211 yards: Bears just can't stop Adrian Peterson
MINNEAPOLIS -- Give the ball to Adrian Peterson 35 times and good things are bound to happen. Or bad things, if you're the opponent.
Peterson has had some big days against the Bears over the years, including six 100-yard games counting Sunday's 211-yard effort. That helped him surpass 10,000 career rushing yards in just his 101st game, the third-fastest to get there behind Eric Dickerson (91 games) and Jim Brown (98).
And he was the primary reason for the Vikings' 23-20 overtime victory.
"I guess it's not good enough," said Bears safety Craig Steltz of the Bears' effort, which he led with 12 tackles. "He's tough to stop. Give him credit. You stop him once and he breaks a nice run and kind of voids it out. It's a battle out there."
The last time Peterson had a bigger game against Bears was as a rookie in 2007, when he rushed for 224 yards. Sunday was the fourth-most-productive rushing day of Peterson's career and his fifth 200-yard game.
"Our defense, a lot of times we have a free hitter, but A.P. 1-on-1 on somebody, that's tough," said Bears defensive lineman Corey Wootton. "He's one of the best backs in the league, so we have to rally to the ball more. That way if one guys misses him, we limit him to a 2- or 3-yard gain instead of a 10-12-yard gain, (but) that's what happened in the second half."
Unlike mere mortals, Peterson seems to get stronger the greater his workload. He never has carried more than the 35 times he did Sunday, but on his final four attempts he picked up 30 yards, positioning the Vikings for Blair Walsh's game-winning 34-yard field goal.
"I could have gone more, yeah," Peterson said after his long day. "I condition real hard and actually I get stronger as I go. I could have went for 50, maybe 55 carries."
Peterson said it wasn't just him who was better conditioned at the end than the Bears; it was his offensive linemen as well.
"Looking at those guys (on the line) toward the end of the fourth quarter and overtime, I didn't see too many guys with hands on hips," Peterson said. "I looked on the other side, and those guys kind of looked winded.
"Conditioning plays a big part because once you get tired you start making mental mistakes and start slacking behind, and it can cost you the game."
Harsh words for a Bears run defense that came into the game as the worst in the NFL. It won't move up in the rankings after allowing the Vikings 246 yards on 40 carries (6.2-yard average), just one week after getting gouged for 258 by the St. Louis Rams.