QB Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings dominated the Chicago Bears in the 2nd half en-route to a 19-13 victory in Chicago.
Cousins finally got off the schneid as he won his 1st game on Monday Night Football in his career after previously being 0-9 in such games.
The matchup showcased two teams heading in opposite directions as the once 1-5 Vikings have now won three straight games, and the Bears have dropped their last four games after starting 5-1.
RB Dalvin Cook (30 carries for 96 yards, 4 catches for 16 yards)
After totaling 478 scrimmage yards his last two games including a season-high 206 yard rushing performance last Sunday against the Detroit Lions, superstar running back Dalvin Cook fell back to Earth on Monday night with his worst statistical game in the last month. After failing to get much going in the first half, Cook was finally able to get things going late in the 3rd quarter after Bears All-Pro DT Akiem Hicks left the game with an injury. Once Hicks didn’t return, Cook finally got ‘cooking,” recording 54 of his 96 rushing yards from that point on helping the Vikings get deep into Bears territory. It’s worth noting the fourth year running back’s night could’ve been even bigger as he had a 36 yard run in the third quarter called back for offensive holding.
Despite tying a season-high with 30 carries and averaging a season-low 3.2 yards-per-carry, Cook still managed his 5th 100+ scrimmage yard game and added four catches good for 12.2 fantasy points in half-PPR scoring. While you’d expect more from him, you shouldn’t be surprised with the result for Cook as the Bears were 10th best in the league in run defense and he’d been completely unstoppable the past two games. Cook should continue to ‘cook’ up defenses moving forward as his next three matchups are all home games against teams that are bottom half in the league in stopping the run in the Cowboys, Panthers, and Jaguars.
QB Kirk Cousins (25-for-36, 293 passing yards, 2 TDs and an INT)
After nine long years in the NFL, Cousins was finally able to end the curse and win in his 10 MNF game appearance after losing the first nine. While all those losses definitely were not on Cousins’ shoulders, it wouldn’t have been tonight either if the Vikings weren’t able to hold on. Captain Kirk played mostly clean football, taking only one sack on the night and an interception that went right through the hands of WR Adam Thielen (more on him later) and into the paws of Bears Khalil Mack. The veteran QB also found eight different receivers with seven of them having multiple receptions.
Cousins has now thrown for 220+ passing yards and multiple TD passes in four of his last five games after a rocky start to the season. With only a handful of teams still having a bye week left this season, Cousins could be a legitimate streamable option over the next few weeks starting with a matchup against a woeful Cowboys secondary that’s been torched all season long. He’d be a must add waiver wire priority add for me if you have either Bills QB Josh Allen or Bucs Tom Brady with weeks 12 and 13 byes respectively.
WR Justin Jefferson (8 catches for 135 yards)
After back-to-back disappointing games, rookie WR Justin Jefferson stepped up huge on Monday night, recording a game-high in catches, yards, and targets on the night. With the Bears constantly loading the box to stop Cook, it was clear that Jefferson was Cousins' go-to guy tonight as he constantly went the 2020 first round WR out of LSU. Jefferson’s highlight of the night was also one of the biggest play of the game. Down 13-10 with a 3rd and 11 on their own 14 late in the fourth quarter, Jefferson shook a defender and got open over the middle of the field for a huge 54 yard gain. Not only would this keep the drive alive but would also lead an eventual Dan Bailey field goal to tie the game at 13.
Jefferson continues to make an impact weekly as his rookie season progresses as a top-two option in a run-first offense that can only support so many players not named Cook or WR Adam Thielen. While I expect the Vikings will continue their run heavy approach over these next few weeks at home, expect Jefferson to continue to produce WR2/3 and hopefully find his way into the endzone as all three of his touchdowns this season have been at U.S. Bank Stadium.
WR Adam Thielen (4 catches for 43 yards and 2 TDs)
Despite failing to reach 100+ receiving yards for the fifth straight game, Thielen was able to haul in both Vikings touchdowns on the night. The first one came on a beautiful throw by Cousins who put it where only the outstretched left arm of Thielen could reach it in the back of the endzone to open the scoring. Thielen’s second TD of the game was much more crafty as he broke some ankles on an out route where Cousins easily found him wide open to extend the Vikings’ lead to 19-13 early in the fourth quarter. Thielen is now tied with Packers WR Davantae Adams and Chiefs Tyreek Hill for most receiving touchdowns on the season with nine. Even though the yardage numbers aren’t there like last season, it’s great to see that Thielen is Cousins’ go-to guy in the red zone.
With the aforementioned easy schedule on dock for the Vikings these next few weeks, don’t be surprised if we see similar stat lines for Thielen going forward. Even though it may limit his upside with less volume, Thielen is still a no doubt WR1/2 in your lineups and should be rest of the season.
QB Nick Foles (15-for-26 for 106 yards and an INT)
It was a tough night to say the least for Foles and the Bears offense. Down 19-13 with less than a minute to go, Foles got taken down hard to the ground and had to be carted off the field. Fortunately it seems as though the veteran QB avoided a major injury as it’s being reported the injury is not as serious as first thought.
Regardless, it was a brutal night where Foles barely couldn't get anything going down the field averaging 4.2 yards per throw and just barely throwing over 100 yards. While the Bears may have no choice to go back to previous starter Mitchell Trubisky, it’s evident more than ever that the future franchise QB of the team is not currently on the roster.
WR Allen Robinson (6 catches for 43 yards)
Perhaps the biggest loser in this disastrous offense is no doubt Pro Bowl WR Allen Robinson. Even though he accounted for nearly half of Foles’ passing yards, the veteran WR had his second lowest yardage outing of the season (33 receiving yards in week 2). Robinson’s still on pace to put up similar numbers to last season where he recorded a career-high 98 receptions and posted 1,100+ receiving yards in a broken offense.
The potential silver lining in the Foles injury is that Robinson does have a longer rapport with Trubisky hopefully leading to better fantasy days down the stretch run of the season if Foles’ were to miss extended time. However, it won’t get easier after the Bears week 11 bye as the team travels to Green Bay to take on the Packers who have one of the premier CB in the NFL in Jaire Alexander in week 12.