Three-and-Out: Alshon Jeffery stars again for Bears

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Bears WR Alshon Jeffery makes a TD grab vs. the Vikings. (AP)

Thoughts and observations from the Bears’ 23-20 loss against the Vikings at Soldier Field on Sunday.

1. No stopping Alshon

Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery remains on his way to a big payday. Jeffery had 10 catches for 116 yards and a 21-yard, highlight-reel score against the Vikings.

After missing four games with strained hamstring, Jeffery, who is in a contract year, has 18 catches for 263 yards in the past two games.

Jeffery’s touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone on Sunday was special. He caught the ball at its high point over cornerback Xavier Rhodes, fell backward, got two feet inbounds and maintained control of the ball.

“It was a double move, but the corner didn’t bite,” Jeffery said. “It was a great throw and I made a great catch.”

2. Competition coming?

It could be at returner after Marc Mariani dropped two punts in the first quarter. The Bears were fortunate to maintain possession on both plays.

Bears fans offered mock cheers later in the game after Mariani successfully made fair catches.

Mariani did play plenty on offense after receiver Eddie Royal was ruled out with a left knee injury, and quarterback Jay Cutler commended his effort.

Mariani’s 19-yard catch on third-and-8 in the fourth quarter was one of the Bears’ most impressive plays.

3. Line dance

Thanks to all their injuries, the Bears started this offensive line: left tackle Charles Leno Jr., left guard Vladimir Ducasse, center Matt Slauson, right guard Patrick Omameh and right tackle Kyle Long.

It was the fifth offensive-line combination used by the Bears this season. There were calls made to protect the line, but the group allowed just one sack and five quarterback hits against a highly regarded Vikings defense.

“We didn’t start out as quickly as we’d like to from an efficiency standpoint,” Long said. “We got more comfortable as we went, which is a good thing.”

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