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Bears beat Vikings to expand lead in NFC North

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) passes the ball behind the blocks of Minnesota Vikings offensive guard Mike Remmers (74) and Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 18. 1 / 3
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) is pressured by Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson (96) in the second quarter at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 18. 2 / 3
Chicago Bears defensive back Adrian Amos Jr. runs back an interception as Minnesota Vikings tackle Brain O'Neill pursues in the second quarter at Soldier Field on Sunday, Nov. 18. 3 / 3

CHICAGO — Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, who grew up in a Chicago suburb, spoke last week about what a thrill it has been to play at Soldier Field.

It wasn’t much fun Sunday night.

Cousins had a rugged outing and the Vikings lost 25-20 to Chicago in the battle for first place in the NFC North.

The Bears (7-3) moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Vikings (5-4-1). And they have a much easier schedule to close the season.

Cousins, who won his first two NFL starts at Soldier Field playing with Washington, threw two interceptions and had a poor passer rating of 76.5. Eddie Jackson returned Cousins’ second interception 27 yards for a touchdown; the Bears’ 2-point conversion gave Chicago a 22-6 lead with 8:30 left in the game.

Cousins completed 30 of 46 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns.

Cousins threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson and a 2-point conversion with 4:51 left to cut the deficit to 22-14.

Chicago’s Cody Parkey kicked a 48-yard field goal with 2:48 remaining for a 25-14 lead.

Cousins then threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Diggs with 48 seconds left to cut the deficit to 25-20. A 2-point conversion failed and then so did an onside kick.

Cousins was inaccurate at the start. In the first quarter, with the Bears leading 3-0 and having first down at the Chicago 38, he overthrew an open Diggs in the end zone. Six plays later, running back Dalvin Cook lost a fumble that was forced by linebacker Khalil Mack and recovered by Mack at the Bears 15.

With the Bears up 14-0, the Vikings had a chance to get some points before the end of the first half. But on first down at the Chicago 32, Cousins was under pressure and threw a pass that was far off the mark and intercepted by Adrian Amos with 10 seconds left in the half.

The Bears dominated the first half. The only touchdown came when Mitch Trubisky threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller midway through the second quarter. The Bears went for a 2-point conversion, and Trusbisky threw a pass to Joshua Bellamy for an 11-0 lead.