1. Defensive penalties costly
The Vikings’ three turnovers cost them dearly, but as coach Mike Zimmer pointed out Monday, defensive penalties stung the team in its loss to the Bears, too. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty — albeit on what might have been a dubious call — on Eric Wilson helped facilitate a Chicago field-goal drive, and Harrison Smith drew a 15-yard penalty for hitting Mitchell Trubisky as the quarterback slid in the fourth quarter. “I did a presentation to the team last week about when a defense has penalties how the scoring goes up,” Zimmer said. “We gave up six points because we had penalties on defense, and we got beat by five.”
2. No room to throw
While the Bears put plenty of pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins with their front four, they were largely able to do to Kirk Cousins what the Vikings did to Matthew Stafford during their 10-sack game two weeks ago: sit back in coverage and make him hold the ball. According to Pro Football Focus, Cousins waited an average of 2.71 seconds to throw (higher than his 2.46-second season average), and struggled to find room against the Bears’ two-deep safeties. He threw for just 87 yards while hitting seven of his 16 passes that traveled more than 10 yards, with both of his interceptions coming on such throws.
3. Bears' effective running
Facing a defensive front as talented and aggressive as the Vikings’ front four, it seemed the Bears might employ a heavy dose of their misdirection runs early in the game to keep the Vikings at bay. They did just that, running for 148 yards while spreading the ball to six different ballcarriers. “You could say that, obviously, with some of the jet motions and that sort of thing,” Chicago coach Matt Nagy said. “Those four guys on that defensive line, they’re good. So you’ve got to pick and choose where you want to try to attack them, and that was part of our game plan.”