Rapid Reaction: Bears 31, Vikings 30
September, 15, 2013
By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com
CHICAGO -- A few thoughts on the Chicago Bears' 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings:
What it means: The typically opportunistic Bears nearly learned what it was like to basically give away a game via turnovers. The Vikings scored 13 points off turnovers, including six in the second half. But Jay Cutler brought back Chicago by throwing a scoring strike to Martellus Bennett with 10 ticks remaining. If anything, the Bears proved resilient in building a 2-0 record on consecutive come-from-behind victories.
Stock watch: Despite the comeback, Jay Cutler’s stock takes a fall here. After a strong performance in Week 1, Cutler committed two costly turnovers -- including a fumble returned for a TD -- that led to 10 Vikings points.
Return-a-thon: Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson broke the opening kickoff 105 yards for a score, marking the first time since Sept. 30, 2007 (at Detroit) Chicago allowed a kickoff return TD; it was the second-longest against the Bears (Green Bay’s Al Carmichael scored on a 106-yard kickoff return on Oct. 7, 1956).
The Bears answered immediately with a 76-yard return by Devin Hester on the ensuing kickoff. Hester broke his previous franchise record of 245 yards on kickoff returns (249).
50th anniversary: The Bears honored members of the 1963 world championship team prior to Sunday’s game. That team, coached by George S. Halas, finished with a record of 11-1-2, and outscored opponents 301-154.
Offensive line still developing: Chicago’s Week 1 performance provided encouraging signs about the offensive line’s future, but the Vikings gave the Bears somewhat of a reality check. Coming off the edge, Jared Allen blasted left tackle Jermon Bushrod into Matt Forte, and sacked Cutler for an 8-yard loss, causing the quarterback to fumble. Brian Robison scooped up the loose ball and scored from 61 yards out to tie the score at 14.
Although sacked only once, Cutler was under duress, especially in the second quarter. There’s room to grow.
Start of new record? The Bears scored on eight INT returns last season to tie the 1998 Seattle Seahawks for second most in NFL history. Maybe Tim Jennings' pick-six of Christian Ponder in the second quarter marks the start of the quest for a new record. The 1961 San Diego Chargers hold the NFL record for INT returns for TDs in a single season (nine).
What’s next: The Bears return to Halas Hall on Monday for treatment and review of Sunday’s game before taking Tuesday off. The club begins preparations Wednesday for its first road game of the season at Pittsburgh.