Vikings’ Adrian Peterson buries Bears at Soldier Field

Vikings’ rookie running back rushes for 224 yards in 34-31 win over Bears

After last week’s victory over the undefeated Green Bay Packers, I thought the Chicago Bears might have gotten their season back on the right track. This week, the Minnesota Vikings and their star rookie running back, Adrian Peterson, proved just how wrong I could be.

Peterson ran for 224 yards against Chicago. That is the most any running back has ever gained against the Bears in their 87-year history. He also scored three touchdowns and helped set up the game-winning field goal with a 53-yard kickoff return near the end of the game.

The rookie looked like a multiple time Pro Bowler as he embarrassed several of the Bears’ defenders. He either escaped from their grip or simply made them miss altogether. The best they could do was futilely chase him as he raced toward the end zone.

Despite being totally outplayed by Peterson and the Vikings, the Bears still had a chance to win the game. The sensational Devin Hester turned in another outstanding effort. He scored the Bears’ first touchdown of the game on an 89-yard punt return late in the first quarter. Then, late in the fourth quarter, he managed to tie the game at 31 by hauling in a Brian Griese 81-yard bomb with 1:38 left in the game.

At this point, it looked as though the Bears might have a chance to send the game into overtime. Instead, they kicked directly into the awaiting arms of, guess who? You got it, Peterson. He ran the kickoff back 53 yards to the Bears’ 38-yard line. Minnesota ran a couple of plays and picked up five more yards. On third and five, Lance Briggs tackled Peterson behind the line of scrimmage for a 4-yard loss. It was now fourth and nine. The Vikings were forced to try a 55-yard field goal.

Former Green Bay Packer place-kicker turned Viking Ryan Longwell trotted onto the field and nailed the 55-yarder as time expired. It was a career long for him. He dashed any hopes the Bears may have had of trying to pull out the victory in overtime.

The truth of the matter, is the Bears didn’t play well enough to win. They gave up too many big plays. They couldn’t shut down the only player who was hurting them. Even though the Bears didn’t deserve an extra period of football, I was sure hoping Hester might have an opportunity to return that sudden-death kick.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

from the Oct. 17-23, 2007, issue

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