We’re officially on the back stretch of the 2010 season and the NFC North possess an unwelcoming sight for Vikings fans after the 27-13 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Vikings dropped to 3-6 while the Bears moved into a 1st place tie with the Green Bay Packers atop the division at 6-3 while the Packers stood idle during their bye week.
For the Bears, it was Jay Cutler and Devin Hester who paved the way to victory. Cutler completed 22 of 35 passes for 237 yards, 3 TDs and 2 INTs (both INTs led to 0 Vikings points), while Hester proved to be the Bears all-purpose player – he tallied 2 kick returns for 100 yards (68 long), 2 punt returns for 47 yards (42 long) and caught 4 passes for 39 yards and 1 TD.
One of the biggest factors to the Bears victory was their ability to convert on 3rd down. Cutler and Co. converted 11 of 19 third-down attempts with 2 of Cutler’s TDs coming on 3rd down.
Just as much credit must go to the Bears defense, which held the Vikings to 240 yards of total offense. The Bears also held Vikings RB Adrian Peterson to a season-low 51 yards on 17 carries and picked off QB Brett Favre 3 times.
Chicago can enjoy the win for only a short time, though, as it must turn the focus quickly to the Miami Dolphins for a Thursday night matchup at Sun Life Stadium.
The Vikings, on the other hand, will have another opportunity to put a dent in the divisional lead, as they will host the NFC North leading Packers in front of what is sure to be a frenzied crowd at Mall of America Field on Sunday afternoon.
In the only other NFC North game on Sunday, the Buffalo Bills tallied their first victory of the season by defeating the Detroit Lions by a mark of 14-12.
Bills RB Fred Jackson scored on a 1-yard TD plunge early in the 2nd quarter and his team never looked back. The Lions brought the game to within 4 after a 1st half-ending FG by K Dave Rayner, but Buffalo scored the eventual game-winner on Jackson’s 2nd TD of the game in the 3rd quarter. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a short shovel pass to Jackson in the middle of the field and the Bills RB darted 16 yards for the score.
Detroit scored on a 45-yard FG by Rayner and a 20-yard TD reception by Calvin Johnson in the 4th quarter, but their efforts came up short as the Lions fell to 2-7 on the season.
The Lions will travel to Dallas on Sunday for a matchup against the Cowboys in a battle of two 2-7 teams.
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