Chicago used 16-yard touchdown pass from Jay Cutler to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds left as the Bears scratched out a win over the Minnesota Vikings 31-30 Sunday at Soldier Field.
For a while, it looked as though the Vikes might beat the Bears at their own game, using turnovers and a kickoff return for a touchdown on the first play of the game to set the pace against Chicago in what was a well-played game in sloppy weather conditions.
"I gotta do a better job," Coach Leslie Frazier said after the game. "There are things I can do to help our players perform in that last minute-situation that I need to work on."
Minnesota's Blair Walsh had just kicked a 22-yard field goal with 3:15 remaining when Chicago took over at its 34. Cutler, who led the Bears back from an 11-point deficit in a season-opening win over Cincinnati, struck again.
A 23-yard pass to Bennett along the sideline put the ball on the 16. Cutler then spiked the ball before connecting with Bennett in the front corner of the end zone. Chicago remained unbeaten under new coach Marc Trestman despite committing four turnovers.
Ah, yes, the turnovers. That's usually Chicago's game, but Minnesota held sway in that department, with two fumble recoveries - one for a touchdown - and two interceptions.
Minnesota opened the game with a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by rookie Cordarrelle Patterson. On the very next play, Chicago's Devin Hester took the kickoff deep into Vikings territory. A few plays later, Chicago answered with a two-yarder from Cutler to Bennett to even the score.
Hester, in fact, exasperated the Vikings, returning five kicks for 249 yards, ensuring good field position all day for the Bears.
"Hester's the best in the business," Frazier said, "and we thought we had a key plan to keep him under control and it didn't happen."
After Cutler connected for another TD with Brandon Marshall, the Vikings evened the score on a strip of Cutler by Jared Allen, which led to a 61-yard fumble recovery for six by Brian Robison. QB Christian Ponder hit TE Kyle Rudolph for 20 yards and a TD before the half, but the Bears managed to get a Robbie Gould field goal as the first half ended.
Ponder went 16-30 for 227 yards and a touchdown and interception.
"[Ponder] made a lot of good plays in the second half and put us in scoring position a couple times," Frazier said. "He really bounced back from a couple of tough situations."
Cutler completed 28 of 39 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. But he was also intercepted twice, once by DT Kevin Williams on a deflected ball, and once by DB Harrison Smith.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 100 yards on 26 carries and had a catch for seven yards, but never really seemed to put it together. He also had a fumble.
Kicker Blair Walsh kept the Vikes in the ballgame with field goals of 28, 28 and 22 yards. But his last field goal came at a moment when the Vikings were stuffed in the red zone.
"I can't point to that," Frazier said, "and say that cost us the ball game."
The Vikings fall to 0-2, while Chicago improves to 2-0,. in NFL Week 2.