In an NFC North showdown defined by defense and special teams, Kirk Cousins finally found Monday night glory. Cousins found success with Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, while the Bears’ offense remained cold. It all added up to a 19-13 Minnesota win over Chicago .
Minnesota Vikings 19, Chicago Bears 13
1) Famously winless on Monday Night Football, Kirk Cousins made one of the worst decisions of he’s ever made late in the second quarter. No, it wasn’t on an interception to Khalil Mack – after all, Mack essentially pick-pocketed Adam Thielen more so than picking off Cousins. It came at the end of the play when Mack was drifting out of bounds and decided to lower his shoulder into Mack, who kindly lowered his and remained standing, while Cousins did not. But at the night, for the first time in his career, Cousins was standing tall on a Monday evening. For whatever reason, the football gods frowned down upon Cousins as he began his career 0-9 on Monday nights, but that monkey has been removed from the Vikings QB’s back. Against an excellent Bears defensive effort, Cousins was efficient to the tune of 292 yards, two scores, just the one turnover and tallied a 100.7 QB rating. In comparison to the Bears’ offensive output, Cousins and his charges looked phenomenal. And, frankly, against such a spirited defensive effort, they might well have been. For all the credit — and most deservedly so — that Dalvin Cook gets, Cousins is and has to be a big part of the Vikings (4-5) roaring back into relevance with a third-straight win.
2) With the offense sputtering and struggling along through 30 dreadful minutes, Cordarrelle Patterson needed just 14 seconds and 104 yards to infuse some excitement into Monday night and turn the Bears’ fortunes. For an NFL record-tying eighth time in his career, Patterson returned a kickoff for a touchdown, eclipsing 104 yards to set a new Bears franchise standard (surpassing the late and oh-so-great Gale Sayers’ 103-yard return in 1967). Patterson’s return invigorated the Bears, whose defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive only for the Bears’ Dwayne Harris to muff a punt and give it right back to the Vikings, who got three points out of it. Perhaps Patterson should’ve been back to return the punt, though he was trying to do everything on this November night. Patterson was also the Bears’ leading rusher with a horrendous line of 12 carries for 30 yards and added two catches for 19. He tried to do it all, but he couldn’t. Instead, he provided the only TD of the night for Chicago (5-5), which lost for the fourth game in a row. Unfortunately for the Bears, Patterson provided the night’s biggest highlight, but also shined a light on just how abysmal Chicago’s offense was.
3) Having strung a pair of victories together in Week 8-9, the Vikings did so without much from Thielen, who had previously hauled in five TDs over a four-week span. Previous to Monday, Thielen had just one score in 11 games against the Bears. That was all changed on Monday. Beginning with a sensational left-handed grab to open the scoring, Thielen finished with just four catches for 43 yards, but had two touchdowns, once again reaffirming his nose for the end zone. Thielen is now tied for the league-lead with nine touchdowns. In many ways, the belief that Cook has been carrying the Vikings is true. However, with Thielen and a sensational rookie all rounding into stellar form, the Vikings’ offense is gaining steam amid a winning streak.
Around the NFL will have more shortly.
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