It’s generally an exciting experience getting to watch a rookie debut. In the back of your mind you can imagine and anticipate all the awesome plays and all the “uh, wait, what did he just…?”
If you tuned out at the halftime mark, I can’t blame you. The entire first half was a hapless effort by both teams that amounted to many opportunities to evaluate the punt teams. It wrapped with a grand total of a 3 to 2 score, Minnesota with the lead. I’m getting sleepy just thinking about it.
And then…..LIFE! I’m not sure if they all got their favorite juice box back in the locker room or if they were inspired by the storm troopers marching out on the field at halftime to market the new Star Wars movie trailer.
Whatever happened, the second half was considerably more entertaining.
The Vikings came out of the break and put together a 75 yard drive over 6:44 that ended with a Case Keenum (was subbed in just before the half after Bradford was injured) to Kyle Rudolph touchdown.
That was immediately followed by another 75 yard scoring drive, this time orchestrated by the Bears. They were at a 4th and 6 on the Vikings 38 and were lined up for a punt. They faked the punt and the kicker threw a pass to Benny Cunningham who took it to the house for the Bears longest receiving touchdown of the season. And the excitement didn’t stop there.
The Vikings responded with a 5 play touchdown drive that was capped on a monster run by Jerick McKinnon for 58 yards. Score is 17-9 in favor of Minnesota.
Chicago started the next drive on their own 27 yard line. With some decent plays and some help from Minnesota by way of penalties, they dutifully marched down the field. From the Viking 20 yard line, Trubisky threw his first NFL touchdown to Zach Miller. Still 2 points behind, they opted to go for a 2 point conversion. And whoever the play caller is for Chicago, I believe Dowell Loggains, but unverified, they called a doozy. Seriously, it was cool.
Here’s a link: Click Here. It was a handoff, another handoff, then a shovel pass back to the QB for an untouched run into the end zone. That’s just fun for the whole family. Now the game is tied 17-17.
That was followed with some defensive stands by both teams and a few more punts. Chicago came out with 2:32 left in the game on their own 10 yard line. Trubisky dropped back, scrambled to his right and tried to squeeze one in to his tight end Zach Miller and got picked by Harrison Smith.
The Vikings took over on Chicago’s 28 yard line and were able to milk the clock, get it to the 8 yard and put one through the uprights for the final score of the game. Chicago had a desperation chance on the kickoff and a final play from scrimmage that didn’t amount to anything. Final score MIN 20 – CHI 17.
Mitchell Trubisky had a decent game. Keep in mind that he was playing against a great defense and a great defensive mind in Coach Zimmerman. Trubisky kind of came out of the gate swinging. His first drive looked good. Good combination of pass and scramble.
Stalled out just over the 50 yard line, but there was reason to be hopeful. For the rest of the half Chicago looked bad. Couldn’t connect on plays, nothing was working on rushing either. They also had some penalty issues.
The second half looked much better. Decent distribution over the field. Trubisky didn’t seem to try and dart out of the pocket unnecessarily. He ended up with a lackluster stat line – 12/25 for 128 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. That doesn’t really tell the whole story though. He made some good plays in the air and on the ground.
Some of those plays were called back on penalties. The run game was not doing much in the first half to help out a depleted receiving core. I think Chicago can feel good moving forward about Trubisky. He had a costly mistake, but it was done at the end of the game trying to make something happen to win the game. Can easily chalk that up to growing pains. Most veterans would know not to force that throw with Harrison looming.
This game ended up having a bit of excitement. There will certainly be questions moving forward about Sam Bradford’s health. The Bears have some health questions also with an offensive lineman, Kyle Long.
The Vikings came away with the victory by playing sound football, good defense (special teams were caught napping for 7 of those points on a fake punt), no turnovers, 159 rushing yards, and Keenum looked considerably better than Bradford. That will invariably win tough, close games.