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  1. #1
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    Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    From The New York Times;

    Bears 19, Vikings 16

    [size=13pt]Bears Defeat Vikings, and Grossman Burnishes Record[/size]

    By PAT BORZI
    Published: September 25, 2006


    MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 24 — With all the touchdowns he scored in the Arena Football League — 44 in the 2005 season alone — Chicago Bears wideout Rashied Davis should have known what to do after catching the game-winning touchdown pass from Rex Grossman on Sunday. Instead, he flubbed it. He flipped the ball away and pumped his arms a little, but with a Minnesota Vikings defender lying at his feet, Davis felt he did not properly express his jubilation.

    “I couldn’t get my celebration right,” Davis said with an embarrassed grin.

    Grossman, whose 24-yard touchdown pass to Davis with 1:53 to play beat the Vikings, 19-16, at the raucous Metrodome, had no such problem.

    For one of the rare times on this day of relentless Vikings blitzing and pressure, Grossman was still upright when Davis caught the ball. Grossman ran toward the Bears’ sideline pumping both fists and bumped chests with fullback Jason McKie, thrilled that his play could keep the Bears undefeated.

    Almost two years to the day after tearing a right knee ligament running for a touchdown here, Grossman took another step in his progression from unproven kid to productive quarterback. Grossman, who completed 23 of 41 passes for 278 yards with 2 interceptions, rallied himself and his team after what could have been a game-deciding mistake.

    Under pressure in his end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter, Grossman threw a careless interception that cornerback Antoine Winfield returned 7 yards for a touchdown to put the Vikings ahead, 13-9.

    “Once I realized I was in the end zone and had somebody around my feet, I just tried to throw the ball away,” Grossman said. “I couldn’t see the corner out there.”

    Had this happened at Soldier Field, Grossman might have been booed relentlessly. As late as an Aug. 25 preseason loss to Arizona, Bears fans hooted at Grossman and called for the backup Brian Griese, whom the Bears acquired in the off-season. Grossman, who played only six games the last two seasons because of the knee injury and a broken ankle, was so unpopular that an employee at a Chicago radio station started a Web site called www.benchrex.com.

    The site was taken down after Grossman’s surprising strong first two games, in which he threw five touchdown passes and topped the NFL’s quarterback ratings.

    Both of those victories, over Green Bay and Detroit, were one-sided. Now, Grossman had to regroup after a critical mistake. And he had to do it in a noisy dome, against a defense that for most of the game overwhelmed Chicago’s offensive line so badly that center Olin Kreutz was twice penalized for illegal snaps.

    “This is a really hard place to play,” Kreutz said. “You can’t hear the snap count. You really can’t communicate. I was lost half the time out there, and if I’m lost, then everybody is lost.”

    Chicago won the N.F.C. North title last year thanks to its stout defense, and it came through again to give Grossman and Davis their chance.

    Minnesota (2-1) led by 16-12 after the teams exchanged fourth-quarter field goals, and the Vikings took over with 5:58 to play, hoping to run out the clock. But as running back Chester Taylor took a handoff from quarterback Brad Johnson, defensive tackle Tommie Harris reached in and knocked the ball loose. Adewale Ogunleye, an end, recovered the fumble on the Vikings’ 37 with 3:25 to play.

    “It was just like a gift, sitting there on the ground,” Ogunleye said.

    And Grossman didn’t squander it. On third and 8, he found wideout Mushin Muhammad for 11 yards and a first down at the Vikings’ 24. After a swing pass to Thomas Jones for no gain, the Bears lined up Davis in the right slot inside Muhammad, who already had 9 catches for 118 yards.

    When Chicago called this play earlier, Davis ran a corner route. Here, with cornerback Ronyell Whitaker playing him to the outside, Davis faked that way and broke to the post, alone. A well-protected Grossman gave a quick look left before finding Davis, a converted cornerback who had never scored a regular-season N.F.L. touchdown.

    “The only way he could have covered it,” Davis said of Whitaker, “is if he knew what was coming.”

    For Grossman, though, this was a significant step.

    Vikings Coach Brad Childress said: “I thought we had him moving his feet pretty good, and I thought we had him out of rhythm. To his credit, he came up with one at the end there.”


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  2. #2
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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    Posted on Sun, Sep. 24, 2006

    [size=13pt]Despite final breakdown, Vikings might have played best game so far[/size]

    By Jim Souhan
    McClatchy Newspapers


    (MCT)

    MINNEAPOLIS - Following games, the Vikings' Metrodome lockerroom becomes crowded and odiferous, filled with huge men in various states of undress tiptoeing past discarded equipment and sodden clothing.

    Sunday afternoon, after one unexpected turnover led to an unexpected Bears comeback, the air in the lockerroom filled with inordinate tension.

    Vikings coach Brad Childress, imitating his offense, went three-and-out in the interview room, taking only a few questions before pacing away.

    Several defensive backs turned surly, apparently protecting the identity of the safety who blew the coverage on the game-losing touchdown, forming an impromptu Witless Protection Program.

    Relax, fellas.

    In many ways, the Vikings were more impressive in losing, 19-16 to a healthy and formidable Bears team than they were in surviving the beat-up Redskins and Panthers.

    And this much we know for sure, even just three games into the Chili Era: He hired the right defensive coordinator.

    Yes, the Vikings blew the coverage on Rex Grossman's game-winning touchdown pass, but Mike Tomlin, at 34, has already established himself as a force in the NFC North, and a worthy counterpart to the Bears' estimable Ron Rivera.

    The Vikings' speed and blitzing kept the previously impressive Bears offense off balance all day, making Grossman look like the guy who inspired calls for backup Brian Griese in August.

    Cornerback Antoine Winfield returned an interception for a touchdown, and had the usually dextrous Darren Sharper held onto another Grossman pass in the second quarter, the Vikings might have turned this into a blowout.

    Tomlin had his guys in position to intercept three or four passes and his team positioned to start 3-0. While some of his defensive backs bristled at routine questions, Tomlin stood on the other side of the lockerroom, wearing jeans and a black short-sleeved shirt, offering his typically polite but cautious assessments.

    "We had some `Splash' plays today," Tomlin said. "But we left some out there. In close games like that, against that quality of an opponent, you've got to take advantage of the opportunities when they present themselves." Until Chester Taylor and Brad Johnson had their handoff interrupted by the perpetually impolite Bears defense late in the fourth quarter, the Vikings were on their way to producing more victories (3) than offensive touchdowns (2) on the season.

    In other words, Tomlin and his guys are doing more than their share, even if he refused to admit that.

    "We play the game for one reason, and that's to win," he said. "We don't accept moral victories." This defense is remindful of the Tony Dungy tenure of the mid-`90s, when he transformed players of average athletic ability like Todd Scott and Audray McMillian into Pro Bowlers.

    Dungy taught the same defense - what is now referred to as the Tampa-2 - and, like Tomlin, Dungy never had to raise his voice to make himself heard.

    "We're only going to get better," said defensive end Darrion Scott. "We've got new guys in here, and I think the defense we already have is already the best defense I've ever played on. This coaching staff puts guys in position to make plays.

    "I like playing for Mike. He's a straightforward guy. He doesn't sugarcoat anything. Being around him for the first time, you can really tell he knows his stuff. You listen to him talk, and you say, `Wow, how does he know all of this stuff already?" One fumble and one blown coverage, and the Vikings lost a game they should have won.

    Don't blame Tomlin or his players for this one, though.

    Zygi Wilf hired an offensive guru as his head coach, then spent most of his free-agent money at guard, running back, fullback and kicker.

    The occasional 20-point offensive explosion shouldn't be too much to ask.

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

  3. #3
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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    Posted on Sun, Sep. 24, 2006

    [size=13pt]Vikings looks to regroup after late stumble vs. Bears[/size]

    By Kevin Seifert
    McClatchy Newspapers


    (MCT)

    MINNEAPOLIS - Tony Richardson gathered his stunned teammates Sunday afternoon, hoping to add a veteran's perspective to an otherwise unnerved group. "All this means," Richardson said, "is that we're not going to go undefeated this year."

    No, the Vikings won't finish 16-0 after losing a fourth-quarter lead and falling 19-16 to the Chicago Bears. The Vikings concluded their demanding September schedule with victories in two of their first three games, but on Sunday it was fascinating to observe their response to the first loss of the Brad Childress era. If teams are best judged by their reaction to adversity, the Vikings have some work to do before they can ascend to the NFL's elite.

    On the one hand, Richardson provided a necessary emotional pickup.

    Center Matt Birk stood tall as well, taking the blame for a fumbled exchange between quarterback Brad Johnson and running back Chester Taylor in the fourth quarter.

    The play put the Bears in position to score the winning touchdown, a 24-yard pass from Rex Grossman to Rashied Davis with 1 minute, 53 seconds remaining.

    On the other hand, several players inexplicably took time from their postgame routine to complain about a full-page photo of Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher in Sunday morning's Star Tribune. Although the accompanying story chronicled the Vikings' progress on defense (ASTERISK) and, most important, had nothing to do with the outcome of the game (ASTERISK) some Vikings took offense that Urlacher was the visual emphasis. Even Childress fell victim to the pettiness, spending only 2 minutes and 11 seconds in his postgame news conference. Scheduling confusion left many reporters unaware that he had entered the Vikings' interview room; Childress answered only three questions and ended the session as reporters were still arriving (ASTERISK) leaving many of the game's key issues unaddressed by the purported singular voice of the franchise.

    "We've dealt with a little prosperity here the last couple of weeks," was one of the few things that Childress did say. "Now, we need to see how to deal with some adversity, and we'll do that. We all realize this is 1/16th of the season."

    That "1/16th" theme was prevalent throughout the locker room, in between the artistic analysis and evasive maneuvers. Another relevant fraction: In two-thirds of their games this season, the Vikings prevailed in late-game pressure situations.

    Sunday, however, they folded even after Grossman seemed intent on hand-delivering them the game. The Vikings intercepted him twice, the latter returned 7 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Antoine Winfield to give the Vikings a 13-9 lead on the first play of the fourth quarter. But the Vikings dropped three other interceptions, including one by safety Darren Sharper in the second quarter that almost certainly would have resulted in a touchdown, and they watched as the Bears adjusted to blitz packages in the fourth quarter that previously had panicked Grossman into at least a half-dozen poor throws.

    Indeed, Grossman appeared revived with 3:25 remaining - when Bears defensive tackle Tommie Harris beat Birk into the Vikings backfield, contributing to the poor exchange between Johnson and Taylor. Defensive end Adewale Ogunleye recovered at the Vikings 37-yard line.

    Thanks to an adjustment in protection schemes by the Bears coaching staff, Grossman needed only five plays to erase the Vikings' 16-12 lead. His 11-yard completion to receiver Muhsin Muhammad, which converted a third-and-8, came only after Chicago's line picked up blitzing linebackers Napoleon Harris and E.J. Henderson.

    Chicago also picked up a blitz on the touchdown to Davis, who got open when he ran past cornerback Ronyell Whitaker. Grossman found Davis before safety Dwight Smith arrived to help.

    It was the kind of ending, guard Artis Hicks said, that causes sleepless nights.

    "We just feel like we gave one up today," Hicks said. "One or two bad plays, and you give it up. That's why when you win in this league, you have to enjoy it and appreciate all the hard work that goes into it.

    They are hard to come by. . . . You hate to lose like that. . . . There is no way you should have lost that game."

    Hicks knows that even the best teams do not win every close game. Yet it can be said that the difference between good and average teams are that they handle failure the same way they handle success.

    Suffice it to say, the Vikings are a work in progress in that department.

    "We're going to keep grinding and put ourselves in position to win ballgames," Richardson said, offering the most optimistic ray of hope.

    "We know we were one or two plays away. We also know that that's when good football teams get it done. "We're still trying to get up to that caliber."

    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles


    "If at first you don't succeed, parachuting is not for you"

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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    [size=13pt]Questionable play calls, fumble plague Vikes[/size]

    By Eric Krupka on September 25, 2006 12:51 AM

    The Minnesota Vikings had a victory and first place in the NFC North all but sealed up. They could have, should have, would have...but didn't.

    All of that is true, and in their attempt to usurp the Bears as the frontrunner for the division, the Vikings' play calling down the stretch and a late-game fumble proved to be the difference, as a sure win slipped from their grasp.

    The first questionable play call came with 3:35 remaining. The Vikings had the ball at their own 43-yard line, on a second-and-8, leading 16-12. Head coach Brad Childress elected to pass, and the ball fell incomplete. The Bears only had one timeout remaining, so putting the ball in the air was somewhat of a head-scratcher.

    The most logical explanation is that Childress was hoping to get the first down on that play and run out the clock from there. Unfortunately for the rookie coach, the ball hit the ground and stopped the clock.

    Then again, it may not have mattered anyway, because, on the following play, the Bears' defense burst through the line and recovered a loose ball on a bad handoff exchange between quarterback Brad Johnson and running back Chester Taylor.

    The Bears capitalized on the miscue as quarterback Rex Grossman found a wide open Rashied Davis for what proved to be the game-winning touchdown with 1:53 remaining.

    Still, the Vikings had a chance to win.

    The second questionable play call came with 1:10 left in the game. After gaining five yards on third-and-7, the Vikings used their final timeout. It was fourth-and-2, at their own 46-yard line. Johnson fired a deep pass to Troy Williamson that fell incomplete.

    Why not throw a shorter pass, and live for another play? Even a three-yard pass that resulted in a first down would have been better, opening up the opportunity to attempt to get into field goal range to tie the game.

    Of course, it's always easy to second guess somebody when the decision they make doesn't work out. Had Johnson and Williamson connected on the long pass, Childress would be hailed as a genius. But, for the meantime, he will have to live with what happened.

    And the Vikings will still find themselves staring up at the Chicago Bears .

    -Eric Krupka can be reached at [email protected]

    Get daily insights on the Minnesota Vikings at RealFootball365.com


    [size=12pt]Post A Comment[/size]

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  6. #6
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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    i like the ending.. a lot of people will critisize it. but
    had B.j and T.w connected.. it was prolly a TD and a game winner.
    AT least it woulda set up a game tieing FG.

    hind site is 20/20


    DiGiTaL

    "We tried to stick with it, but there was a point where we were beating our head against a wall," Seattle Coach Mora talking about running at the Williams Wall

  7. #7
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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    I loved the three and out comment about Childress lol

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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    i would have preferred a short dump pass on that 4th and 2 vs. the long ball to TWill.
    But if it had worked, we'd be saying otherwise and praising Childress as a God.
    Can't go back in time and change things.
    "The Marines I have seen around the world have the cleanist bodies, the filthiest minds, the highest morale, and the lowest morals of any group of animals I have ever seen. Thank God for the United States Marine Corps!"----Eleanor Roosevelt

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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    I don't know, sh!it happens. We lost one we should have won yesterday and won one we should have lost last week. It comes down to who makes the critical mistake in the 4th quarter. It seemed to be the Bears when Winfield returned the interception for the TD. It turns out that there was just enough time for another crucial error.

    Oh well, time to let the offense loose on the Bills.
    Halo 4. Start another fight.

  10. #10
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    Re: Vikings vs Bears post-game articles

    "Big" wrote:
    I don't know, sh!it happens. We lost one we should have won yesterday and won one we should have lost last week. It comes down to who makes the critical mistake in the 4th quarter. It seemed to be the Bears when Winfield returned the interception for the TD. It turns out that there was just enough time for another crucial error.

    Oh well, time to let the offense loose on the Bills.
    I agree.

    I will say this, if our team continues to let the game come down to one play it is going to be a long season. If you allow the ball game to come down to one play you are throwing the game into the realm of luck to decide the victor. We have seen that the last two games. At some point we need to create seperation, maintain a lead, and put a nail in a coffin.

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