Vikings offense moved the chains, but failed to put the game away
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CHICAGO -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson shook his head when asked about his lost fumble after Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears.
But Peterson's disappointment multiplied when the following question inquired into how difficult it is to come away with just six points after your defense creates two turnovers in the second half.
"Oh, man, that hurts," Peterson said. "That right there is what hurts the most. Being in the redzone, right on the four-yard line and having to settle for three."
The Vikings offense churned out drives of 81-, 79- and 43-yards in the second half, but couldn't break the endzone and settled for three consecutive field goals from less than 30 yards each.
Quarterback Christian Ponder looked ahead of the curve he set in the season opener at the Detroit Lions, but failed to convert when it mattered.
Defensive tackle Letroy Guion's forced fumble and recovery set up the Vikings' final drive, which was the main target for criticism after the game. The Vikings ultimately sat with a 1st-and-goal from the Bears' six-yard line and could not get the touchdown.
Peterson gained two yards on first down, Ponder misfired to tight end Kyle Rudolph on second and on the final play, Peterson was stuffed behind his own left tackle for no gain.
"It's easy to second guess after the fact. But sometimes when you give the ball to Adrian [Peterson] on third and four, you don't feel like you need to pass," Coach Leslie Frazier said. "That's one where, hindsight being 20/20, I'd do something differently."
Buoyed by special teams and defensive touchdowns, the only offensive touchdown came on the final drive of the first half, when Ponder found Rudolph in the back of the endzone for a 20-yard score.
However, the defense gave up 78 yards in 71 seconds after that touchdown and allowed a last-second field goal by Bears' kicker Robbie Gould before halftime. Safety Jamarca Sanford was flagged for unnecessary roughness to spot the Bears 15 yards and quarterback Jay Cutler's 31-yard pass to receiver Brandon Marshall set them up near the goal line.
While the immediate blame falls on the offense's final drive, the Vikings had plenty of chances to erase the one-point difference.
"In those situations, offensively, we have to come through and make a big play, we weren't able to do that today," Peterson said. "We do that today, we win. Simple. Simple as that. We have to do a better job of being efficient in the redzone, getting 7's instead of 3's."