The Bears got the NFL’s first offensive offsides of the season. They got an unnecessary roughness penalty that led to coach Matt Nagy drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for chewing out referee Scott Novak and his crew. They lost two fumbles. They had a field goal blocked.
Yet, the Bears also had 155 yards, outgaining the Vikings by 62 yards.
Still, Minnesota leads 10-3 at halftime.
The Vikings took a 7-0 lead on Justin Jefferson‘s 12-yard touchdown catch from Kirk Cousins. They added a 37-yard Greg Joseph field goal early in the second quarter.
The Vikings gained only 7 yards on their field-goal drive, but benefitted from 27 yards in penalties by the Bears. Minnesota faced third-and-seven at the 50 when Cousins tried to hit Tyler Conklin. Conklin briefly had the ball before Deon Bush came across and knocked the ball loose with his elbow, grazing Conklin in the head in a bang-bang play.
Officials threw what appeared a questionable flag on Bush, but the NFL office doubled down by tweeting that it was a correct call.
“Unnecessary roughness was correctly called on CHI 26 for making forcible contact to the head of a defenseless receiver with his helmet,” the NFL officiating account wrote. “The foul was properly called by the back judge.”
Nagy strongly disagreed during a timeout a play later.
The Bears saw quarterback Justin Fields fumble for the 11th and 12th times this season, and he lost his fifth on a forced fumble by Cameron Dantzler and a recovered fumble by Anthony Barr. David Montgomery also lost a fumble after Sheldon Richardson convinced Mike Zimmer to challenge the ruling on the field and replay proved Richardson correct.
Fields’ second fumble came with the Bears on the Minnesota 13 on a sack by D.J. Wonnum but Fields covered it for a 13-yard loss. The Bears reached the 13 on a 12-yard pass from Fields to Montgomery on fourth-and-one. Chicago now is 10-of-20 on fourth down this season.
Cairo Santos kicked a 34-yard field goal with 1:33 remaining in the half. The Vikings have allowed 75 points in the final two minutes of the first half this season, and the Bears nearly added more points.
Santos, though, had a 49-yarder blocked by Dalvin Tomlinson. The attempt followed a Bush interception of Cousins when officials missed an obvious hold of Jefferson.
Cousins is 9-of-16 for 60 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Fields is 10-of 12 for 93 yards. Dalvin Cook has 10 carries for 44 yards.
Bears returner Jakeem Grant left for the locker room before the half ended to be evaluated for a head injury.