Vikings defense doesn't put much heat on Bears

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 17, 2011 - 6:06 AM

The Vikings defense failed to put much pressure on Jay Cutler and was left embarrassed after the Bears rolled to an easy victory.

CHICAGO — Jared Allen did tie the Vikings' team record with a sack in his eighth consecutive game, but that one sack is about the only pressure Bears quarterback Jay Cutler faced while standing in the pocket throwing laser after laser during a 39-10 win at Soldier Field on Sunday night.

"It's embarrassing," said Allen, who leads the NFL with 9 1/2 sacks after tying the team mark held by Jim Marshall and Carl Eller. "They whipped us in every facet of the game. Every facet."

Facing maximum protection and two-man pass routes, the Vikings' vaunted pass rush -- led by the combined 13 sacks of Allen and fellow defensive end Brian Robison -- was neutralized by running backs and tight ends helping in protection, not to mention a Bears running game that averaged 4.3 yards on 28 carries.

"It's humiliating," Robison said. "It's the only word I can think of right now. It's simply humiliating."

Allen admitted the Vikings are essentially out of the playoff race heading into Sunday's game against the Packers (6-0) at Mall of America Field.

"I just hope all of our fans don't sell their season tickets to Packer fans," Allen said. "Now we have to go back to work to play the spoiler card and knock off as many teams as we can along the way."

Cutler came into the game having been sacked an NFL-high 70 times in his past 20 regular-season games. But it was evident from the Bears' opening pass that they were committed to protecting Cutler after an embarrassing effort in a loss to the Lions the week before.

And the man wearing the bull's-eye for Cutler's passes early on was cornerback Cedric Griffin, not Chris Cook, the youngster starting in place of injured Antoine Winfield for the second consecutive game.

After a three-and-out by the Vikings offense to open the game, Cutler had plenty of time to zip a 17-yard completion by Griffin to Roy Williams on second-and-7. On the next play, Griffin looked slow while being beaten badly by receiver Devin Hester, who also got behind free safety Husain Abdullah for an easy 48-yard touchdown reception down the middle of the field.

Griffin has struggled while giving up big plays this season. He gave up a 40-yard completion to Detroit's Calvin Johnson that allowed the Lions to kick the game-winning field goal in overtime in Week 3. A week later in Kansas City, Griffin fell in coverage and gave up a 52-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Bowe that gave Kansas City a 22-10 fourth-quarter lead en route to a 22-17 victory.

Cutler continued to attack Griffin after the Bears' opening possession. On third-and-13 from the Vikings 36-yard line in the second quarter, Hester beat Griffin for a 23-yard gain. One play later, Cutler made it a 23-3 game with a 13-yard pass to Dane Sanzenbacher.

By that point, Cutler was well on his way to completing 21 of 31 passes for 267 yards, two touchdowns, just one sack and a 115.9 passer rating.

"We didn't play well," Griffin said. "The Chicago Bears did."

And then the Vikings limped home with a 1-10 record in their past 11 trips to Illinois.

"Where do we go from here?" Allen asked. "Up. That's the only place we can go right now."

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