The Bears dropped their season finale Sunday, falling to the Vikings 29-13 at Soldier Field.
"It's always disappointing when you don't put the W up," coach Matt Eberflus said. "Again, our eyes are forward now. I thought our guys battled today. I thought they did a really nice job of that. And, again, they worked hard together. It didn't come out in the end on our side, but that's the way it is."
Without quarterback Justin Fields and several key players, the Bears fell behind early as their first score came late in the second quarter while the Vikings scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions.
Quarterback Nathan Peterman started for the Bears in place of Fields, completing 11 of 19 pass attempts for 114 yards and a touchdown. Backup Tim Boyle came in for the Bears' fourth possession, playing just two drives in the first half before replacing Peterman again with 3:28 to play. Boyle attempted eight passes, completing two for 33 yards and two interceptions.
"I was thankful to get out there," Peterman said on starting Sunday. "You know, felt like I did some good things. There's definitely not a game [that's] perfect. It wasn't perfect out there, but thankful for the opportunity."
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins started and played the entire first half, completing 17 of 20 pass attempts for 225 yards and a touchdown. Backup quarterback Nick Mullens played the entire second half and completed 11 passes for 116 yards and an interception.
A 10th straight loss dropped the Bears to 3-14 for the season while the Vikings improved to 13-4.
The Vikings struck first with a 4-play, 73-yard touchdown drive on their opening possession, but took just a 6-0 lead after kicker Greg Joseph missed the extra point attempt. On third-and-7, Cousins connected with receiver K.J. Osborn deep down the left side to the Chicago 4 for a 66-yard gain. Cousins then hit receiver Adam Thielen in the end zone on the next play for a 4-yard score.
While the Vikings quickly drove back down the field, reaching the Chicago 38, cornerback Harrison Hand stripped the ball from running back Dalvin Cook and linebacker Joe Thomas recovered it at the 29. However, the Bears offense was unable to capitalize on the takeaway after they were stopped on fourth-and-7, turning it over on downs. While Peterman completed a pass to receiver Dante Pettis, he was tackled just one yard short of the sticks.
After taking over at their own 34, the Vikings scored another touchdown to extend the lead to 13-0 with 9:20 left in the second quarter. Cousins completed a 16 yard pass to tight end T.J. Hockenson on third-and-11 then connected with fullback C.J. Hamm for an 11-yard gain to reach Chicago territory. On third-and-6, Cousins extended the drive with a 7-yard pass to Osborn before a pair of carries by running back Alexander Mattison brought the Vikings to the Chicago 1. Mattison finished the drive off with a 1-yard touchdown run.
The Vikings capitalized on an interception by Bears backup quarterback Tim Boyle, as Joseph hit a 28-yard field goal to increase their lead to 16-0 with under five minutes to play in the first half. Boyle replaced Peterman on the Bears' fourth drive was picked off at the Minnesota 37 by cornerback Patrick Peterson, who returned it to the Chicago 35. On third-and-9, the Bears defense forced an incompletion, leading to the field goal try.
With under four minutes left in the first half, the Bears got their first score of the day as receiver Velus Jones Jr. took a pitch and ran 42 yards down the right sideline to the end zone. The Bears went for two, but could not convert and trailed 16-6. Jones' big run gave the Bears 2,975 rushing yards for the season, passing the 1984 team for the most rushing yards in franchise history. Boyle completed passes to tight end Cole Kmet of 17 and 16 yards on the scoring drive.
Minnesota opened up the second half with a third touchdown drive as Mattison found the end zone again from one yard out, putting the Vikings up 23-6. Vikings' backup quarterback Nick Mullens replaced Cousins out of halftime, highlighting the drive with a 26-yard pass to receiver Jalen Nailor.
Peterman re-entered the game for the Bears' first possession of the second half and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Kmet, shrinking the deficit to 23-13 with 4:07 left in the third quarter. Peterman opened the drive with a 20-yard pass to receiver Chase Claypool then connected with receiver N'Keal Harry on third-and-5 for a 7-yard gain.
"We thought also Cole had a nice day," Eberflus said. "Four receptions for 57. Really did what he did the whole year. You know, Cole is just a ball of energy. He is a really good leader in our locker room, and he has done a great job for us that way."
Joseph made a 50-yard field goal to increase the Vikings' lead to 26-13 at the start of the fourth quarter.
Cornerback Greg Stroman Jr. generated the second Bears' takeaway of the game in the final period, intercepting Mullens at the Chicago 34 on a deep pass intended for Nailor before returning it to the Chicago 47.
Joseph tacked another field goal with 3:43 to play, this time from 41 yards out, to complete the scoring.
Check out the on-field action as the Bears take on the Vikings at Soldier Field during Sunday's season finale.