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Bears film review: The good and (mostly) bad of their loss to the Vikings

A look at the offensive line, some special-teams stars, a brutal play call by Bill Lazor and more.

Very little went right for the Bears’ offense on a night when they ran just 50 plays and managed 149 yards.
Very little went right for the Bears’ offense on a night when they ran just 50 plays and managed 149 yards.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Bears quarterback Nick Foles has been so traumatized by the team’s offensive-line failures that he’s been ducking and dodging out of habit, even when the line holds up.

While there were collapses by the line in the Bears’ 19-13 loss to the Vikings Monday, there were several plays in which that unit did well and Foles didn’t realize he had time.

“For the most part, I would say that our offensive line played better than I thought they did at the end of the game,” coach Matt Nagy said Tuesday morning. “Once I watched the tape, I thought they played better.”

Foles was hit 11 times, including two sacks, and he was knocked out in the final minute when Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo got through left tackle Charles Leno to throw Foles to the ground. He injured his right hip and/or glute muscle, Nagy said, and the team is unsure whether it’ll have him for the Packers game coming out of the bye week.

The line started decently, helped by offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calling screen passes and quick throws, but fell apart in the red zone on the Bears’ second possession.

Foles had plenty of space and a clear view on his second pass of the game, a deep ball over the middle to Anthony Miller. His throw was late, forcing Miller to reach back for it, and it hit both his hands before deflecting to Vikings safety Harrison Smith for an interception.

Foles messed up. Miller messed up. But the O-line did fine.

But there were plenty of examples of the opposite. With about two minutes left at the Vikings’ 35, the pocket fell apart, but Foles stepped up and threw on the move for Miller. He put the ball on target, but Miller couldn’t get more than a fingertip on it as it fell inside the 5.

Sometimes the line is fine and sometimes Foles is fine, but rarely simultaneously.

Big returns

The Bears had two enormous plays on special teams.

The obvious one was Cordarrelle Patterson’s 104-yard kick return at the start of the second half to give them a 13-7 lead. He tied the NFL record with his eighth career touchdown on a kickoff.

Patterson got critical blocks from seven teammates, and the key was a hole opened near the Bears’ 25. James Vaughters and J.P. Holtz combined to hold off the left side, and Demetrius Harris blocked to Patterson’s right.

With that opening, Patterson had the touchdown in hand by the time he reached his own 40, and he coasted the final 15 yards.

Zebra Technologies clocked Patterson at a top speed of 19.31 mph as he covered an efficient 117.3 yards.

With five minutes left in the game, Miller came through with a 32-yard punt return to the Vikings’ 46, thanks in large part to a wall formed by four players — Kindle Vildor, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Duke Shelley and Josh Woods — to his right and lead blocking by running back Ryan Nall up the left sideline.

The Bears wasted that return, though. They got 10 yards on their first play, then fell flat and turned it over on a failed fourth-down try.

Red alert

The Bears average 2.7 red-zone trips per game and score touchdowns just 48% of the time — both are second-worst in the NFL, trailing only the winless Jets.

They made it there once against the Vikings: a first-and-goal at the 7 late in the first quarter. In a scenario in which many teams could just run up the middle three or four times and score, the Bears settled for a 23-yard field goal.