MINNNEAPOLIS — The Vikings offense missed a chance to score on a game-winning drive, and also struggled to fully capitalize in the red zone.
But Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer wasn't buying that unit as the prime reason for Minnesota's 33-27 loss to Chicago on Sunday.
Instead, he turned the attention to a Vikings defense that seemingly didn't have an answer for the Bears offense for most of the Week 15 contest.
"I'd say the defense has to look in the mirror, too," Zimmer said.
In fact, Zimmer quickly listed a handful of defensive errors as soon as he began his postgame video conference.
"We didn't play very well defensively today," Zimmer said. "Last time we played [the Bears], they didn't score a touchdown on us defensively, and this week we couldn't slow them down.
"We didn't do a good job on the bootlegs, didn't do a good job in the run game," Zimmer added. "So that was really disappointing."
All in all, Minnesota allowed 397 total yards to Chicago, including a whopping 199 yards on the ground.
The Bears rushed for a season-best 169 yards against the Texans a week ago, but still ranked 28th in the league at 93.2 yards per game entering Week 15.
And, as Zimmer mentioned above, the Bears offense did not score a touchdown in the Week 10 meeting at Soldier Field on Monday Night Football.
Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings defense opened the game with a three-and-out. But Chicago's next seven drives went like this: touchdown, field goal, touchdown, field goal, one-play drive to end the first half, touchdown and field goal.
View game action photos as the Vikings take on the Bears at U.S. Bank Stadium for Week 15.
Perhaps the only play of note came late in the fourth quarter, when rookie cornerback Cameron Dantzler hauled in a timely interception off Mitchell Trubisky in the end zone.
"We needed a play," Danztler said. "I made a play on the ball."
But for three-plus quarters, the Vikings didn't have many answers on defense for a Bears offense that had Trubisky at quarterback at David Montgomery at running back — two players that were injured and did not play back in Week 10.
Montgomery set the tone with a career-highs of 146 rushing yards and 32 attempts, while recording his third multi-score rushing game of his career.
"Well, they were getting us moving and then getting the backside cut, and it looked like the back was coming back out the back door," Zimmer said of Chicago's rushing attack. "And then we didn't do a good job of tackling him."
Dantzler said: "He was a great back. He made some hard runs, and we didn't wrap up as well as we should've. Just have to be more disciplined in our run lanes also."
Trubisky threw for 202 yards with a score and the interception, but he also added eight rushes for 34 yards.
Zimmer said the quarterback's elusiveness, plus the Bears preference to run pre-snap motion and deceiving plays, stumped his defense.
"Late in the game when he scrambled a couple times when we did have the boots covered, that was a little bit of an issue," Zimmer said. "He was hitting the over routes on the bootleg, and our linebackers weren't doing a good job of getting out underneath him."
Minnesota was without All-Pro linebacker Eric Kendricks for a third consecutive game because of an injured calf. Fellow linebacker Troy Dye left midway through the third quarter and did not return.
The end result was a season-high 199 rushing yards allowed, marking the 11th time this season the Vikings have allowed 100-plus rushing yards to the opposing team. In 14 games, they have allowed at least 95 yards all but once and have now given up 150 or more yards four different times.
"I just feel we didn't have the recipe to play as one," Dantzler said. "We couldn't stop the run as well as we did in the past. I just feel we have to build and learn from it, and just finish the season off strong."
Minnesota gave up 20 total plays where Chicago's offense gained at least 8 yards. And 14 of those plays went for at least 10 yards.
Now the Vikings find themselves at 6-8 and facing long odds to make the postseason. Minnesota is at New Orleans on Christmas Day in Week 16.
"We have two more games with some great teams," Dantzler said. "We just have to get these wins. Don't know what can happen from there."
Added Zimmer: "We're disappointed."