Cousins dominates first half as Vikings beat Bears 29-13
CHICAGO (AP) — Kirk Cousins threw for 225 yards and a touchdown in the first half and watched the rest of the way as the NFC North champion Minnesota Vikings tuned up for the playoffs by beating the Chicago Bears 29-13 on Sunday.
Cousins led three scoring drives as the Vikings (13-4) grabbed a 16-6 halftime lead. They remained in control the rest of the way after getting blown out at Green Bay the previous week.
The Bears (3-14), who held out star Justin Fields, set a franchise record with their 14th loss and extended one by dropping their 10th game in a row.
With Houston winning 32-31 at Indianapolis, Chicago gets the No. 1 pick in the draft for the first time since 1947.
Cousins bounced back from a rough outing, completing 17 of 20 passes while posting a sparkling 130.2 rating. He hit K.J. Osborn for a 66-yard completion on Minnesota’s first possession, setting up a 4-yard touchdown to Adam Thielen, and led two more scoring drives.
Nick Mullens came on in the third quarter and was 11 of 13 for 116 yards and an interception. Osborn had 117 yards on five catches.
Alexander Mattison ran for 1-yard touchdowns in the second and third quarters.
Fields’ pursuit of the NFL single-season rushing record for a quarterback ended when the Bears announced during the week he would miss the game because of a strained hip and Nathan Peterman would start in his place.
Peterman completed 11 of 19 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown in his fifth career start and first since 2018 with Buffalo.
Tim Boyle played the second quarter and came back into the game late in the fourth. He threw two interceptions and completed just 2 of 8 passes.
Velus Jones Jr. had a 42-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The Bears finished with 118 yards rushing, giving them a franchise-record 3,014 on the season and surpassing the previous mark of 2,974 in 1984.
The Vikings, plagued by slow starts, needed just four plays on their first possession of the game to grab a 6-0 lead.
Cousins hit a wide open Osborn for a 66-yard pass to the 4, then connected with Thielen for a TD. Greg Joseph’s extra point sailed wide right — his sixth miss in 44 attempts.
Minnesota added to the lead early in the second quarter when Mattison scored from the 1 to cap a 12-play drive.
Boyle, who played for Green Bay when Bears offensive coordinator Luke Getsy was the Packers’quarterbacks coach, took over on Chicago’s fourth possession. He threw a long pass on third down that Patrick Peterson picked off with no receivers near him and returned 28 yards to the 35. Joseph kicked a field goal to make it 16-0.
Vikings: No injuries were reported.
Bears: DB Elijah Hicks (concussion) left in the third quarter. ... WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) was also hurt.
Vikings: Will host a wild-card game next weekend.
Bears: With the season over, general manager Ryan Poles can turn his attention toward surrounding Fields with the playmakers and protection he needs and improving the defensive line.
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