ReFo: Vikings @ Bears, Week 11
In a flurry of snow, it was the Bears who held on and halted their losing streak, earning their first home win of the season against the division rival Vikings. Possibly aided in part by a game clock that was out of commission for large portions of the contest including the game’s final two minutes, Chicago pulled through with a late Ryan Mundy interception to stop Minnesota’s rally and draw their records even at 4-6.
For Chicago, this should be definitive proof that they’ve yet to mail it in despite the blowouts of recent weeks. There were moments in this game where you could see a faint image of the Bears’ 2013 offense peeking through the snow, even if they didn’t put it on display for a full 60 minutes. Both teams still maintain an outside shot at the playoffs, especially thanks to a few key losses in the NFC this week, but they’ll each need to up their level of play if they want to make up ground over the remaining six weeks.
Minnesota Vikings –Performances of Note
Teddy Bridgewater, QB: -1.0
Breakdown: Bridgewater’s grade isn’t necessarily an indicator of poor play, but rather reflective of his lack of playmaking in this game. Rarely throwing downfield, the Louisville product settled for checkdowns and erred on the side of caution for most of the game, seldom making mistakes but also failing to really challenge the defense.
Signature Stat: Attempted only one pass more than 20 yards downfield, his final throw of the game. Sixteen of his 25 aimed passes were between the numbers and within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.
Everson Griffen, DE: +5.4
Breakdown: This is the kind of performances that the Vikings’ brass envisioned when they gave the part timer a lucrative extension this offseason with the promise of full-time duty. Notching his fourth straight grade above +3.0, Griffen recorded five hurries and generally laid waste to the left side of the Bears’ offensive line.
Signature Play: Griffen got pressure on back-to-back plays a bit over halfway through the third quarter, plowing through Brian De La Puente on the first and then tossing aside Jermon Bushrod one play later.
Sharrif Floyd, DT: +4.3
Breakdown: Not one to put up big numbers in a conventional sense, Floyd was seemingly everywhere in Chicago. Bursting through attempts to block him at the point of attack, the sophomore was equally as dangerous when the Bears ran away from him, taking advantage of weak backside blocking on more than one occasion to make tackles for little to no gain.
Signature Play: With 12:59 left to go in the final quarter, Floyd exploded off the line, splitting the double team of Kyle Long and Michael Ola (the former fortunate to not have been called for holding) before chasing down Matt Forte on the opposite side for a minimal gain.
Chicago Bears –Performances of Note
Alshon Jeffery, WR: +2.7
Breakdown: His production has been at times absent this year, but Jeffery was very much in the present against the Vikings. Accounting for a ludicrous 40% of Jay Cutler’s aimed passes, Jeffery turned those 16 targets into 135 yards and a season-high 11 catches, six of which moved the chains and one that put points on the board.
Signature Play: Perhaps five minutes into the timeless third quarter, Jeffery leaped over a hapless Josh Robinson for a nearly indefensible 34-yard pick up.
Brian De La Puente, LG: -4.1
Breakdown: One of the best value signings in the league when filling in at center, the former Saint struggled as he shifted over to left guard for the second straight week in place of an injured Matt Slauson. He was troubled on the occasions Everson Griffen rushed inside and couldn’t attenuate for his woes in pass protection with his normally strong run blocking nowhere to be seen.
Signature Play: Q2, 14:35. Shed as if he wasn’t even there, Floyd brushed off De La Puente’s block, forcing Forte to pick up Floyd or risk Cutler getting a face full of turf.
Lance Briggs, LB: +2.3
Breakdown: Despite rumblings of discontent over what may well be his last season in the Windy City, Briggs shone through with an impressive +2.8 run defense grade. Using his experience to sneak through the traffic, Briggs recorded three stops and boosted his run defense grade on the year to +8.3.
Signature Play: Q1, 12:47. Knifing into the backfield before anyone could get a hand on him, the veteran linebacker laid out Jerick McKinnon for a hefty loss, bringing up second and long.
PFF Game Ball
He wasn’t on the winning side when the clock hit zero, but Everson Griffen (+5.4) narrowly edged out his defensive teammate as the best player on the field on Sunday.