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Joshua Dobbs Bottlenecked in Vikings Loss to Bears

MINNEAPOLIS — The Vikings offense failed to capitalize.

Whether it was on an opportunity to run out the clock from the Chicago 43-yard line with 3:28 remaining after a fumble forced by Josh Metellus and recovered by Anthony Barr…

Or all the way back to the first snap — a deep heave into double coverage that fell incomplete after Chicago opened by hogging the pigskin for the first 9:07 of the game (without scoring, by the way).

Or by the possessions that ended with the following interceptions:

At the Chicago 44 (on second-and-12 from the Minnesota 35)

At the Chicago 35 (on third-and-4 from the Minnesota 49)

At the Chicago 31 (on fourth-and-3 from the Chicago 44)

At the Minnesota 38 (on first-and-10 at the Minnesota 36)

Or when the Vikings gained 6-plus yards on fourth-and-7 from the Minnesota 49 to end the Vikings first possession of the second half.

Add it all up, and the Bears topped the Vikings 12-10 at U.S. Bank Stadium to conclude Week 12 with a thud.

Minnesota fell to 6-6 after dropping the past two contests by one point at Denver (21-20 on a touchdown scored with 63 seconds left) and by two points at home on a 30-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining.

"Obviously very crushed locker room right now," Vikings Head Coach Kevin O'Connell said to open his postgame press conference.

The Vikings finished 2-for-9 on third downs (0-for-4 in the first half), 0-for-2 on fourth downs and netted 242 yards of offense.

Only 76 net yards were gained in the first half, with 52 of those coming on the final possession of the opening half.

A 28-yard pass by Joshua Dobbs to Brandon Powell provided a spark and was followed by a 12-yard completion to K.J. Osborn, moving the ball to the Chicago 39-yard line.

A pass interference call on the next play when T.J. Hockenson was grabbed by Kyler Gordon moved the ball all the way to the 13 with 38 seconds remaining, but Dobbs was called for intentional grounding on the next snap (Chicago picked it over a holding call against Josh Oliver).

That made it second-and-24 at the Chicago 27 with 29 seconds. After an incompletion, the Vikings opted for a screen pass from Dobbs to Alexander Mattison for a gain of 11, positioning Greg Joseph for a 34-yard field goal as time expired to tie the game at 3.

But the Vikings were unable to harness that momentum in the second half.

The 6-yard gain on fourth-and-7 was followed by the final two interceptions.

"Based on the coverages that the defense is giving me, it's a fine line between, 'OK, that's a fine line to fit it in or it's not.' The first one, I got deked out by the corner who did a good job of coming up on the underneath," Dobbs said. "On the other ones, I just can't put that ball in jeopardy. I know it's a fourth down, so we're trying to convert by any means necessary. It's a fine line, but at the end of the day, when the ball is in my hand and guys are open, I'm going to keep shooting, I'm going to keep throwing the ball to where it needs to go, and I'll clean up everything else from there."

Dobbs rallied to lead Minnesota on a 77-yard, go-ahead touchdown drive with a 17-yard score to Hockenson with 5:54 remaining.

The Vikings defense then forced a fumble on a scramble by Justin Fields to give Minnesota the ball back with a 10-9 lead and 3:28 left on the clock.

The Bears stuffed Mattison up the middle for no gain and stopped a run to the right for a gain of just 1 before a receiver screen was not cleanly executed and resulted in a loss of 1.

After taking a delay of game penalty, the Vikings netted just 26 yards on a directional punt by Ryan Wright that sailed out of bounds at the Chicago 22-yard line with 2:29 remaining.

The Vikings will have plenty to consider as they enter their Week 13 bye and return to action on Dec. 10 by visiting Las Vegas.

After coming off the bench in Atlanta to start the month of November and posting a passer rating of 101.8 and rushing seven times for 66 yards in his Vikings debut, Dobbs' stats have been dropping.

He had a 101.1 passer rating with eight carries for 44 yards against New Orleans in his first start, but Denver limited him to a passer rating of 80.3 and 21 yards on eight carries in Week 11.

Chicago contained Dobbs' passer rating to 54.3 (his career low in a start) and limited him to 11 yards on two rush attempts.

"They did a good job with their rush lanes of being disciplined and keeping me in the pocket," Dobbs said. "Now, as we said, there's still opportunities to throw the ball to the right place and make plays down the field. I didn't execute. We didn't execute as an offense. It will be cleaned up and we'll use each one of the opportunities … as a building block so that coming back after the bye we're clicking on all cylinders."