Bears lose 19-13 to Vikings; Nick Foles carted off
The Bears failed to score an offensive touchdown Monday night and lost to the Vikings 19-13. It was their fourth straight defeat and dropped their record to 5-5.
The Bears went from dull to disaster in one play Monday night.
When quarterback Nick Foles was carted off the field with an injury to his leg or hip with 37 seconds left in Monday night’s 19-13 loss to the Vikings, the Bears’ free-fall became official. As his teammates gathered around the cart to salute Foles after he was knocked down while throwing an incompletion, it felt funereal.
The Bears’ season was already on the brink. Monday night, it tumbled over Niagara Falls.
Entering their bye week, the Bears have lost four straight games and their only healthy quarterback is third-stringer Tyler Bray, who’d thrown one career pass before a disjointed last-second drive Monday.
A month ago, the Bears had a chance to win on “Monday Night Football” to claim the best record in the NFC. They didn’t win then — or since — and now, at 5-5, seem headed toward even further disaster.
Where does it end? Probably not with a win at the rival Packers after the bye week. If the skid doesn’t stop soon, it could end with the removal of general manager Ryan Pace or coach Matt Nagy, or both, at the end of the season.
The two have created a mess.
Against an unremarkable Vikings defense, the Bears and new play-caller Bill Lazor totaled 149 yards, the fewest of the Matt Nagy era. When the Bears took possession down six with 44 seconds to play, the Vikings had almost triple their offensive yards: 386-131.
In the second half, the Bears had 32 yards on offense. They had four-straight three-and-outs followed by two turnover on downs.
“As hard as it is, and as frustrating. . . . We gotta just keeping using that persistence over resistance, and just keep fighting and keep staying together,” Nagy said. “Eventually something here will hopefully change. I think that’s where we have to believe and trust and play for each other.”
The most — only? — exciting Bears play Monday night came when Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 104 yards for a touchdown, tying the modern NFL record with eight such returns in his career.
On defense, being boring is by design. The Bears once again were able to bottle up Dalvin Cook, the NFL’s leading rusher, holding him to 96 yards on a whopping 30 carries.
“It’s frustrating, can’t hide that,” safety Eddie Jackson said. “At the same time, it’s a team game.”
On offense, though, being boring is a curse — one that the Bears haven’t been able to shake even when changing their quarterback or, as they did Monday night, their play-caller.
When the Bears went into halftime with a measly six points, it marked the 20th time in the Nagy era — which has 43 games — in which the Bears failed to score a first-half touchdown.
Three of those points came on a short field after Vikings receiver Adam Thielen practically handed the football to Khalil Mack, who returned an interception for 33 yards.
Nagy — freed from the play-calling duties he voluntarily gave up Friday — had such little interest in seeing any more of his offense that, rather than try to take three timeouts to get the ball back from the Vikings, he let them run the ball for no gain twice and watched as the clock ran down to zero.
Why would he have had any stomach to see more?
“On offense, we just gotta step up,” Patterson said. “We’re not good enough right now. Everybody sees that.”
The offense was ugly from the start. On the second play of the game, Foles threw deep to receiver Anthony Miller. The ball came in high and a bit behind him, but still hit Miller in both hands. It bounced into the arms of Vikings safety Harrison Smith.
Six plays later, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw a gorgeous 17-yard pass up the left sideline that receiver Adam Thielen, blanketed by cornerback Buster Skrine, caught with one hand.
Down 7-0, the Bears put together a 14-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 23-yard Cairo Santos field goal.
Mack’s interception coming out of the two-minute warning in the first half gave the Bears the ball at the Vikings’ 45. The Bears’ offense gained 21 yards before sputtering again, leaving Santos to make a 42-yard field goal with about a minute left in the half.
Up six after Patterson’s return for a touchdown, the Bears handed the Vikings three points when Dwayne Harris muffed a punt at the Bears’ 20.
Without defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, who left the game with an injured hamstring, the defense finally caved, allowing the Vikings to go 73 yards on nine plays and score on a six-yard pass to Thielen to go up six with 10 minutes to play.