1. Uh, Marc, this isn’t the CFL
One thought came to mind when Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman had his team line up to kick a 47-yard field goal on second down in overtime: Uh, Marc, you get four downs south of the Canadian border, not three like you did when you were winning Grey Cups. The Bears had run the ball five times for 24 yards through the heart of the Vikings defense when kicker Robbie Gould came onto the field. Yes, Gould was a perfect 8-for-8 from 40 yards and longer this season. But it’s second down, for gosh sakes. We’ll let Trestman explain. “We were definitely in range and I didn’t want to, at that point in time, risk a possible penalty that would set us back, something similar to what happened [to the Vikings earlier in overtime] or a fumble or something unique. I felt that we were clearly in range and we could get the game over at that time. Certainly, we were running the ball really well. … There’s no guarantee that we would get any yards on second down or third down.” Neither is a 47-yard field goal. Gould missed right.
2. Peterson has high praise for Patterson
It’s puzzling that it has taken so long into a lost season to be creative with rookie receiver Cordarrelle Patterson. But give the Vikings credit for lining him up at tailback at a point in the game when Adrian Peterson needed a rest. A simple pitch to the right enabled Patterson to dodge one defender and run through another en route to a 33-yard touchdown in the second quarter. It was Patterson’s third carry of the season and first as a tailback, yet it led to him becoming the first rookie in team history to score three different ways (rushing, receiving and returning). “I might need to watch out; he’s something special,” Peterson joked. “He already is real good, but the potential, the sky is the limit for that young guy. I know talent. He has it.”
3. Why kick to Hester?
The Vikings might want to brush up on Devin Hester’s history against them. Four of Hester’s NFL-record 18 combined punt and kickoff returns have come against the Vikings. In Week 2, Hester set a Bears team record with 249 kick return yards against the Vikings. He’s a pain in the Purple behind. Yet the Vikings chose to have kicker Blair Walsh kick the ball to him rather than squib it with 20 seconds left in regulation and the score tied. Hester fielded it 7 yards deep and took it 57 yards to midfield. It was almost enough to beat the Vikings, because Gould’s 66-yard attempt as time expired went 9 yards deep in the end zone. Hester downed two earlier kickoffs in the end zone, which played into coach Leslie Frazier’s decision. “It probably wasn’t the wisest thing to kick to him at the end of the ballgame,” Frazier said.
4. Inopportune penalties
The Vikings entered Sunday’s game with only 46 penalties, the second-fewest in the league. But, man, do the Vikings have a knack for drawing flags at the worst possible times, or what? Rhett Ellison’s 15-yard facemask penalty to negate a winning field goal in overtime wasn’t the only inopportune flag Sunday. Safety Robert Blanton had an offsides penalty to negate an interception by Chad Greenway. The Bears turned that into a field goal. Later, right guard Brandon Fusco was called for holding when Matt Cassel ran 3 yards to the Chicago 1 on third-and-goal at the 4. The Vikings settled for a field goal.
5. Walsh 50 percent from 50-plus
For only the second time in his career, Walsh missed a field goal longer than 49 yards. But the 57-yarder that clanked off the lower part of the left upright in overtime dropped him to 2-for-4 from 50 and beyond this season. “That was my fault,” Walsh said. “I tried to kill it too much. It was 57 and I haven’t hit many long ones this year. I haven’t been in a rhythm from that range, so I just tried to overcompensate for something that I shouldn’t have.”