MINNEAPOLIS — Before the game even started, the Bears were already screwing up.
David Montgomery, who returned from an ankle injury on Sunday, walked onto the field for pregame warmups. After he finished running his vertical route, he lined up with some of his teammates on the 40-yard line.
And there it was. A typo in Montgomery’s name.
The misspelling did get corrected by the time the game started, but it was symbolic and foreshadowed what happened in the Bears’ 29-22 loss to the Vikings.
On the Bears’ first offensive play, one in which the team repped and scripted throughout the week, Chicago was penalized for a delay of game because the team didn’t have the correct personnel on the field.
“That’s not good ball,” Bears coach Matt Eberflus said. “We got to be on point there. That’s just not good.”
In the first half, the defense couldn’t stop Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson. Cousins didn’t have an incomplete pass until 2:52 remaining in the second quarter. The Vikings’ quarterback finished the half 22 of 26 for 217 yards and threw a 1-yard touchdown to Jalen Reagor. Roquan Smith had a chance to tackle Reagor, but he completely whiffed on the play.
With just over four minutes left in the first half, the Bears were forced to punt after Dante Pettis dropped what would’ve been a first down. Josh Blackwell ran down the field from his gunner position and seemed to be in perfect position to down the punt inside the Vikings’ 5-yard line. Instead, Blackwell – who had a good game on special teams against the Giants – lost the punt in the air and the ball rolled into the end zone for a touchback.
By the time the first half came to an end, the Bears were down 21-10. Fields did, however, orchestrate three straight scoring drives to begin the second half and even helped Chicago take the lead with 9:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
“We just got to start faster, keep what we’re doing in the second half. We just got to start faster,” Eberflus said. “Your next question is gonna be, how? We got to bring it to the men, the attention of the coaches, the players and we got to set it up for practice, and we just got to do better in the beginning.”
But that effort was squandered away with the final mistake of the day.
With the Bears down 29-22 and facing a first-and-10 at their own 46, Fields completed a pass to Ihmir Smith-Marsette near the left sideline. Smith-Marsette made cornerback Cameron Dantzler miss and then tried to gain more yards. Dantzler came from behind and stripped the ball from his former teammate to secure the victory for the Vikings.
“I lost track of him after I stiff-armed him and wasn’t expecting that,” Smith-Marsette said. “I should’ve just went out of bounds instead of looking to extend the play. In that situation just have to be smarter, that’s it.”
That is a good place to start not only for Smith-Marsette but this entire team. The Bears made plenty of mistakes and now they will have to make the proper corrections in a short week for their Week 6 matchup with the Washington Commanders on Thursday night at Soldier Field.
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