sent Minnesota into its home opener with an 0-2 record.
Stock watch: Even -- Vikings' defense. It's hard to know what to do with this one. The group got shredded in Detroit last week, and allowed 269 yards to the Bears in the first half on Sunday. But Minnesota forced four turnovers and held firm at the biggest moments of the game. The defensive line was especially good -- Brian Robison returned Jared Allen's fumble for a touchdown, Kevin Williams had an interception and Letroy Guion (who had a crucial roughing-the-passer penalty last week) ripped the ball out of Matt Forte's hands with 6:28 left, giving the Vikings the ball back. Still, the Vikings' inability to get to Jay Cutler on the game's final drive -- and Chris Cook getting burned by Martellus Bennett for his second touchdown of the day -- ultimately cost them the game.
Tentative at the end: The Vikings had a chance to go up by 10 points with just more than three minutes left after Ponder's 22-yard completion to Greg Jennings moved the Vikings to the Bears' 6. But the Vikings ran Peterson twice for no gain, and Ponder missed Kyle Rudolph in the end zone, giving the Bears a chance to come back and win.
Patterson arrives: Cordarrelle Patterson got a chance to return just two kickoffs last week, as Lions kicker Sam Martin boomed five of them into the end zone for touchbacks. He opted to return the first one of the game from five yards deep in the end zone, and matched Percy Harvin's record for the longest kickoff return in franchise history when he raced through a hole Matt Asiata opened and went 105 yards for a touchdown.
What's next: The Vikings (0-2) play at the Metrodome for the first time this season, hosting the Cleveland Browns next Sunday afternoon in a game they'll absolutely have to have.