The Chicago Bears were bad on Monday night. The Minnesota Vikings were somehow even worse.
Even during a season in which quarterback injuries and poor play by many healthy QBs has led to some bad NFL games, particularly in prime time, the Chicago Bears' 12-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings was an especially brutal watch. Say this much about the Bears: They did put together one game-winning drive when they needed it.
Justin Fields hit a huge 36-yard pass to D.J. Moore with 55 seconds left, one of the first deep passes he hit in a night of conservative and bad offense. That set up a go-ahead 30-yard field goal with 10 seconds left.
The Vikings came in at 6-5 and in good shape in the the NFC playoff race. The play of Joshua Dobbs and the offense as a whole on Monday night should put into question how long they'll remain in that race.
It was a bad prime-time game, and the Vikings lost it more than the Bears won it.
Vikings, Joshua Dobbs come out flat
For a few weeks after the Vikings traded for him, Dobbs looked like a miracle worker. He was shorthand for the mistakes teams made in not addressing their backup quarterback position, whether it was the Browns making an error trading him away or the Jets screwing up not trading for him.
Then Dobbs turned in one of the worst halves of football a quarterback can play.
His first completion came at the 10-minute mark of the second half. When he threw his second interception, which was more on Jordan Addison for not catching it than Dobbs, he was 3 of 6 for nine yards with two interceptions and a 16.7 rating. Then on Minnesota's next drive he threw a pass that should have been a pick 6 but Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson dropped it.
He and the rest of the Vikings were simply horrendous.
The Bears couldn't really take advantage. At the two-minute warning of the first half, the Vikings had 24 yards and yet trailed just 3-0. When Dobbs finally completed a couple passes late in the half and Minnesota got in the red zone on a defensive pass interference penalty, he immediately took an intentional grounding penalty that stalled the drive. At least the Vikings got a field goal out of it.
Given how flat as the Vikings were as a team, and how bad Dobbs was playing, being tied at halftime seemed like a huge win for Minnesota.
Vikings finally score
The Vikings might have been a little desperate for a spark when they went for it on fourth-and-seven near midfield early in the third quarter. They threw it a yard short of the first down, Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon shoved T.J. Hockenson out of bounds and the Bears took over on downs. Given how the offense looked, it's hard to be too critical of Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell for wanting to get anything going.
It's hard to say anything in the Vikings' horrible performance was a low point, but Dobbs' interception in the fourth quarter was horrific. He panicked under pressure, just tried getting rid of the ball short over the middle, it came wobbling out of his hands, defensive tackle Justin Jones tried picking it off but batted it in the air, where it was picked off by Gordon.
And how did the Bears follow up that gift? With Fields fumbling it away deep in Vikings territory.
The Bears had a lot of trouble winning a game the Vikings were trying to give away. Fields completed a lot of passes but almost all of them were short. After T.J. Hockenson finally scored a touchdown with less than six minutes remaining to give Minnesota the lead, the Bears were down just 10-9. But on a run, Fields fumbled and the Vikings recovered.
The Vikings could have gotten a field goal after that, but on third down the Vikings needed a few more yards for a realistic attempt. And on that play Minnesota threw a pass behind the line of scrimmage and lost yardage. If anything summed up the entire game, that might have been it. Or perhaps it was Dobbs somehow missing Jordan Addison for an easy touchdown in the fourth quarter after cornerback Kyler Gordon fell down. Addison was open by 10 yards and Dobbs threw so far outside that Addison couldn't stay in bounds to make the catch.
The Bears had one more shot in the last two minutes. The Bears started moving the ball but Fields threw a couple of incompletions. Third-and-10 wasn't Chicago's sweet spot on Monday night. But Fields hit Moore for 36 yards, and they set up a field-goal attempt after that for the win.
The win wasn't pretty for the Bears, and it was certainly an ugly loss for the Vikings. Minnesota looked like a great story as they won games following Kirk Cousins' injury. Monday night's loss was a crash back to reality.