The Bears lost their second-straight game on the final play of the contest Sunday. This week’s “Film Study” looks at how the Vikings sparked their game-tying drive, what Kyle Fuller did to record his first interception of the year and how Charles Johnson grabbed the back-breaking catch that led to the win.
It was the biggest play of the game that you probably forgot: Pernell McPhee had sacked Teddy Bridgewater, hurting the Vikings quarterback enough to earn a grimace as he stood up and saying afterward that he “smelled blood in the water.”
The Vikings faced second-and-17 from their own 9 with 4:13 left, down seven.
Bridgewater dropped back and, seeing no one open, decided to scramble over the left guard. Jarvis Jenkins, playing tackle in a four-man front, reached for him and eventually dove at his feet in vain.
In man coverage, neither inside linebacker could help. Christian Jones had his back to the ball while covering Kyle Rudolph, and Jonathan Anderson had broken in the opposite direction to cover Adrian Peterson when he slipped out of the backfield.
Open grass ahead of him, Bridgewater ran for 19 yards. Six plays later, they tied the game.
“We gave them that big-ass hole in the middle,” McPhee said, disgustedly.
Fuller recorded the defensive backfield’s first interception of the season Sunday when he undercut Stefon Diggs’ in route at the Vikings’ 49. Fuller played with inside technique, knowing he had safety help. It was the third-straight brutal throw by Bridgewater, who’d overthrown out routes.
The second-year quarterback struggled all day, overthrowing a wide-open Mike Wallace on a surefire touchdown with 5:25 left in the third quarter.
Fuller played perhaps his best game of the year; receivers he covered caught 2-of-7 passes for 24 yards, per Pro Football Focus.
The cornerback batted a pass intended for Matt Asiata that forced a punt on the Vikings’ first drive.
“We needed that confidence boost from him,” McPhee said.
On the 35-yard catch that set up the game-winning field goal as time expired, Johnson, lined up wide right, was handed off from cornerback Tracy Porter to Antrel Rolle as he ran up the sideline. The Bears were playing Cover 2.
Bridgewater’s underthrown ball seemed to be aimed at Rolle, until Johnson slid to his left, jumped, and made the catch. We’re curious if Rolle’s high ankle sprain, from which he returned after missing two games, hampered him.
Jenkins said the throw never would have happened with a better pass rush.
“We gotta rush better, keep them in contain, and then we gotta go for the ball,” he said.
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