It felt like an elimination game in the NFC North on Sunday night.
The Bears couldn’t afford to fall to 2-4 with a loss, including 0-3 in the division. The Vikings needed a road win to stop the Donovan McNabb questions for another week and maintain hope for a turnaround.
Well, we can stick a fork in the 2011 Vikings as they were originally intended. The Bears are plenty alive.
Chicago mandhandled Minnesota 39-10 on Sunday a night, a defeat so thorough that it’s hard to see the team moving forward with Donovan McNabb at quarterback.
McNabb didn’t play that poorly Sunday night, but he ultimately couldn’t rise above his surroundings. His receivers dropped too many passes. His banged-up line started to fall apart. His defense and special teams let the Bears score again and again.
Christian Ponder relieved McNabb to start the fourth quarter, and made some nice plays. Then again, he didn’t lead the Vikings to any points and he only threw for 99 yards on 17 attempts. The only question now is whether Ponder will take over McNabb during the team’s Week Nine bye, or whether the first round pick will face the Packers Sunday. Coach Leslier Frazier wouldn’t show his hand after the game.
At this point, the Vikings have nothing to lose by making a change.
The Bears have issues, but they didn’t show up Sunday night. And their quarterback is playing very well. Jay Cutler had his second straight nearly flawless primetime effort, throwing for 267 yards and two scores. His protection was nearly flawless. Really.
Devin Hester scored another kick return touchdown, Matt Forte played like a Pro Bowler again, and Julius Peppers led the defense to one of its best efforts of the year.
The Bears could get to 4-3 at their bye week if they can beat the Bucs in London Sunday. It’s a big game for Chicago.
It’s only mid-October, but the McNabb Vikings don’t have any big games left.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!