Kirk Cousins was sacked six times. Dalvin Cook had nowhere to go. It was a noticeably quiet afternoon for Adam Thielen.
On the rare occasion the Minnesota Vikings had the ball Sunday, they usually gave it right back to the Chicago Bears.
Cousins and Cook were held in check by Chicago’s ferocious defense, sending the Vikings to an ugly 16-6 loss. Stefon Diggs had a costly second-quarter fumble, and Thielen finished with two receptions for 6 yards, both season lows.
Minnesota (2-2) was outgained 269-222 and had the ball for just 24+ minutes in its third consecutive loss to Chicago.
”To put up a performance like that is so frustrating,” Thielen said. ”It’s unbelievable.”
The Vikings were looking for their second straight win after Cook rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown in a 34-14 victory over Oakland last weekend. Thielen added two TDs on a 1-yard run and a 35-yard reception.
Cousins and company got to face a Bears team that was missing three defensive starters, and then Chicago lost quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to a left shoulder injury on the team’s first possession. But the Vikings were unable to take advantage of the opportunity.
”Would have loved to have come in here and gotten a win, got to 3-1, and it didn’t happen,” said Cousins, who passed for 184 of his 233 yards in the second half.
”Now we’ve got to not feel sorry for ourselves, but get back to work and find a way to get a win and get right back on track from here.”
Cook finished with 14 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown. He began Week 4 with an NFL-best 375 yards rushing, becoming the fifth player in league history with at least 110 yards and one TD in each of first three games.
The third-year running back had very little room against Chicago (3-1), which took away his rushing lanes by pushing around Minnesota’s offensive line. His longest carry went for 9 yards.
”They didn’t do anything special,” Cook said. ”They came in and played a good, clean game and like I said, we just didn’t find ourselves today. It just sums up the day.”
Cook capped a 13-play, 92-yard drive with a 2-yard TD with 2:58 left, trimming Chicago’s lead to 16-6. Cousins passed to Diggs on the 2-point conversion, but he was stopped short of the end zone.
Minnesota got the ball back with 2:33 left and gained 5 yards in four plays before turning it over on downs. By the time the Vikings had the ball again for their final possession, it was too late.
”We have to be able to run the ball and pass the ball,” Thielen said. ”You cannot be one dimensional. It is too easy to defend.”
Diggs had seven catches for 108 yards, but he coughed the ball up on a 10-yard reception with 6:36 left in the first half. The Bears then put together a 16-play, 72-yard drive, capped by Eddy Pineiro’s 25-yard field goal.
The Vikings have scored just six points in the first half in their last four games at Soldier Field.
Cousins fumbled on a sack by Khalil Mack on Minnesota’s first play from the scrimmage in the second half, and Pineiro kicked a 38-yarder to give Chicago a 13-0 lead.
”We talked about it last night in the meeting,” coach Mike Zimmer said. ”We got to protect the football in the pocket. They’re big stripping the balls in the pocket. We got to do a better job there and we got to make sure we do that, and we didn’t do it today.”
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