Pa Carmen Vital
FOX Sports NFC North Writer

The Minnesota Vikings held on for the win despite a 19-point rally on the road Chicago Bears. And while the Vikings will now lead the NFC North at 4-1, the Bears may have been the real winners on Sunday because, well, they may have finally found their offense.

It was definitely a defender Justin Fields“Best day under head coach Matt Eberfluss and offensive coordinator Luke Getsey. The second-year quarterback completed 15 of 21 passing attempts for 208 yards and a touchdown. He threw no interceptions, just two sacks and finished with a career-high 118. 8 pass rating.

Minnesota rallies late in the fourth to beat Chicago 29-22

Kirk Cousins ​​and Justin Jefferson led the Minnesota Vikings to a 29-22 victory over the Chicago Bears. Jefferson had 12 catches and 154 receiving yards.

Not only that, seven different receivers caught passes from Fields. Both run back David Montgomery and a violent ending Cole Kmet ties for most, four targets each. They both caught all four and combined for 107 yards. Wide receiver Darnell Mooney, who caught just two of five targets, was the one who actually provided the spark the Bears’ offense needed with a one-handed catch by Fields 39 yards downfield for the Bears’ first touchdown of the day in the second quarter. Chicago scored 19 unanswered points.

“Passing efficiency, I think we took a step forward for sure,” Fields said. “I felt the defense was better today.”

The offense was much more balanced than in the first four games, running the ball 24 times and passing 21 times.

Chicago’s defense was split Justin Jefferson, especially early in the game. The receiver set a career high with 12 receptions for 154 yards and even threw a 23-yard touchdown pass. But the Bears’ defense came up late, giving the offense a bonus possession in the fourth quarter that turned into gutsy points. Chicago had the ball with a chance to tie the game at the end of it.

The upset, however, proved elusive. The ball was kicked out of the goal Ihmira Smith-Marset at the hands of cornerback and former teammate Cam Dantzler. But the point is, the Bears had a chance — and that’s more than they’ve been able to say lately.

Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth discuss the Vikings’ win over the Bears

Adam Amin and Mark Schlereth break down Minnesota Vikings’ late game win and Justin Jefferson’s career best

Nor am I saying that 47 hitters is something to hang your hat on. Chicago could have benefited more from running the ball, especially considering they had the ball for 23 minutes and 16 seconds the entire game. Running back Khalil Herbert, who was the workhorse of the offense last week in Montgomery’s absence, was barely heard from. He had four carries for 11 yards.

In fact, it was Fields who led the Bears’ rushing attack, carrying the ball eight times for 47 yards. He would have had 52 more and a rushing touchdown if not for a free kick that tied the score in the fourth quarter. Some of it was even planned, though, and slowly but surely, you can see the plan for this offense—and really the entire team—coming into focus.

Imagine a world where Montgomery and Herbert carry the ball a combined 30 times and Fields throws for over 200 yards, giving the ball to seven or more receivers? The Bears were two-for-two in the red zone Sunday and converted four of 10 third downs. Throw in a much-improved special teams unit and voila, you have something resembling a full-fledged football team.

Perhaps most encouraging for Chicago was the fact that Eberfluss himself has loosened the reins. The Bears came off a terrible first half and went straight down the field to score on their first possession of the second half. Eberfluss then chose to go for two, which would have put Chicago within a field goal. They didn’t convert the try, but that didn’t stop Eberfluss. He took a side kick – and it almost worked.

“Personally, I like it,” Fields said of the challenge and Eberfluss’ decisions. “I think it’s the confidence we have. I think he believes in us. When we get that onside kick, it gives us momentum. It shows that when we don’t, he trusts the defense.”

He continued that too. On the Bears’ next drive, Eberfluss had a fourth-down attempt with just four yards to Gatsey. It was the fourth time Chicago hadn’t converted all season. But Eberflus has shown that he is not afraid to take risks. And it trickles down.

Getty scrambled the offense throughout the second half. He sent Fields on designed runs, mixed in high-level pitches to build Fields’ confidence, and even finally got Kmet into the mix. In fact, Kmet’s two catches came on third down.

No, the Bears didn’t win in Minnesota. But if there are moral victories, they won one of them in what the offense showed and, more importantly, showed that this Chicago team has a path forward that maybe doesn’t look so bleak after all.

“Keep going,” Fields said after the game. “That’s all you can do. Keep going, keep grinding and keep fighting.”

Carmen Vitali covers the NFC North for FOX Sports. Carmen previously appeared with The Draft Network and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. She spent six seasons with the Bucs, including 2020, which added a Super Bowl title (and a boat parade appearance) to her resume. You can follow Carmen on Twitter at @CarmieV.

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