It was a tale of two halves Sunday in Minnesota.
Seeking their third straight win, the Bears took a 14-0 lead deep into the second quarter but were outscored 31-3 the rest of the way, including 28-3 in the second half as the Vikings rallied for a 31-17 victory.
The Bears still led 17-10 entering the fourth quarter, but the Vikings outscored them 21-0 in the final period as Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes and Patrick Peterson returned an Andy Dalton interception 66 yards for another score.
"It's crazy after being in the first half, but that's why it's a 60-minute game," said linebacker Roquan Smith. "It got away from us and shifted the momentum, and those guys made more plays than we did. So, it [stinks], but hey, it is what it is and all we can do is just go into the offseason with a chip on our shoulder and just get better."
With the loss, the Bears finished 6-11 on the season.
As has been the case most of the year, the Bears failed to take advantage of several excellent scoring chances. They advanced into Vikings territory on eight of 11 possessions but mustered just one touchdown.
The offense converted only 1-of-6 fourth-down plays, turning the ball over on downs three times in Minnesota territory, all on sacks of Dalton: on fourth-and-5 from the 35, fourth-and-1 from the 13 and fourth-and-goal from the 1. The Bears also settled for field goals after reaching the Vikings' 24, 28 and 24.
"It was frustrating," Dalton said. "Fourth downs are important plays and they were the difference in this game today. It's unfortunate we weren't able to convert and make the plays when we needed to.
"The guys are disappointed with the outcome today, and we should have been. We did a lot of good things and we just weren't able to get it done in the end."
Dalton completed 33 of 48 passes for 325 yards with one TD, two interceptions and a 77.2 passer rating and was sacked seven times.
Here's what transpired in the game:
Cairo Santos' 43-yard field goal on the game's opening possession gave the Bears a 3-0 lead. The kick capped a 7-play, 39-yard drive and came after Khalil Herbert returned the opening kickoff 36 yards to the Bears' 37.
The Bears had two chances to extend their lead, but they turned the ball over on downs on back-to-back drives as Dalton was sacked on fourth-and-5 from the Vikings' 34 and fourth-and-1 from the Minnesota 13.
The Bears eventually widened the margin to 6-0 on Santos' 46-yard field goal with 4:55 left in the second half. At that point, they had outgained the Vikings 148-15.
The Bears increased their lead to 14-0 on Dalton's 23-yard TD pass to Damien Williams coupled with Dalton's two-point conversion shovel pass to Allen Robinson II with :31 remaining in the first half.
The Vikings cut the deficit to 14-3 on Greg Joseph's 39-yard field goal as time expired in the half. The kick was set up by Kirk Cousins completions of 25 yards to Justin Jefferson and 40 yards to Ihmir Smith-Marsette.
The Vikings opened the second half with a 6-play, 75-yard drive capped by Cousins' 44-yard touchdown pass to Smith-Marsette, closing the gap to 14-10. Smith-Marsette beat Marqui Christian, who fell down on the play.
The Bears responded by advancing to the Vikings' 1. But they turned the ball over on downs on fourth-and-goal on a Dalton sack for the third time in the game.
On their next possession, the Bears extended their lead to 17-10 on Santos' third field goal of the game without a miss, a 42-yarder, with 1:37 left in the third quarter.
The Vikings answered as Cousins threw a 45-yard TD pass to Jefferson, who beat Eddie Jackson to tie the score 17-17 with 13:35 remaining the fourth quarter.
Minnesota took its first lead of the game at 24-17 on Cousins' 21-yard touchdown pass to receiver K.J. Osborn with 8:04 to play, capping a 6-play, 87-yard drive.
The Bears faced fourth-and-1 on their next drive from their own 49. Dalton's pass intended for Dazz Newsome was intercepted by Peterson, who returned it 66 yards for a touchdown to extend the Vikings' lead to 31-17.
On the Bears' next possession, defensive tackle T.Y. McGill hit Dalton, causing his pass to flutter in the air before it was intercepted by linebacker Blake Lynch.