In a game in which the Bears needed to make a statement not only to the fans of Chicago but also to the NFL, they did just what was needed. The Bears played one of their best games in the last three plus seasons against a team with it's season on the line. With Brett Favre and the Vikings starting to find their groove in recent weeks the fear was the Bears would come out with a lackluster performance and Favre would feed off of a big game from Adrian Peterson and the Bears would struggle.
Instead the Bears completely shut Peterson down limiting him to a season low 51 yards on 17 carries and ZERO touchdowns. The Bears defense put together what was arguably it's best effort of the season in shutting down the Vikings' offense.
The effort was phenomenal in that the Bears' defensive line was so disruptive and the linebackers ran to the ball so well. Urlacher Tinoisamoa and Briggs seemed to move as a strong unit controlling their gaps not over pursuing and not allowing Peterson any room to run.
Henry Melton had a big disruptive day and seems to be establishing himself as a real force as a pass rusher and a gap penetration specialist. Melton gets up the field in a hurry and to this point is earning the reputation of being a fourth round steal. At one point Melton was considered a reach but now as he progresses into his second season it's becoming apparent he fits the scheme well. Melton was around the ball a lot and forced a fumble that the Bears recovered.
It seemed that the Bears were just about everywhere Peterson was when he touched the ball. They were getting off of blocks and tackling extremely well. I can't recall a missed tackle in the game as the Bears shut down arguably the best RB in the NFL. Peterson did get loose for one big one of 20 yards, but on the flip side that means he was limited to 16 carries for 31 yards the rest of the game. Beyond that 20 yard rip the Bears swarmed to the football and shut down Minnesota.
On offense the Bears weren't dominating but were very efficient and did enough to win the game. Perhaps they could have taken advantage of some of their starting field position better but overall they did what it took to win. Matt Forte had a efficient day running the football, the Bears' 39 carries helped provide enough balance to allow Cutler to go for three touchdowns on the day.
There were things to nitpick about this game but overall the effort was one of the best we've seen. The Bears continue to improve in protecting Cutler, and opening up running lanes for Matt Forte. The offense blocked well enough to help the Bears control the tempo and come out with a much needed victory.