The heavens above have given us another glorious day of professional football. And for that, we at BringMeTheNews will be giving you more live coverage than any other media outlet on the planet.
We'll be live blogging! And you can join us! We'll be judicious about adding your Facebook comments here during the game, but we want to add you, from kickoff to the final whistle. Stay tuned. Good times to be had ... updates coming ...
11:48 a.m.: Random track on GR's Stereo of Love: Roy Orbison's "It's Over."
For Ponder? For the Vikings already? For the Bears? I hate these unannounced omens on game day ...
11:55 a.m.: Pre-game coverage from the Fox team makes a lot more sense if the sound is off.
11:56 a.m.: Soggy and cold at Soldier Field. And, yes, there is no "s" on the end of "Soldier." I've made that mistake too many times in my life, and today, I swear to you, is the end of that.
11:58 a.m. Fox just noted that Christian Ponder and Jay Cutler are "players to watch" in this game. Thanks. Thanks for that.
12:01 p.m.: After careful consideration, I too will note that Christian Ponder and Jay Cutler are players to watch.
12:03 p.m.: Bears play tough, defer the kickoff.
12:03 p.m.: CORDARELLE PATTERSON TAKES THE KICKOFF HOUSE, 105 YARDS!
12:04 p.m. Loyal reader Travis DeVos notes correctly on our Facebook thread that the Vikes scored on the first play last week as well.
12:07 p.m.: Devin Hester returns the ensuing kickoff to the Vikings 30. Let's just kickoff to these two guys all day. I would seriously watch that.
12:10 p.m.: BEARS ANSWER: CUTLER 2-YD TD Pass to BENNETT: PAT GOOD, and we're tied 7-7 at 12:12 in the 1st quarter, sports fans.
12:16 p.m.: Ponder is clearly going to throw to Greg Jennings today, since he hasn't taken his eyes off him the entire drive so far. Incomplete to Rudolph on 3rd down. Charles Tillman limps off the field. If he's out, Ponder might complete a pass today.
12:18: The Jeff Locke era has begun! The punter not named Kluwe pins Chicago at their own 7.
12:22: This seems like a good time to note that someone - a very special someone to you, the man and myth behind this live blog - predicted that Patterson kick return. Seriously, right here. How does it feel, dear reader, to be in the company of a true genius?
12:24: Cutler's running around like it's cold and wet and hard to hit receivers. Which it is. I hope this game turns into a slop-fest. I love that. Bears driving past their own 30.
12:26: It's raining flags! Ed Hochuli, the head official, explained it. Both penalties against the Bears declined. A puint and a fair catch by the Vikings Sherels.
12:27: Hochuli's an old-school ref, who skips the middle-management-ese that plagues so many refs now. Here's a gem from Hochuli already today: "No timeout, we're ready to go."
12:31: Christian Ponder just leveled Briggs, a Bears linebacker, Seriously.
12:32: Chicago has 12 men on the field for a punt return, and that hands the ball right back to Minnesota. Ball on own 35. Ponder sacked on 2nd down.
12:34: Lance Briggs returns the favor, and levels Ponder from the blindside, for an incomplete pass that barely went anywhere.
12:35: The Jeff Locke Era Continues! Punter not named Kluwe shanks one that gets a good roll for 51 yards. Bears have to start inside their own 15-yard line.
12:36: Did that Domino's add just blithely show a double-amputee picking up a slice of pizza with his mechanical hands? Was that real?
12:39: Despite scoring on on three plays, the Bears are already running a ball-control offense. They have 79 rushing yards already. The TD was blown coverage out of a zone by Jamarca Sanford.
12:47: What is a "Curt Menefee" anyway?
12:50: Vikes are headed the other direction in the 2nd quarter. Color commentary from Brian Billick: "Christian Ponder is a just a little bit mechanical in the pocket." That's one way of putting it.
12:51: Ponder proves Billick a genius by throwing something to Toby Gearheart that didn't even resemble a pass.
12:52: The Jeff Locke Era has begun! Punter not named Kluwe puts it down near Bears goal line, Vikings try to down it, a Bear comes in and knocks it out of the end zone. Touchback. Brilliant play by Chicago.
12:58: Fox declares Marc Trestman - a St. Louis Park native and former Vikings assistant under Bud Grant who is now the head coach of the Bears - the "Quarterback Whisperer" for all the greats who have played under him. Perhaps that's what's happened to Ponder: Trestman whispered in his ear, "Lock in on one receiver, barely move your feet, and hold the ball until you have to throw it away." That would explain a lot.
1:01: Martellus Bennet of the Bears was just injured in a collision with a camera man in the back of the end zone. Like, whose fault is that?
1:04: JARED ALLEN STRIPS CUTLER, ROBISON RETURNS FUMBLE 61 YARDS FOR TD. KNOTTED AT 14.
1:07: Who still watchs the "X Factor" anymore? I did not know this was still a thing.
1:08: Devin Hester returns ensuing kickoff to the Viking 23. So, the Vikings have 14 points, and no offense whatsoever. AP? Does he still play here?
1:09: Someone in the Fox truck tell Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick that whatever technical problems they think they are having, they're not having them.
1:11: A Cutler pass from the 1-yard line gets tipped in the end zone ... twice ... and picked of by ... KEVIN WILLIAMS!
1:12: Vikes ball on own 20. Jay Cutler hasn;'t thrown an INT in the red zone since 2010.
1:14: PICK SIX FOR BEARS, OFF PONDER, 45 YARD RETURN FOR TIM JENNINGS, 21-14 BEARS.
1:16: And Brian Billick must be reading this blog - and I'm sure he is - because he just pointed out that Ponder telegraphs every throw by *staring* at his receiver. Like, in 7th grade you learn not to do that. He's just plain scared back there.
1:18: Hey, we haven't really met our announcers today, Brian Billick and Thom Brennaman. Here's a look at the blushing couple ...
1:21: Adrian Peterson carries the ball! For yardage. Two-minute warning ...
1:23: Gardetto's Deli-Mustard Style pretzels mixed with cheddar Goldfish crackers. Just try it and tell me I'm wrong.
1:24: Oh! *those technical difficulties* ... The kind where you can't watch the game. Adrian Peterson just went over 9,000 yards for his career.
1:25: PONDER TO RUDOLPH! VIKINGS EVEN IT at 21.
1:26: So, now the apologies matter, Thom Brennaman. There is no picture.
1:29: I've seeing Terry, Howie and the Whole crew, so I guess it's halftime.
1:33: That Howie Long is a deep dude. Seriously.
1:36: It was not halftime! Robbie Gould kicks a field goal with two seconds left, Bears take 24-21 lead into locker room.
1:37. I would rather have Terry, Howie and the Whole crew wake me up every morning for a month than watch a second of Sleepy Hollow.
1:39: Even if "Curt Menefee" tells me it's the most anticipated somethingerother of the season. You know when movies and television shows become "anticipated"? That means that somewhere someone has figured out it sucks.
The video of Robison's fumble return for a TD can be found here.
And a still of the celebration:
1:48: 2nd HALF STARTS WITH A BEARS DRIVE AND PUNT.
1:56: Ponder keeps throwing to Jennings. Unfortunately, it's not WR Greg Jennings, but Bears DB Tim Jennings.
1:58: Vikes go for it on 4th-and-one. A a rollout for Ponder and he sneaks it by the first-down marker.
1:59: Did AP just fumble? It will be reviewed ... It was one of those classics where he doesn't go down easy, and someone comes in late and strips the ball ...
2:01: Official fumble, Peterson stripped by Nate Collins. Actually, it was a butt fumble. Collins recovers. Bears on the Minnesota 48.
2:02: This off-season, it became clear that Adrian Peterson had gone to the Torii Hunter School of Media Relations, where you just talk and talk and talk to the media about any old thing that crosses your mind. Perhaps AP speaketh too much. He has 13 carries for 69 yards, but has had no impact on the game at all.
2:04: Ponder to Patterson, a call that we should hear for the rest of the day, if the Vikings know what's good for them.
2:07: AP gradually becoming the focal point on this drive, couple runs, a reception.The first run of the year by Toby Gerhart, followed by his first catch. Vikes grinding it out. They can win this way.
2:10: Big play on 3-and-7, Ponder to Jerome Simpson for many yards to the Bears 14. Vikes 5-10 on 3rd-down conversions.
2:12: Ponder to Jarius Wright, who coughs it up into the end zone. Bears ball at 20. He never had it. Needs to be reviewed.
2:14: Someone in creative, in a brain-storming session one day, said, "We need to put Jerry Jones in this Diet Pepsi ad. He is American's sweetheart, people will love him, and since we are the soda for youth and vitality, nobody represents that better than Jerry Jones."
2:16: NOT A FUMBLE! VIKINGS KEEP BALL. CHIP-SHOT FIELD GOAL BY BLAIR WALSH ties it AT 24.
2:23: End of the 3rd Quarter. Bears not much offense, but keeping possession of the ball, which is key at this point.
2:25: And now a word from a loyal reader: Deborah M. Dworshak TV coverage on this game really sucks. frontline needs to block no matter who the quarterback is. we saw it in preseason where they didn't block for any of the quarterbacks they put in.
2:26: And Harrison Smith picks Cutler, Vikes ball at own 14. Key 3rd-down conversion from Ponder to Jennings, plus horsecollar on Tillman for the Bears. Vikes on Chicago 44.
2:31: Ponder takes a shot but gets a 1st down - barely - on a key 3-and-2 scramble.
2:32: Beards Head Coach Trestman challenges the spot of the ball.
2:36: Not a first down! No! Fourth-and-1.
2:36: AP busts through for four, down to the Bears 13! Then on the next play gets caught trying to reverse field, and loses 13 yards. AP again. Here comes the workhorse.
2:28: Ponder to Rudolph brings Vikes to the 9 on 4th down. WALSH GOOD FROM 29 IS GOOD! Vikings 27-24.
2:41: Another big return for Hester, to somewhere around the 40.
2:42: Ask if your heart is healthy enough for sexual activity, encourages Cialis. Hey, thanks for the concern, but no worries here, Cialis. I'm such a hot mess in my bathrobe and Gardetto's - with cheddar Goldfish - I don't think I'll have to be worrying about that any time soon. But thanks for the encouragement.
2:46: LeTroy Guion strips the ball from the Bears' Matt Forte. In. Slow. Motion. Strange play! Vikings have the ball!
2:49: Now 24 carries for 99 yards by Adrian Peterson. He's hurt, looks like his left hand. Comes in on a 3rd-and-3, Ponder to Jennings to the 6-yard line. First and goal Vikings with 3:38 left in the game.
2:54: 22-yard FIELD GOAL BY WALSH MAKES IT 30-24 MINNESOTA.
2:56: Bears are being methodical for a team that needs a touchdown, ball on own 39 with 2:33 left. Critical grab by Marshall on 3rd down into Viking territory. They inexplicably let the clock run down to the 2-minute warning.
3:01: Rain is coming down hard now, not sure if Jay Cutler knows it's the 4th quarter. There's grace under fire, and there's a certain calmness, but this dude is acting like he just has to return a movie to a nearby RedBox.
3:04: Vikings' DB Xavier Rhoads just saved a TD with a tipped ball, and the Bears lose 10 yards on a holding call.
3:05: With 22 seconds left, 2nd down, Chicago on 16-yard line, one timeout left.
3:07: CUTLER TO BENNETT FOR TOUCHDOWN OVER CB CHRIS COOK. EXTRA POINT GOOD, CHICAGO 31-30.
3:08: Is there a dumber play in all of sport than the squib kick? I'll gladly talk your ear off one day. Anyway, a squibber is recovered by John Carlson, who presumably is in there for his hands, essentially hands the ball over to Chicago with three seconds left.
And that will be the ball game, sports fans. Thanks for playing! Stick with BringMeTheNews for ridiculously comprehensive post-game coverage throughout the rest of the day, night, and into the week.