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A group of chatty Bears weren’t enough to distract the Vikings from reentering the NFC playoff picture on Monday night. Minnesota took advantage of a COVID-depleted Chicago roster and a handful of penalties to upend the Bears 17-9.
The win evened Minnesota’s record to 7-7, and for now, gives the Vikings sole possession of the seventh and final NFC playoff seed.
“Could’ve played better, but it’s a tough place to come in and win,” Vikings QB Kirk Cousins said following the game. “We got a win, and we’ll take it.”
— Bad Sports Refs (@BadSportsRefs) December 21, 2021
Minnesota walked away with not only a divisional win, but also as the beneficiaries of a number of questionable calls that left the Bears madder than a hornet.
“Some of these calls are getting crazy. These refs are controlling the game a little too much,” said Chicago defensive end Robert Quinn. “Let guys play ball. A couple of years ago, half this stuff wouldn’t be called.’’ Chicago was penalized nine times. Among the penalties called were multiple flags for unnecessary roughness.
Officials’ willingness to throw laundry in Chicago’s direction, along with Minnesota’s constant baiting, had Bears defenders unable to refrain from voicing their displeasure. “We pretty much went down the whole field with penalties,” said Vikings WR Justin Jefferson. “Them just not being as disciplined and us just playing football and letting them run their mouth and we’ll take the penalty.”
Chicago was playing without their entire secondary — in all, 14 Bears were on the COVID reserve list — and ultimately were unable to overcome their combined lack of depth and discipline.
“I know that it helped us a couple times because they got 15-yard penalties,’’ said Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer. “We try to be a disciplined football team and not do those kinds of things. But when you get your manhood challenged sometimes, you react, and you just have to keep (your calm). I talked to the offense, I talked to the defense, about being composed and just doing our job.”
These teams will get reacquainted early next year. Chicago visits the Vikings January 9th, potentially with an opportunity to keep Minnesota from securing a postseason berth.
Now that would be something to talk about.
Follow along on Twitter: @OhioAF