Three-and-out: Vikings OC Pat Shurmur shows why teams will be calling him

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Vikings quarterback Case Keenum throws a pass against the Bears. (AP)

Three quick notes from the Bears’ 23-10 loss to the Vikings in Minneapolis.

1. Facing a candidate

Now that John Fox has been fired, Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur is a legitimate head-coaching candidate — one the Bears must look at. He has been impressive in two years as the Vikings’ play-caller.

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Plenty of stats illustrate it, including interception rate.

Last season, Sam Bradford threw five interceptions on 552 passes in 15 starts. Current starter Case Keenum has thrown seven interceptions on 481 passes.

Keenum, who went undrafted out of Houston in 2012, set a team record this season with 10 games without an interception.

“Pat does a great job calling the game,” said Keenum, who had a 101.1 passer rating against the Bears for his eighth game this season over the 100 mark.

“He does a great job keeping the quarterback, me, out of bad situations. … I’ve got complete trust in him. He does a great job putting together the game plan.”

2. Going nowhere

A few weeks ago, running back Jordan Howard had the NFL’s rushing title in his sights after a big game against the Bengals (23 carries, 147 yards, two touchdowns).

But Howard finished the season on a skid, partly because of injuries on the offensive line. He ran for nine yards on nine carries against the Vikings. In the last three games, he had 41 carries for 90 yards.

In 16 games this year, Howard had 276 carries for 1,122 yards and nine touchdowns. It was a step back from last season, when he ran for 1,313 yards in 13 starts as a rookie.

3. A note on ugliness

How woeful were the Bears on Sunday?

They had drives that started on their 5-, 12-, 2-, 8- and 5-yard lines. They ran for only 30 yards, their third-worst total of the season. And they were 1-for-12 on third down.

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