I don’t think anyone went into this game expecting anything other than a physical, sloppy game from both teams. We got exactly that as the Vikings pulled out a 19-13 win in Soldier Field. One of the biggest storylines, outside of Minnesota’s three game winning streak, is Kirk Cousins finally getting a win on Monday Night Football. Here’s a breakdown of some numbers behind the victory.
While it wasn’t as pretty or efficient as in past weeks, Minnesota still made it a point to run the ball. On the opening six Vikings’ first downs, they ran the ball with either Cook or Mattision. Cook only averaged 3.2 yards per carry on the night, but this emphasis on making the run part of the offense helped open up passing lanes and opportunities for Cousins.
Coming into this week, the Bears had the best third down defense in the entire NFL. They had allowed a conversion rate of just 31% in their first nine games. On Monday night, the Vikings rattled off third down conversions to the tune of 53%, converting 8-for-15. Meanwhile, the Vikings defense allowed Chicago to convert just 2-for-11, or 18%.
The Bears’ front seven is a scary unit to have to stop, especially the combination of Khalil Mack, Danny Trevethan, and Akiem Hicks. That said, the Vikings offensive line did a marvelous job of neutralizing them and giving Cousins a clean pocket to throw from. The Vikings’ QB was sacked just one time by the Chicago defense.
While the Bears’ front seven did very little to affect Cousins, that cannot be said of the Vikings’ front seven. Minnesota did an excellent job of getting in the backfield and disrupting Chicago’s pass game. The Vikings piled up 11 QB hits and had Nick Foles scrambling around all night long. This undoubtedly contributed to Foles’ struggles, leading to just 101 passing yards on the night.