With chances to make game-saving and game-changing plays, Bears defensive backs were beaten twice with Sunday’s Minnesota Vikings game on the line.
The Bears led 20-13 with less than five minutes to play when Vikings rookie wide receiver Stefon Diggs got loose for a 20-yard catch that advanced Minnesota to near midfield. A play later, nickel corner Sherrick McManis was called for defensive holding. Just after the two-minute warning, from the Chicago 40. McManis was in single coverage on Diggs, who turned McManis around with a move, caught Teddy Bridgewater’s pass and then completely lost McManis, who took a poor angle for a tackle and also lost his footing. Diggs completed the play for a touchdown that tied the game at 20 inside of two minutes.
“I’ve got to do my job,” McManis said. “That was my guy. He stopped and got open; I need to stay with him. Just my man, my guy. It doesn’t matter if I’m coming off the bench or I’m starting. You’ve got to hold yourself accountable…and that was on me.”
That was followed by another catastrophic breakdown when safety Antrel Rolle was in position to intercept a Bridgewater pass at the Chicago 27. But Rolle failed to see Vikings receiver Charles Johnson coming across from the right. Johnson leaped and took the ball away from a stunned Rolle. Two plays later the Vikings had their game-winning field goal.
“I just thought it was me and the ball,” Rolle said. “I didn’t see him. I saw the [receiver] ahead of me and knew he was out of it. Never saw [Johnson] coming from outside in. Things like that happen. If I could take it back, I would do the same thing over again. He just had a running start and made a great play to undercut me and get the ball.”
The secondary did a number of solid jobs. Speed receiver Mike Wallace was held without a catch of the four passes thrown to him. Bridgewater completed 17 of 30 passes without the Bears getting much of a consistent pass rush on him to help the defensive backs.
Kyle Fuller, after spotty results through the first part of this season, delivered a turning-point interception, the first by a Bears defensive back this season and setting up a game-tying touchdown in the second quarter. With a little more than one minute to halftime, Fuller broke perfectly on a ball intended for rookie speed receiver Stephon Diggs at the Minnesota 49, made the grab and returned it 15 yards to the Minnesota 34.
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Fuller also provided a perfect pass defense in single coverage of Diggs for a third-down stop on Minnesota’s first series, also translating into good field position for the Bears’ first offensive possession. It was one of Fuller’s two pass deflections. Fuller was generally solid in run support against Adrian Peterson, closing down quickly on run plays and beating receivers’ blocks.
Rookie safety Adrian Amos failed to close quickly enough on a second-quarter screen, allowing a third-and-long conversion with the Bears needing a momentum defensive stop. But he came up for a no-gain stop late in the third quarter, although the Vikings were able to convert on third down before settling for a field goal.
Amos led defensive backs with five tackles, with Rolle and cornerback Bryce Callahan each netting four.
Moon's Grade: D