AP

Cousins dominates first half as Vikings beat Bears 29-13

Jan 7, 2023, 11:16 PM | Updated: Jan 8, 2023, 9:19 pm

Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison celebrates after an NFL football game against the...

Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison celebrates after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. The Vikings won 29-13. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)


              Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison celebrates after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. The Vikings won 29-13. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, right, after an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. The Vikings won 29-13. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison celebrates after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. The Vikings won 29-13. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, right, after an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. The Vikings won 29-13. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison celebrates after an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. The Vikings won 29-13. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell talks with Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, right, after an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. The Vikings won 29-13. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Minnesota Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) runs up field after intercepting a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery, center, is tackled by Minnesota Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks (58) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus, center, watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (12) runs up field during a 42-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) is tackled by Chicago Bears safety Elijah Hicks (37) after catching a pass during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) catches a pass in front of Chicago Bears safety Elijah Hicks (37) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
            
              Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (12) celebrates after scoring on a 42-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Chicago Bears wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. (12) runs up field during a 42-yard touchdown run in the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) runs from Chicago Bears safety DeAndre Houston-Carson (36) after catching a pass during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (4) tries to break a tackle by Chicago Bears linebacker Joe Thomas (45) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
            
              Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — The Minnesota Vikings wanted nothing more than to wash away the bitter taste from a blowout loss and head into the postseason on a sweeter note.

This was more like it.

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 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), who’ll host the New York Giants next Sunday, 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. It was the first time since Week 1 that Minnesota won by more than one score, and the team finished the year outscored by opponents 427-424.

“You don’t feel good all week and you’re disappointed and it kind of carries with you,” Cousins said. “And to be able to come back out on the field and compete and play a cleaner game and be sharp, I think it does help. But I don’t think you ever forget what happened last Sunday or what happened in Week 2 against the Eagles.”

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. Only the 1969 team that went 1-13 had a worse record.

Chicago also got a big win by landing the No. 1 pick in the draft. The loss combined with Houston prevailing 32-31 at Indianapolis put Chicago in the top spot for the first time since 1947.

“Whoever comes in, we’re going to change things around,” safety Jaquan Brisker said. “So have his mentality right. Whoever we get, hopefully it’s somebody great. It’s time to turn it around.”

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. Justin Jefferson added four receptions for 38 yards, boosting his team-record totals to 128 and 1,809 on the season.

Alexander Mattison ran for a career-high two touchdowns, scoring from the 1 in both the second and third quarters.

“Offensively, I thought we stacked good plays,” coach Kevin O’Connell said. “Even when there were some exotic kind of (defensive back) pressures to try to stop some of our run game, we were able to overcome those things.”

NO FIELDS

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.

“We didn’t have the season we wanted to, but it’s about everybody coming back to work and putting their all into this organization for the Bears,” Jones said. “Everybody take a mental break this offseason, but get back to work and better yourself.”

BIG START

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.

INJURIES

Vikings: O’Connell said LB Za’Darius Smith (personal matter) and S Harrison Smith (sore knee) to be available next week. Za’Darius Smith traveled separately from the team to Chicago. O’Connell wasn’t sure if Garrett Bradbury (back) would be. … CB Chandon Sullivan (knee contusion) and RB Dalvin Cook (cleat to the leg) got banged up, but should be ready for next week.

Bears: DB Elijah Hicks (concussion) left in the third quarter. … WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee) was also hurt.

UP NEXT

Vikings: Will host the New York Giants in a wild-card game next Sunday.

Bears: All eyes will be on general manager Ryan Poles — particularly with the No. 1 pick — as he tries to surround Fields with the talent he needs and improve a shaky defense.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

12 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

12 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

12 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

12 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

12 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

12 months ago

Cousins dominates first half as Vikings beat Bears 29-13