Well, it looks like I was right. The team that made the most "big plays" won the game. And unlike last year, when the Purple always seemed to be able to make one or two more, especially against Chicago, it was da Bears that made more, and it was da Bears that won the game.
When a team throws four interceptions, gives up two special teams touchdowns (now, I'm not the type that thinks Zygi should fire Childress now, because its too Al Davis-like and because he can fire him at the end of year, but Paul Ferraro? He needs to be fired and fired right now.) and a 51 yard touchdown pass to Marty Booker (yeah, I have no idea how that happened either), they aren't going to win. It doesn't matter if Adrian Peterson has a Purple Jesus type day or that Jared Allen has two sacks and a forced fumble. And it especially doesn't matter if you are so afraid of Devin Hester you let Chicago start every drive in field goal range for an entire half.
It didn't help that the lack of Madieu Williams and E.J. Henderson was exploited by Kyle Orton, Greg Olsen and Desmond Clark either. The Bears attacked the middle of the field and it worked to the tune of 9 catches, 133 receiving yards and a touchdown by Olsen and Clark. And the Purple made it worse by not tackling. The thing is, they weren't missing tackles so much as not attempting them. Time after time a Bears' receiver would catch a pass in a crowd of Purple and somehow emerge unscathed. Maybe the orange served as camouflage? I don't know, but that was the worse tackling by the Vikings since 2004 and it couldn't have come at a worse time.
Offensively, this was the first time since December 9th, 2001 that the Vikings' offense put up 40 points by themselves (and their QB was Todd Bouman!), and the first time under Brad Childress that they scored 30 or more without help from their defense, special teams or 250+ yards from Adrian Peterson. They might even have been able to score more if it weren't for the four interceptions, muffed punt by Charles Gordon (remember how worried I was about the lack of a real punt returner on the roster?) and inane decision by Childress to pass the ball on 4th and 1. The Purple averaged 4.8 yards per carry against Chicago on Sunday. They have the best running back in the NFL and an above average runner as his backup. Why not put both of them in the backfield and give it to one of them? It worked in the red zone. Even if you don't want to give Peterson the ball (he does have a pretty mediocre 47% success rate and has been stuffed on multiple 3rd and shorts this year), then give Chester Taylor the ball. Don't put the game in the hands of Gus Frerotte. His job is not to win games-its to stay out of the way while Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor and the defense wins games.
Decisions like that are why there's almost no doubt in my mind that the Vikings should fire Brad Childress at the end of the year (assuming, of course, that they miss the playoffs, a pretty safe bet at this point). The special teams issues, poor roster construction and predictable play calling all reinforce that. Given the two weeks he has to prepare for the final 9 games (in which the Vikings must go at least 6-3, if not 7-2, to have a shot at the playoffs) Childress might turn into Bill Belicheck. I doubt it though.
Coming up: 3 stars (yes, there were good games by Vikings) and later this week, a look at potential replacements for Childress.