Costly play wore look of a loser all along

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2013 - 6:40 AM

As Jay Cutler said of the winning pass, the Vikings “are not going to like what they see on film.”

– It was a good throw and a nice catch, but the Vikings defense was doomed before the ball was even snapped on the game-winning touchdown in Sunday’s 31-30 loss to the Bears at Soldier Field.

With 16 seconds left and the Bears facing third-and-10 at the Vikings 16-yard line, Chicago lined up in a four-wide set with tight end Martellus Bennett in the left slot and receiver Earl Bennett wide left. It was a formation the Bears had gone to a handful of other times, including once when safety Harrison Smith jumped a route for his first interception of the season.

Only this time, something went terribly wrong. And Bears quarterback Jay Cutler spotted it immediately.

“[The Vikings] are not going to like what they see on film,” Cutler said of the 16-yard touchdown pass to Bennett over cornerback Chris Cook in the left corner of the end zone with 10 seconds left.

The Vikings already didn’t like it.

Cook wouldn’t talk to reporters, saying, “I’m in a bad place right now.” Coach Leslie Frazier took blame for the play, saying, “I have to do a better job guiding our team in that last sequence.”

Meanwhile, some players questioned defensive coordinator Alan Williams’ play calls on the Bears’ 10-play, 66-yard drive, particularly the game-winning touchdown.

“Just not what we expected, the call, in that situation,” middle linebacker Erin Henderson said. “Not really something that we prepared for or practiced for … in that situation. Even if he put us in a bad situation where he made a bad call, it’s still on us to go out there and make him right.”

Williams sounded confident that the call matched the situation.

“I think we had a good one dialed up,” he said. “I’ll make sure to see if bodies were in the right place when we look at the tape.”

As for the players being upset, Williams said, “Everybody I think is upset when you don’t win a game.”

The Vikings defense forced four turnovers that led to 13 points, including a fumble that defensive end Brian Robison returned 61 yards for a touchdown. But none of it mattered when they botched the biggest play of the game.

Before the snap, safety Jamarca Sanford was up on the left side of the defensive line, showing blitz. That put four defensive backs on that side of the field, including Smith, who was shaded to that side in a single-high-safety pre-snap look.

Cook, who was on the other side across from Earl Bennett, knew his side was in trouble and motioned to Smith for help because Martellus Bennett was uncovered in the slot. Smith didn’t come over.

When the ball was snapped, Sanford dropped to the left side of the defense in a Cover-2 shell. When Earl Bennett came free inside on the other side, Cook hesitated, veering toward him and then trying to slide back outside when Cutler threw to Martellus Bennett. Linebacker Chad Greenway was on that side, but he had a shallow inside drop in the zone coverage.

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  • Bears tight end Martellus Bennett (83) was surrounded by teammates after he caught the pass that beat the Vikings. The crowd of defenders during the play was much smaller.

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Pittsburgh - WP: B. Morris 8 FINAL
Cincinnati - LP: S. LeCure 7
Atlanta 0 Postponed
Philadelphia 0
Chicago Cubs 0 Postponed
NY Yankees 0
Tampa Bay 0 Postponed
Baltimore 0
Cleveland 0 Postponed
Detroit 0
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 2 FINAL
Miami - WP: T. Koehler 11
Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole 5 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: M. Leake 7
Seattle - LP: B. Beavan 0 FINAL
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 5
St. Louis - WP: S. Miller 6 FINAL
Milwaukee - LP: M. Estrada 1
Boston - LP: B. Badenhop 1 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 2
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 4 FINAL
Houston - LP: L. Harrell 2
Toronto - WP: A. Loup 9 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 3
NY Mets - WP: J. Mejia 9 FINAL
Arizona - LP: B. Arroyo 0
Oakland - WP: J. Johnson 10 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: Y. Herrera 9
Colorado - WP: J. Nicasio 3 FINAL
San Diego - LP: R. Erlin 2
Los Angeles - LP: B. League 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 3
New York 109 FINAL
Brooklyn 98
Denver 105 FINAL
LA Clippers 117
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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