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Bears Matchup Flashback: Purple Reign of the Bears

In their last head-to-head meeting, the Bears dashed the Vikings’ playoff hopes and propelled themselves toward the postseason in the process.

Eddie Jackson Bears Vikings
Photo: Jim Mone/AP

On Monday, the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings will meet for the first time in 2021. The contest takes place under the bright lights of Monday Night Football.

In terms of where both teams stand, Chicago is coming off a loss to the Packers on Sunday Night Football. Due to their 4-9 record, the Bears are the second-worst team in the NFC. However, they’re still “technically” in the hunt for a playoff spot.

In contrast, Minnesota is 6-7 after holding off the Steelers last Thursday. As a result, the Vikings have 11 days between their last game and this week’s game. Currently, the Vikings hold the eighth seed in the NFC. Which is just one spot behind the 49ers for the final playoff spot despite sporting the same record.

History

Monday’s showdown between the Bears and Vikings will be their 121st all-time meeting. As things currently stand, the Vikings sport a 61-57-2 lead in the series. Overall, Minnesota is outscoring Chicago 2,503 to 2,348. Although, under Matt Nagy, the Bears are 5-1 against the Vikings, outscoring them 132 to 101 during that span.

Previous Matchup

The last time these two teams clashed was on December 20, 2020, in an empty U.S. Bank Stadium during the height of the pandemic. The Week 15 showdown featured Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy taking on Kirk Cousins and Mike Zimmer. Both teams were 6-7 and jostling for a playoff spot coming into the game.

First Half

The game got off to a sluggish start as the Bears and Vikings exchanged punts after both offenses went three-and-out. Finally, the Bears got the scoring started. A five-play, 58-yard drive spanning just 2:07 gave Chicago an early 7-0 lead. Darnell Mooney hauled in an eight-yard touchdown pass from Trubisky.

Darnell Mooney Bears Vikings
Photo: Hannah Foslein/Getty Images

The Vikings stormed right back and evened the score when Adam Thielen caught a three-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins. That score finished off an eight-play, 75-yard drive that spanned 4:15.

Subsequently, the Bears recaptured the lead. The offense marched 51 yards on eight plays and chewed up 3:30 of the game clock. Cairo Santos drilled a 42-yard field goal to give the Bears a 10-7 advantage.

Following a Minnesota punt, the Bears didn’t stop the barrage on their foes. Chicago’s offense picked up 76 yards on 13 plays on a drive that spanned 7:19. As a result, David Montgomery rushed it into the end zone from one yard out to extend the Bears’ lead to 17-7.

David Montgomery Bears Vikings
Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Next, the Vikings responded by turning the ball over on downs in just four plays. This opened the door for the Bears to quickly push their lead to 20-7 on a Cairo Santos 35-yard field goal. The successful attempt finished a six-play, 17-yard drive.

Minnesota was able to tack on a score just before the conclusion of the first half. They marched 69 yards on 12 plays and added three points as a result of a Dan Bailey 24-yard field goal. Chicago had time for one play before halftime, which was a Montgomery rush for three yards. At the break, the Bears led 20-10 over the Vikings.

Second Half

When the game resumed in the second half, it got off to a rocking start. The Vikings took the first possession after halftime and moved 75 yards on eight plays. Dalvin Cook rushed one yard into the endzone to cap off a drive that spanned just over four minutes. This score cut the Bears’ lead to 20-17.

But the Bears responded with a nice drive of their own. Of course, the nearly five-and-a-half-minute drive saw them storm 75 yards on 11 plays. Eventually, Montgomery broke off a 14-yard touchdown run to put an exclamation point on the possession. This extended the Bears’ lead back to 10 points with the score at 27-17.

David Montgomery Bears Vikings
Photo: Bruce Kluckhohn/AP

Nevertheless, the Vikings and Bears traded scoring possessions again. The Vikings moved the ball 71 yards on seven plays, ultimately settling for a Bailey 22-yard field goal. That kick made it a one-possession game with the score at 27-20. In response, the Bears pushed the ball 42 yards downfield on eight plays. However, their drive stalled and Santos connected on a 48-yard field goal of his own. Chicago’s lead was back to 10 points again at 30-20.

However, the scoring did not stop there. The Vikings retaliated to the Bears’ field goal by going on an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Tyler Conklin reeled in a 20-yard touchdown pass from Cousins. After the extra point, the Vikings trimmed the Bears’ lead to 30-27.

The Finish

After trading five consecutive scoring drives, the last four combined possessions were a disaster. The Bears responded to the Vikings touchdown by going on a nine-play, 65-yard drive that lasted just over five minutes. However, once Chicago got to Minnesota’s six yard-line, Trubisky threw an interception in the end zone. The Vikings took over at their own 20 yard-line and proceeded to turnover the ball on downs. It lasted just four plays and spanned nine yards.

The Bears had great field position at the Vikings’ 29 yard-line. In typical Bears fashion, they managed to pick up just five yards and take 0:58 off the clock. But Santos came to the rescue again. This time he hit a 42-yard field goal to put the Bears up 33-27.

The game hung in the balance at this point. The Bears held a six-point lead and the Vikings had to go 70 yards with just 0:56 left. The sequence played out as follows:

  • Chad Beebe 12-yard reception to the MIN 42 (0:50)
  • Tyler Conklin 7-yard reception to the MIN 49 (0:45)
  • Irv Smith 11-yard reception to the CHI 40 (0:27)
  • Kirk Cousins spikes the ball (0:10)
  • Justin Jefferson 7-yard reception to the CHI 33 (0:07)

At this point, the Bears were at risk of losing the game. However, with pressure in his face on the final play, Cousins threw up a pass as far as he could. But alas, Sherrick McManis intercepted the pass to eal the deal and give the Bears a much-needed victory.

Sherrick McManis Interception
Photo: Brace Hemmelgarn/USA TODAY Sports

Aftermath

A 33-27 win over the Vikings elevated the Bears to 7-7. Meanwhile, the Vikings fell to 6-8, out of playoff contention. After defeating Minnesota, the Bears proceeded to beat the Jaguars before losing to the Packers in Week 17. They finished the season at 8-8.

However, the Los Angeles Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals without Jared Goff to help the Bears clinch the final playoff spot. Ultimately, Chicago lost the Wild Card game in New Orleans against the Saints, falling well short of a Super Bowl title. ]

As for the Vikings, they lost the following week to the Saints before winning their Week 17 matchup against the Detroit Lions. Minnesota finished the 2020 season with a 7-9 record and missed the playoffs.

RELATED: Bears Announce Backup Coordinators For Monday Night Football

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Writer/contributor for On Tap Sports Net and Bears on Tap. Lifelong and a die-hard fan of the Bears, Cubs, Bulls, and Blackhawks. Nothing but respect the White Sox though. Enjoying life and having a good time. Interests also include eating, gaming, sometimes reading and tons of tomfoolery. Good sense of humor (although sometimes dry). Occasionally witty. Follow me on Twitter

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