The secondary was without starting strong safety Major Wright, who delivered 11 tackles in the Bears’ win over the Minnesota Vikings in week two in addition to a pass deflection and forced fumble. The Bears could have used his production on Sunday, as Adrian Peterson ran for 211 yards and replacement Matt Cassel played his way back into a starting job by completing 20 of 33 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown in relief of Christian Ponder, forced out in the first half with a concussion.
The worst moment of the game came in the fourth quarter when Cassel was able to throw to Jerome Simpson for 20 yards on a fourth-and-11 play that would have been the game if the Bears had managed a stop. Simpson was able to find an opening in the area of safeties Craig Steltz and Chris Conte, and the continuing drive that produced a game-tying field goal was done entirely on the passing of Cassel.
“[Simpson] did a good job of winning [against the coverage] and we were able to hit it and continue to move forward on the drive,” Cassel said.
Steltz, in his first start win since 2011 when he started game 16 against the Vikings, was embarrassed in the hole by Cordarrelle Patterson, subbing at running back and going through anemic tackling for 33 yards and a TD in the second quarter. Steltz and safety Chris Conte also failed to break up a second-quarter throw to Jerome Simpson to continue that possession, which at 90 yards was Minnesota’s longest of the year.
Run support was sporadic at best, even allowing for it being against the NFL’s best running back of the current era, if not all time. Adrian Peterson simply ran out of a fourth-quarter tackle by cornerback Tim Jennings to set up a situation culminating in nickel back Isaiah Frey completely losing wideout Greg Jennings deep in the right side of the end zone.