During a drive spanning 83 yards and eight plays, Cutler completed three consecutive passes to Roy Williams for 34 yards before hitting Johnny Knox for a 42-yard strike to the San Diego 1.
Two plays later, Cutler dove through the teeth of San Diego’s defense for the score. The drive siphoned away five minutes and 11 seconds, and came after the Chargers appeared to seize momentum with a seven-play drive to start the second half.
Chicago tacked onto the lead on San Diego’s ensuing possession when Charles Tillman stripped Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, and recovered the loose ball at the visitors’ 37. Two plays later, Cutler launched a floating ball that Knox made a spinning adjustment to haul in, just keeping his feet inbounds for the TD.
Knox’s score came on his third grab of the day, as he finished the quarter with 97 yards receiving. By the end of the third quarter, Williams had gained 62 yards on five catches.
In getting Chargers off to a fast start in the third quarter, Phillip Rivers drove his team 76 yards, connecting with Vincent Jackson for a 47-yard gain, with the receiver holding on despite a bone-jarring hit from Bears safety Chris Conte.
Two plays later, officials called Tim Jennings for pass interference as the cornerback defended Vincent Brown, giving the Chargers possession at the Chicago 11. Three plays later, Rivers hit Jackson for a 5-yard touchdown to tie the score at 17 on Nick Novak’s extra point.
By the end of the third quarter, Jackson had caught seven passes for 165 yards.