Everson Griffen reacts after getting called for a penalty after hitting… (Brian Peterson/Minneapolis…)
There's something about the Vikings that, I don't know, just makes me want to puke.
There's no honor in losing to them and no greatness in defeating them. Playing them is like playing basketball against the annoying, hyperactive kid in your neighborhood. Win, and you're annoyed that you even spent time with him. Lose, and you have to listen to his chatter until you've made it home.
That's probably why I had little respect for Sunday's game. Before kickoff, I was trading emails with a friend when the topic of the Bears came up. "The Bears need this win," I wrote, "but the season is next week vs. Green Bay."
My astute friend corrected me: "Every win is a must to be a champion."
He is right. And to prove it, the Bears produced one of the classic BUT games of recent memory, a game no champion can afford.
They gained nearly 200 more offensive yards than Minnesota, BUT they lost by a touchdown. Matt Forte averaged 6.5 yards per carry, BUT he didn't get any carries in the fourth quarter. Brandon Marshall recorded his second consecutive 160-yard game and his third straight 10-reception game, BUT the passing attack was defined by a pair of fourth-quarter drops on third and fourth down by Devin Hester (that would have resulted in a score) and Marshall (that would have picked up the first down), respectively.
In the end, the Bears lost their fourth game in the past five weeks and ended with even more questions at the offensive line than they had at the opening whistle. They were diced up by Adrian Peterson, who outgained all other backs 154 to 135 and twice showed the Bears how to convert an important one-yard run, while Jay Cutler was pummeled and pounded and nearly beheaded on a gruesome, Johnny Knox-like hit.
The Bears have a team T-shirt from the 2011 season, the back of which reads: PLAY HARD – PLAY FAST – MAKE PLAYS – DOMINATE.
Today's report card: YES – YES – NO – NO.
Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor.
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