Cousins, Vikings overcome Patterson return, beat Bears
Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 17, 2020
CHICAGO — Kirk Cousins will take a victory any day of the week. That he finally got one on a Monday night didn’t seem to matter.
Cousins threw for 292 yards and two touchdowns, and the Minnesota Vikings overcame a 104-yard kickoff return by Chicago’s Cordarrelle Patterson to beat the Bears 19-13.
Cousins won for the first time in 10 career Monday night starts. He hit Adam Thielen with a 6-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota ahead by the final margin, and the Vikings (4-5) held on for their third straight win. They also snapped a four-game losing streak against Chicago (5-5).
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“Great to get a win,” Cousins said. “We’ll try to keep building on it now, and it’ll be so important to keep stringing these together if we can. That’s really what the rest of the season will be all about.”
Bears quarterback Nick Foles got taken from the field on a cart in the game’s final minute. Coach Matt Nagy said Foles’ leg and hip were being evaluated after he got slammed on his right side by Minnesota’s Ifeadi Odenigbo as he threw the ball away.
Patterson joined Josh Cribbs and Leon Washington as the only players with eight kick returns for touchdowns when he ran back the opening kickoff of the second half to give Chicago a 13-7 lead. It was the longest kickoff return in franchise history, surpassing Gale Sayers’ 103-yarder against Pittsburgh on Sept. 17, 1967.
Patterson had all the room he needed as he sprinted up the sideline and raised two fingers as he closed in on the end zone.
“I don’t know what I did, man. I was blacked out at the time,” Patterson said.
The record return was the lone bright spot for the Bears as they lost their fourth in a row and matched their longest skid since Nagy was hired in 2018.
Cousins completed 25 of 36 passes with two touchdowns to Thielen, who has nine on the season. His one-handed TD grab in the first quarter was particularly impressive.
Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook ran for 96 yards on 30 attempts. Justin Jefferson caught eight passes for 135 yards and tied Randy Moss’ club rookie record with his fourth 100-yard receiving game.
The defense did not allow an offensive touchdown for the first time in 20 games, including the playoffs, and the Vikings won for just the fourth time in 18 games at Soldier Field since it reopened in 2003 following renovations.
“It’s a goofy year for everybody,” said Harrison Smith, who had an interception. “We’re starting to have a little bit of a feeling of how to make our own energy and our own confidence. I think we’re starting to figure it out a little bit.”
With offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calling the plays after Nagy handed off those duties in an effort to lift a unit that ranks near the bottom of the NFL, the Bears managed 149 yards. It was their lowest total since they had 147 against San Francisco on Dec. 3, 2017.
“We need to make sure that we’re really honestly going back now and saying OK, what’s going on, where are we at now that we have some time to really see,” Nagy said.
Foles threw for 106 yards and an interception. It was a far cry from his previous start against the Vikings, when he led Philadelphia past them in the NFC championship game on the way to a Super Bowl title in 2018.
Khalil Mack had his first interception since 2018. But the fading Bears came out flat again on a Monday night; they were dominated by the Rams in Los Angeles last month. And to left tackle Charles Leno Jr., that makes it even worse.
“Disappointment,” he said. “A lot of emotions, negative emotions right now. We’ve got to process. We know it’s two Monday Nights we didn’t perform well. It’s just frustrating.”
The Bears led 13-7 when Chicago’s Dwayne Harris muffed a punt. The Vikings’ Josh Metellus recovered at the 20, leading to Dan Bailey’s 37-yard field goal. Bailey added a tying 43-yarder with just under two minutes left in the third.
“Yes.” — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer on whether the struggling specials are aging him.
Vikings: The Vikings were without TE Irv Smith Jr. (groin) and CB Cameron Dantzler (concussion).
Bears: Besides Foles, DT Akiem Hicks (hamstring) and Harris (triceps) were injured.
Vikings: Host Dallas on Sunday.
Bears: Have a bye, then visit Green Bay on Nov. 29.