ADVERTISEMENT

Halftime: Bears 24, Vikings 21

  • Blog Post by: Mark Craig
  • September 15, 2013 - 1:50 PM

CHICAGO --  Christian Ponder has six completions for 81 yards to Vikings players and one to Bears cornerback Tim Jennings for a 44-yard Chicago touchdown. Adrian Peterson is having trouble getting his footing with 63 yards on 11 carries, one of which went 36 yards and 10 of which went 27.

But the Vikings are trailing only 24-21 in a rare competitive performance in Chicago, where they've lost 11 of their past 12 games.

Why?

Because Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, tying Percy Harvin's team record for longest play in franchise history. Because defensive end Brian Robison scooped up a Jay Cutler fumble off a sack from Jared Allen and ran 61 yards for a  touchdown.

Here's a quick look at the first half:

Score: Bears 24, Vikings 21

The good: Besides the opening kickoff -- which the Bears kicked after winning the coin toss and deferring -- and Robison's fumble return, the Vikings also had one impressive drive. Peterson ran four times for 46 yards, including the 36-yarder. Ponder went 2 for 2 for 29 yards, including a nice throw over the head of safety Major Wright and into tight end Kyle Rudolph's massive hands.

The bad: Except for Peterson's 36-yard run, the Vikings haven't done anything in the running game. The field is wet, the rain is off and on and Peterson is having trouble with his footing. The offensive line also isn't creating many holes. Ponder, meanwhile, has looked jittery in the pocket again. He has run from the pocket too early a couple of times.

The ugly: As good as the kickoff return team is doing, the kick coverage team is doing equally poorly. Bears return man Devin Hester has returns of 80 and 76 yards. The 80-yarder set up a touchdown. The 76-yarder would have had the Bears not chosen to throw from the 1-yard line after gashing the Vikings up the middle on four consecutive plays. Kevin Williams, who's playing his first game of the year, intercepted a tipped ball in the end zone. But that only temporarily held off the Bears. Ponder returned the favor, staring down Jerome Simpson long enough to have Jennings jump the route and score.

What did we learn: One thing we learned is Ponder is comfortable throwing to Rudolph. The touchdown was perfectly thrown.

What needs to happen in the second half: The Vikings need to contain Hester and they need to establish the run. It's been a strange game. Establishing Peterson would help keep the game out of Ponder's hands.

© 2014 Star Tribune