Bears vs. Vikings score: Justin Jefferson, Minnesota defense step up for scrappy win in Chicago

adam-thielen-vikings.jpg

The Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings met on Monday night headed in opposite directions, and that trend continued during the finale to Week 10. Neither side was particularly consistent, with defense and special teams playing big roles in a low-scoring affair, and for a while it appeared that those very units were going to end the Bears' three-game skid. Nick Foles and Co. were listless for much of the evening, however, whereas Justin Jefferson helped propel Minnesota's attack en route to a 19-13 Vikings victory.

The close win further tightens the NFC North standings, with the Green Bay Packers up top at 7-2 and the Bears, Vikings and Detroit Lions now all within one game of each other. It also marks three straight wins for Minnesota, all of which have come in the division.

Here are some immediate takeaways from Monday night's NFC North battle:

Why the Vikings won

They played the Bears offense? In all seriousness, facing Chicago's battered O-line and in-transition play-calling was the No. 1 reason Minnesota thrived on Monday night, but they still deserve some credit for the execution: Eric Wilson and D.J. Wonnum flashed with big plays, and Harrison Smith nearly finished the night with two turnovers. On the other side of the ball, Dalvin Cook played tough despite just so-so numbers against the Bears' aggressive front, while Justin Jefferson reminded everyone why he should be in the Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation. On a night where Kirk Cousins was just good enough, Jefferson did his part to help the QB, looking like a bona fide No. 1 wideout against Chicago's secondary.

Why the Bears lost

They literally needed their defense and special teams to score touchdowns. Look, Chicago deserves credit for how those units played; the "D" slowed the Vikings' greatest weapon in Cook and successfully put the Bears' offense in scoring range following a takeaway, while Cordarelle Patterson single-handedly threatened to tilt the game in Chicago's favor with his 104-yard kick-return score. But Matt Nagy's -- er, Bill Lazor's -- offense sputtered from start to finish. It's no wonder Nick Foles couldn't finish the game upright (he was carted off late in the fourth quarter with an injury to his lower body), because the protection was never steady. Even when it was, Foles paired promising strikes with crucial misses, including a potential game-winner in the waning minutes. It didn't help that Patterson was the "lead" ball-carrier with basically no production on the ground.

Turning point

After a first half that saw the two sides combine for three turnovers, the Bears settled down -- by going three-and-out on three straight drives. The offensive ineptitude allowed the Vikings to take their time with the comeback, and all it took, really, was one long drive to turn the tables completely. Starting at their own 37 early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota proceeded to march 63 yards in just under five minutes, capping the series with a Cousins TD to Adam Thielen to put the Vikings ahead for good.

Play of the game

Jefferson had some nice catch-and-run highlights for Minnesota, but in a scrappy, sloppy game, the biggest play actually belongs to the losing side. Patterson's 104-yard return touchdown was extra sweet considering he pulled it off against his original team:

What's next

The Bears (5-5) will have a week to rest and reflect before returning in Week 12 with a "Sunday Night Football" matchup with the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers (7-2). The Vikings (4-5), meanwhile, will head back home for a showdown with the Dallas Cowboys (2-7), who are set to welcome back Andy Dalton at quarterback.

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MON 8:15 P
CHI +3, o44.5
ESPN
CHI 3, O/U 44.5

Season Leaders

passing
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K. Cousins 4265 YD, 35 TDS, 13 INTS
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K. Cousins 4265 YD, 35 TDS, 13 INTS
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M. Trubisky 2055 YD, 16 TDS, 8 INTS
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M. Trubisky 2055 YD, 16 TDS, 8 INTS
rushing
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D. Cook 312 ATT, 1557 YD, 16 TDS
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D. Cook 312 ATT, 1557 YD, 16 TDS
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D. Montgomery 247 ATT, 1070 YD, 8 TDS
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D. Montgomery 247 ATT, 1070 YD, 8 TDS
receiving
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J. Jefferson 88 REC, 1400 YD, 7 TDS
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J. Jefferson 88 REC, 1400 YD, 7 TDS
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A. Robinson 102 REC, 1250 YD, 6 TDS
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A. Robinson 102 REC, 1250 YD, 6 TDS
Live updates
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@ChicagoBears via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 4:35 AM
@Vikings via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 4:31 AM
@Vikings via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 4:28 AM
@ChicagoBears via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 4:16 AM
@ChicagoBears via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 4:08 AM

I can't tell if Foles suffered a back injury or neck issue. It actually looks like a neck issue to me.

November 17, 2020, 4:06 AM

Cook has now leapfrogged Derrick Henry as the NFL's leading rusher, pretty impressive when you consider Cook has played in one fewer game. His YPG (which was nearly 6 yards before tonight) will take a hit, but I'm guessing he doesn't care as long as the Vikings pull out the win.

November 17, 2020, 4:00 AM

https://twitter.com/seanjwagne...

November 17, 2020, 3:57 AM

Dalvin Cook inching towards 100 yards. He's at 91 on 27 carries now. He doesn't have big numbers tonight, but he's rushed for nearly 60 yards this half and has been a big reason why the Vikings are in position to win their third straight game.

November 17, 2020, 3:55 AM
@Vikings via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 3:53 AM
@Vikings via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 3:53 AM

Credit to the Bears defense for forcing a quick punt that gives their offense the ball with just over five minutes left. Miller runs the punt back into Vikings territory. Bears have the ball on the Vikings' 46 with 5:01 left. They spread it out on the first play and hit Patterson for a first down. As long as they can do this and still keep Foles clean, they should stay in this formation.

November 17, 2020, 3:51 AM
@Vikings via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 3:43 AM

That missed extra point could end up being huge....

November 17, 2020, 3:38 AM

Thielen now has two touchdowns tonight, as the Vikings are looking to win their first game this season after committing a turnover. Vikings have received a nice game from Cousins, who has thrown for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Cook hasn't been stellar, but he is now up to 66 yards and had a solid 13-yard run on that scoring drive.

November 17, 2020, 3:38 AM
@ChicagoBears via Twitter
November 17, 2020, 3:37 AM

Cook starting to have some success and it's helped further open things up for the passing game. Vikings just ran a PA to Cook and a third of the Bears' defense followed him. Cousins rolled out opposite Cook and hit Jefferson for a first down, as the Vikings are now in the red zone.

November 17, 2020, 3:35 AM
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