Bears coach Marc Trestman would probably like to be able to employ a 12th man on the Sunday to help stop Adrian Peterson. Maybe one showed up Sunday morning.
Rain started shortly after 6 continued for some time on a Soldier Field surface that endured an Illinois-Washington game Saturday night in which the two teams ran the ball a combined 86 times and threw 61 passes.
Trestman last week evinced no concern about the wet part of the Soldier Field equation.
“[Bears players] have played on it a lot more than I have,” Trestman said. “But I don’t think the field conditions are going to dramatically impact either team to where any team’s going to have an advantage.”
Maybe. But a muddy track affects different players differently. It makes quarterbacks harder to rush because defensive linemen have more difficulty pushing off in pass rush. In the Houston game last season on a rainy day, two of the better pass rushes in the NFL netted exactly one sack between them in a game with more than 60 dropbacks. Receivers know where they’re going vs. backpedaling defensive backs.
Gale Sayers was a legendary mudder, able to keep his feet while all around him were losing theirs. And to Trestman’s point as far as familiarity with conditions, Sayers was accustomed to poor footing, playing in Wrigley Field with its baseball infield and other outdoor elements.
Adrian Peterson plays his home games on turf inside a domed stadium. Soldier Field is anything but.
If there was a weather advantage in Bears-Vikings, it may lie in lakefront wind. And the Bears have a stronger quarterback arm (Jay Cutler) than the Vikings (Christian Ponder).
“Wind affects game planning more than anything,” Trestman said. “It all depends whether you can use the area of the field outside of the numbers. Fortunately with us in the passing game, the numbers aren’t an issue for Jay. He can throw the ball outside in wind and weather and he’s used to doing it.”