For the first time in exactly 29 years, the Vikings played in Minnesota outdoors. After a snowy disaster left their home turf, the Metrodome, unusable 8 days prior, it’s been a mad dash to figure out what to do. There had been numerous suggestions for a location for this Monday Night game, but in the end, it was decided to play at the University of Minnesota which hadn’t been used since late November. Hundreds of workers logged hundreds of hours trying to prep the field for play, which was no small feat. Bleachers and seating had to be cleared of all the snow, not to mention the field. The field also is not heated, which caused much concern for the players and ice and rock hard ground.
The players took the field, with a wind chill of only the single digits, ready to go. Brett Farve made a miraculous recover from his shoulder injury just in time for the game. He had not even practiced in two weeks. The Vikings took and early lead in the game’s opening drive with a lead of 7-0. Though Farve put everything he had into this game, which ultimately will more than likely be his last professionally, nothing could stop the mighty Chicago Bears.
Something magical was in the air on that chilly December, 20th evening for the Bears. There were many notable players that evening. First and foremost, Devin Hester who ran his way into the return touchdown record books with 64-yard punt return in the third quarter. His 14th, thus far. Hester also had a total of 146 return yards and a touchdown catch. Wow.
Coach Lovie Smith said, “Just think about that. The all-time career return leader in the history of the National Football League. You’re talking about an honor, and when you’re a special player like him, he should be the guy to be up on top with that.”
Matt Forte was also a player of note, gaining 92 yards on 14 carries. His runs weren’t particularly out of the ordinary, however he was the Bears workhorse, reliably gaining first down after first down for his team despite playing in inclement weather
Israel Idonije had five tackles, and his sack and forced fumble in the third quarter helped set up Hester’s history-making punt return. Julius Peppers finished the game with five tackles, two deflected passes and an interception.
The Chicago Bears defense was absolutely top notch. There was little to find fault with that night. The Vikings were completely dominated with no chance for recovery. The Bears crushed the Vikings 40-14 to win the NFC North title. In securing the title, the Bears are headed back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006 when they advanced to Super Bowl XLI.
See the Bears take on the Packers on January 2nd for the last game of the season!
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