Though the Chicago Bears exited Monday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings with a disappointing 20-17 loss, there were plenty of positives for the young team to take away moving forward.
For example, rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky - the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft - played well in his first start.
The Bears' special teams units also performed well, but perhaps no play was better than a beautiful fake punt in the third quarter to tie the score at 10-10.
As you can see in the video below, the Vikings try to block Pat O'Donnell's kick, leaving the middle of the field wide open. So, instead of punting it, O'Donnell waits a second and then floats a beautiful pass to an uncovered Benny Cunningham for a long touchdown:
Cunningham had to make a nice move to get by a couple of defenders, but he wasn't about to be stopped short of the goal line.
After the game, Cunningham told ChicagoBears.com that the Bears had worked on that fake punt all week, and credited O'Donnell for making a great throw in a high-pressure situation:
"Great throw," Cunningham said. "He was patient. Throughout the week we talked, missed it a couple times, did some extra reps, just telling him don't think about it, just let it go. Make it as simple as possible. Then whatever happens, happens. Just trusted him to make the right throw."
The Bears fell to 1-4 with the loss, but have shown some signs of life this year. Trubisky's first start also injected some much-needed optimism into the fan base.
In the Vikings' locker room, the team was happy with a win, but punt returner Marcus Sherels admitted that Minnesota wasn't ready for the fake punt, telling StarTribune.com that the Bears saw something in the way the Vikings were lined up and took advantage of it:
“We had a rush called,” Sherels said. “They did a good job of scheming us up. I think they checked to a fake.”
Defensive end Everson Griffen, who was lined up across from Cunningham, said he's the one who made the mistake on the play. He said he should have at least gotten his hands on the running back at the line of scrimmage:
“Man, I should’ve just wrapped him up,” Griffen said. “I got to wrap up, but we won the game. It wasn’t pretty, but we won the game.”
The Vikings are now 3-2, so all is well in Minnesota, but the team will certainly work on its punt defense over the next few days so it isn't caught off guard again.