No doubt about it, folks, the Bears need a victory this week. In case you've lost count, the losing streak is at four. A loss to the 1-5 Vikings is not what Dr. Morale prescribed.
The Vikings are one of two teams the Bears have beaten this year, so that's a good thing. And remember, Marty Booker set a career high in receiving yards in that first game. Boy, that seems like a long time ago.
Now that Fox's cackling pregame show has signed off, let's get to some football. Please.
On a side note, hopefully the turf toe gods have a little something for Emmitt Smith today. As you know, Smith needs 93 yards to break Walter Payton's career rushing record. I'm just talking a little, nagging injury. OK, before you write in and slam me for wishing an injury on the man, consider this: Is hanging around just to break records anyway to end a great career? We'll have to ask Barry Sanders.
The Bears kick to the Vikings and Kelly Cambell returns it to the 25. ... Michael Bennett runs for no gain on first down. Christian Peter, who is making his first start for the Bears, made the tackle. ... Daunte Culpepper hits tight end Byron Chamberlain for a first down. ... Bennett runs and rookie Alex Brown, making his first NFL start, rips the back to the ground. ... Bennett catches a short Culpepper pass and is tackle by Brian Urlacher after five-yard gain. ... Culpepper scrambles for nine yards and a first down at midfield. ... Bennett runs for six yards and then catches a little dump-off throw for three yards. ... On third and 1, Moe Williams dives over the top for the first. Mike Brown really delivered a pop on Williams. ... Randy Moss takes a reverse and is chased out by Jerry Azumah and Phillip Daniels for not much of a gain. Culpepper failed to throw a block on either. ... False start and it's second and 13. ... Culpepper is pressured and dumps to Michael Bennett, who has open field in front of him. Azumah sheds a block and makes a nice open-field tackle. That's two straight nice plays by the corner. ... Chamberlain drops a pass on third down and the Vikings will punt. Leon Johnson makes a fair catch at the 17.
Let me guess, the Bears will run Anthony Thomas up the middle on first down. ... Thomas runs up the middle on first down. A gain of nine. ... Chandler throws to Ahmad Merritt but Merritt drops it and that quickly brings up third down. ... Fullback Daimon Shelton catches a screen pass and stretches for the first down. ... Another dump pass, this time to Thomas, nets five yards. But tight end Dustin Lyman is called for a block in the back. With Fred Baxter and John Davis out, the Bears have two tight ends at their disposal. Lyman, a former college linebacker and John Gilmore, whom they just promoted from the practice squad. ... So it's first and 15 and Thomas runs up the middle for maybe a yard. ... A short dump to Thomas again gets nothing and on third down Chandler scrambles and is sacked. Big break here: A 15-yard facemask is called on the Vikings. Kenny Mixon grabbed Chandler's mask. First down on the 37 and more flags fly. This one's on the Bears. Rookie left tackle Marc Colombo jumped. ... First and 15 now and the Bears run Thomas up the middle. Have they ever thrown on first down? ... More flags. Non-stop excitement. The Vikings are called for encroachment.
And we go to our first Emmitt Smith update. He's already got 28 yards.
Well, it was third and something long. Chandler got nailed as he threw it and Dez White got manhandled downfield. Illegal contact on the Vikings; first down Bears. ... Thomas runs for five and then Chandler dumps one to Shelton who barrels for a first. ... Thomas again not nothing, Chandler throws incomplete and it's third and 10. ... Chandler hangs out in the pocket, pumps once, pumps twice, is wrapped up and finally goes down. The Bears punt.
Bunch of penalties and two punts early. Not much happening here. When's Game 7 of the World Series on?
Minny starts from its own 14. ... After a short Bennett gain and an incomplete pass, Culpepper hits Moss for 12 and a first down. ... Bennett breaks one outside for 15 yards before being hit hard out of bounds by Mike Brown. ... A false start backs the Viking up five yards to the 39. Moss catches a short pass and cuts it back upfield, makes a few spins and finally stetches for a 10-yard gain. A lot of running for not a lot there. ... Bennett picks up the first with an explosive run up the the middle. ... Culpepper fakes short to Moss and looks deep for Chris Walsh. Walsh dives but can't make the catch. ... On second and 10, Williams runs for 15 yards. First down and the Vikings are slowly moving the ball downfield. They're on the Bears' 30. ... Culpepper has a ton of time and throws short to Bennett for eight yards. ... Gary Andersen, he of the single-bar face mask, boots a 44-yard field goal that ties him with Morton Andersen for most field goals in NFL history. And on the same day Emmitt Smith might break Payton's record. Are the Andersens brothers? What's up with kicker brothers. There's a ton of them.
Vikings 3, Bears 0
OK, the Bears start of the 28 and do nothing on the first two plays. But on third, Chandler throws down the sideline to White, who makes a great leaping catch with cornerback Corey Chavous face guarding him. The pass interference penalty is declined. ... The Bears go to Booker. It might be a trap. It looks like a trap. The side judge called it good. The Bears are lining up quickly to try and run a play and Minnesota coach Mike Tice is having trouble getting the replay hanky out of his belt. The race is on. Chandler lines up behind the center and here comes the hanky. That was the most excitement so far. This will be overturned. The ball clearly hit the ground. ... After the reversal, Thomas runs outside for four yards, making it third and 6. ... Chandler's pass is picked off by middle linebacker Greg Biekert. There had to have been some kind of mixup because there wasn't a receiver in sight and Chandler threw the ball right to Biekert.
A few of you have written in saying you agree about Emmitt Smith but point out that he's a pretty classy guy who was awesome in the playoffs. That's hard to argue with.
And then reader Pat Guinane says this: "You know a few weeks ago I thought you had a decent gig, even for a Sunday, but I'm a diehard and the Bears are getting pretty hard to watch."
Yeah, I thought I had a pretty decent gig a few week ago, too.
As I write, the Vikings are moving the ball. A couple of nice runs by Bennett and then a pass to Moss get them inside the 20. First down at the 18. ... Culpepper pump fakes and then takes the ball himself against pass coverage down to the 3. ... A penalty backs them up five yards, but it's still first and goal. ... A couple of runs by Williams move the Vikings to the 2. The Bears' defense is hanging tough here thanks to a Vikings penalty. Two-minute warning. ... Culpepper rolls right and is nailed at the goal line by Urlacher. Nice play there. Mike Green was in on the play, too. The Vikings will go for it on first down and call timeout. But first a few beer commercials. ... Williams tries to pull a Payton move and over the top but is met sideways by Green. It's close and the officials are going to review it, but it's a touchdown.
Vikings 10, Bears 0
The Bears actually throw on first down, a seven-yard pass to Merritt. ... Chandler sails one on second and throws over Marty Booker's head on third down. On this day of records that, perhaps, was the fastest three and out in NFL history.
OK, this Sprint commercial with the little pajama-clad monkey on the couch with a cold makes me laugh. The Rally Monkey already is branching out.
Here we go. Chris Walsh fields the punt and weaves his way downfield. Mike Brown makes a touchdown-saving tackle at the 15. That was something like 57 yards. If the Vikings score quickly here the Bears may have time for another punt before the half. Correction: That was Nick Davis on the return. Repeat, Nick Davis. Not Chris Walsh. Under a minute to play and the Vikings run twice before calling timeout. ... Second and four from the 7, Culpepper has all day and finds Moss at the 1. Clock's running. Minnesota is called for a false start. That penalty with the clock running means the refs run 10 seconds off the clock. With 6 seconds left here comes Gary or Morton Andersen--I can't remember--for a field goal.
Vikings 13, Bears 0
The Vikes kick off and the Bears don't do anything with it, running the 3 seconds off. Halftime and lunch time.
But first a reader asks why 10 seconds weren't run off the clock at the end of the Detroit game when the Lions were flagged for false start. I believe the answer is because the clock wasn't running last week in that situation. OK, must eat.
Merritt returns the second-half kick to the 28 and let's see if the Bears made any adjustments at the half. ... Thomas runs up the middle for six yards and is nailed in the backfield on second down. Those two plays canceled each other out. ... Chandler is sacked on third down and the Bears went forward six yards and backwards 10 on that possession. Punt.
It's this kind of day: Alex Brown has Culpepper wrapped up, but Culpepper dumps it to Bennett, who runs for six yards. Randy Moss, of all people, threw a block on the play.
Emmitt Smith is 38 yards from the record. He must be getting the ball on every play. No doubt, Fox will be breaking away from this game when he gets close.
Back to this one, Minny continues to move the ball down the field. Bennett breaks one for 10 yards, Jim Kleinsasser catches a short dump for about five and then the inevitable, over the top to Moss for a touchdown. Single coverage by Reggie Austin isn't going to do it. The Vikings were patient there, waiting for one DB to be on Moss and when there was, Culpepper found him.
Vikings 20, Bears 0
Here comes the angry e-mail. Ralph from Boston sends his "condolences" to those in the area for having to watch this.
The Bears have 57 yards of offense on the day. That pass to Moss was about that long.
Chandler scrambles on first down and then is stripped on second. Minnesota recovers. Emmitt Smith can't break the record fast enough.
Is it this bad? The Vikings now have Randy Moss throwing passes. He had a receiver open but underthrew him. .. Moss comes right back and makes an unbelievable twisting catch on the 2.
Now we have Packers fans writing just to taunt.
Culpepper takes it himself and fumbles on the goal line and the Bears recover. The Browns, Alex and Mike, were in on that. Alex forced the fumble.
On the Bears' first play, Thomas is thrown back into the end zone for a safety.
Vikings 22, Bears 0
A penalty and a run by Bennett move the ball to midfield. This Packers fan won't leave me alone. Hey, I'm just the typist.
Varying combinations of Culpepper, Bennett and Moss move the Vikings inside the 10. On third and goal the ball goes through Moss' hands and the Vikings will try a field goal. Andersen hits it.
Vikings 25, Bears 0
Update: Emmitt Smith needs 13 yards in the fourth quarter to pass Payton. How lame would it be if he got 12 and everyone had to wait a week for a one-yard plunge?
Meanwhile...the Bears complete two passes in a row. Marcus Robinson makes a sweet catch on a semi-deep play. Again Chavous is called for face guarding. They're into Minny territory. That's the end of the third.
Play-action and Chandler throws 27 yards to Booker in the end zone to avoid a shutout.
Vikings 25, Bears 7
The Vikings run a few running plays and face a third and 6 while Packer fan Jim Spanheimer conintues to taunt me.
OK, split screen here between Minnesota and Irving, Texas. I'm sure there wouldn't be too many people who would be disappointed if they just flipped to the Dallas game. Emmitt nearly breaks one up the middle and passes Sweetness. Smith takes a bow and gets a hug from Mom. Just as Jerry Jones appears on screen Fox thankfully flips from history to nothingness. Back to the Metrodome.
If memory serves, when Payton broke the record against the Saints he got a few high-fives and hugs and then told everyone who wasn't supposed to be on the field to get off it. I also remember him being given a Lamborghini after the game by Kangaroo, his shoe sponsor. Kangaroos, remember those?
I'm not sure what's going on in the Bears game, but the Vikings are punting. The Vikes down it at the 5.
Chandler hits Booker deep and Chavous gets the hat trick, his third pass interference of the day. Chandler got hit as he threw and Miller is warming up on the sideline. ... The Vikings blitz and Chandler goes down for the fifth time today. ... Chandler looks deep again, this time to Merritt, but it's way overthrown. Chandler took another huge shot and was helped up by the ref. ... On fourth the Bears throw to Booker but he's short of the first-down marker.
The Packer fan, apparently tired of talking trash during the bye week, writes in with a good comment, comparing the offensive lines of Payton and Smith.
The Bears block a Minnesota punt and Henry Burris has his helmet on.
Burris, in his first NFL action, has his first NFL pass deflected. On his second NFL play, he trips over the center Olin Kreutz's feet and falls over. ... Minnesota is called for three straight penalties and then, on his third NFL play, Burris throws an interception to, of all people, Chavous. Wait, the Vikings' fourth straight penalty negates that. Burris gets another chance and ... throws an interception.
The Vikings go nowhere and punt. Burris hits White on a play-action pass and White cuts upfield and makes some nice moves for a decent gain. ... Burris scrambles for about 10, scrambles again, drops the ball and recovers it himself. A couple of incomplete passes and the Bears turn it over on downs. The Vikings will take a knee and end this one.
That's five straight losses for the Bears. Outside of that Monday night Packers game, the Bears, at least, were in the other games in the streak, including two overtime games. But this one was a blowout against the team with the worst record in the division. The Bears now share that distinction. What's worse is it won't get any easier from here. Their next three opponents are Philadelphia, New England and St. Louis
Thanks for joining us, everyone. And thanks to everyone who wrote in. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.