CHICAGO – The Bears defense lacked only one thing last week in a loss to the Tennessee Titans – turnovers.
It found them Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings.
Safety Tashaun Gipson and linebacker Danny Trevathan combined to force a fumble on the first possession of the game, and outside linebacker Khalil Mack snagged an interception in the second quarter.
Add in an electric special teams touchdown from kick return man Cordarrelle Patterson and the game had everything the Bears needed to win – except for a competent offense. Despite the effort, the Vikings beat the Bears, 19-13.
The Bears defense did everything it could to keep this team in the game. Linebacker Roquan Smith flew around the field for 14 tackles, including three tackles for loss and a sack.
Mack’s interception led to a field goal for the offense, but otherwise the Bears couldn’t capitalize. Two plays after the fumble recovery in the first quarter, Quarterback Nick Foles threw an interception.
“When [turnovers] come, they come in bunches,” Smith said. “But we can’t focus on trying to force turnovers over and over and then we’ll get beat. We just have to do our job and let them come to us when they come.”
Yet, with the offense stumbling to four consecutive three-and-outs to start the second half, the Bears defense found itself on the field again and again Monday night.
Head coach Matt Nagy said the offensive struggles “overshadowed how well I thought our defense played.”
Added left tackle Charles Leno, "Our defense and special teams are outperforming us on a wide scale. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board."
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook ran for a pedestrian 3.2 yards per carry, but with 30 carries it added up to 96 rushing yards. Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw 25-for-36 for 292 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Vikings ran 70 plays to the Bears’ 50.
“At the end of the day, we have to control what we can control, and that’s our output,” Smith said. “That’s what we do when we get out on the field. We can’t control how much we’re out on the field.”