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Bears shut down Vikings, sending Minnesota to second straight loss

CHICAGO -- Coach Mike Zimmer said last week two of the three phases on the Vikings were "embarrassing.'' On Monday night, even his once-vaunted defense was pushed around.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, left, makes a catch against Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes during the second half on Monday at Soldier Field. (USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, left, makes a catch against Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes during the second half on Monday at Soldier Field. (USA TODAY Sports)

CHICAGO - Coach Mike Zimmer said last week two of the three phases on the Vikings were "embarrassing.'' On Monday night, even his once-vaunted defense was pushed around.

The Vikings suffered an ugly 20-10 loss to Chicago at Soldier Field, their sixth straight road defeat on Monday Night Football.

The loss was the second in a row for the Vikings (5-2) following a 21-10 setback Oct. 23 at Philadelphia. At least the defense had played well in that one.

Not this time.

The Vikings entered the game No. 1 in the NFL in total defense, allowing 279.5 yards per game. They gave up 403 to the Bears (2-6), who came in as the lowest-scoring team in the league.

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Once again, Minnesota's offense was brutal. The Vikings, who didn't score a touchdown against the Eagles until there were 34 seconds left the game, didn't get one Monday until Sam Bradford threw 25 yards to Stefon Diggs with 5:41 remaining.

Meanwhile, Bears rookie running back Jordan Howard, nicknamed "The Bulldozer,'' plowed through the Vikings. Howard carried 26 times for 153 yards and caught four passes for 49 yards.

Howard had a 69-yard run in the first quarter that led to a 30-yard Connor Barth field goal, giving the Bears the lead for good at 3-0. Howard scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter, pushing the lead to 13-0 before the Vikings trimmed it to 13-3 at halftime on a 30-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.

The game marked the return of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler after he had sat out five games with a right thumb injury. Cutler generally was solid, completing 20 of 31 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown.

Cutler threw an 11-yard TD pass in the third quarter to Alshon Jeffery. That pushed the lead to an insurmountable 20-3.

Bradford had his second unimpressive outing, completing 23 of 37 passes for 228 yards and a touchdown. Thanks to a porous offensive line, Bradford was sacked five times while under pressure throughout the night.

Zimmer sought to shake up the offensive line by starting Jake Long at left tackle. Long, who was signed Oct. 11 and gave up two strip sacks for Bradford fumbles in 13 snaps against the Eagles, was better but did give up a first-half sack.

T.J. Clemmings, who had been starting at left tackle, moved to the right side and previous starter Jeremiah Sirles went to the bench. The retooled line not only couldn't protect Bradford, but didn't help provide much of a running game.

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The Vikings entered the game averaging just 74.3 yards rushing per game and 2.6 per carry, on pace to the lowest in the NFL since the 1946 Detroit Lions averaged 1.7. They ran for just 57 yards Monday, but did have an average gain of 3.2.

Minnesota broke a seven-game losing streak last year at Chicago with a 23-20 win, and was trying to win consecutive games at Soldier Field for the first time since 1999-2000. The Vikings haven't won on Monday Night Football since defeating New Orleans 30-27 on Oct. 6, 2008 at the Superdome.

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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