CHICAGO – Well it took 45 years of work but it finally happened.
I have absolutely no idea what to say.
It’s not that I’m afraid of being right or wrong, positive or negative, controversial or milquetoast.
It’s just that I watched the entirety of what was supposed to be an NFL game at Soldier Field on Monday night, another loss for the Chicago Bears, this time 17-9 to the Minnesota Vikings, and i have no idea what i saw.
Minnesota entered the game second in the NFL protecting Kirk Cousins - and with the Bears Akiem Hicks returning to the lineup with vengeance and Robert Quinn doing what he does all night, each sacking Cousins. Twice while the COVID-ravaged Bears defense possessed the line of scrimmage with Roquan Smith apparently flying all over the place behind them.
The Bears seriously dominated the Vikings most of the night, and yet somehow, they were never really in the game.
So how is it going ?
It starts with a series of ridiculous penalties, some on uncontrollable youngsters like Trevis Gipson and Teven Jenkins who need to know better if they’re going to play at this level, and others on officials who if I didn’t know better. (I think) I would say they were hallucinating their way through the game.
That’s not why the Bears lost, but it was perhaps the least refereed game I’ve ever seen, and the Bears paid the price.
The Vikings did not need the help of officials, however; the Bears were determined to lose this one on their own.
Another Justin Fields fumble on the game’s second possession for the Vikings 46 just didn’t protect football.
On their next possession, down 10-0, Fields led them for 55 yards in seven plays before David Montgomery fumbled for the Vikings’ 10, fighting too hard in the scrum and having the ball snatched by Sheldon Richardson – and on the second play of the fourth quarter, with Jakeem Grant coming out with a concussion, Damiere Byrd missed a punt, returning the ball to the Vikings at Bears 37.
On the game’s two most bizarre games, however, no one in the building seemed to know what had happened.
On the 3rd and 4th with 2:47 left in the third period, Cousins scrambled 3 yards at the Bears’ 13 to set up the 4th and 1. But an official signaled the 1st down and the chains moved.
As the Vikings lined up to kick off the next game, a livid Matt Nagy struggled to get a called challenge. Officials eventually stopped the game, pulled back the chains without challenge, and had the Vikings kicked without explanation.
Things got even stranger a few minutes later when, after another change of possession, the Bears took over at their own 10 and, on the 1st down, Fields took a slam below the center, dropped three paces. and inexplicably put on one knee, stood up and then was pushed back to the ground by James Lynch.
Lynch was called up for rudeness, carrying the ball to the Bears’ 18, but no one in the press box had any idea why Fields was kneeling.
By then, it had just become the theater of the absurd.
Initially, if you had known that the Bears with 14 players on the COVID roster would outperform the Vikings 370–193 and handle 24 first tries against the Vikings 13, would you have assumed they would come home with a win?
Beyond the inexplicable, there were a few things of great concern to help explain the problem.
The Bears were still only 2 of 12 on the 3rd down, and this time at 2 of 5 on the 4th down. Justin Fields was sacked 3 times for 30 yards, in which he made his way into all three.
None of them were on the O line and the 30 yards were amassed with him moving backwards, seemingly without a clue what he was doing.
All in all, it was just an incredibly disturbing performance from a team that competed beyond our imagination but, at the same time, seemed to have no idea what they were doing a good part of. the evening.