NFL Nation: 2013 Week 2 MIN at CHI

Locker Room Buzz: Chicago Bears

September, 15, 2013
CHICAGO -- Observed in the locker room after the Chicago Bears31-30 victory over the Minnesota Vikings:

GM makes rounds: Bears general manager Phil Emery typically doesn’t spend significant time in the locker room after games, but after the club’s second come-from-behind win in two weeks, he made sure to congratulate several players. Emery first shook hands with Lance Briggs before congratulating Jon Bostic and hugging James Anderson. From there, Emery spoke individually with Eric Weems, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and Robbie Gould.

Board messages: On a dry-erase board, the Bears detailed the schedule for Sunday’s matchup. In black, typewritten letters, the board read: “11:55 – Introduction (offense), 11:58 – national anthem, 12:00 – coin toss, 12:02 kickoff.” Finally, in handwritten letters in marker read the words “Bear Down,” which is exactly what the team did in rallying from a six-point deficit in the final 3:15.

Symptomatic: Still fully dressed in uniform nearly an hour after players had already left, rookie Kyle Long sat at his locker trying to describe the team’s roller-coaster ride of a game. He compared it to being ill. “You have a certain number of symptoms,” Long said. “We had our diarrhea. We had stomachache, nausea; all that kind of stuff. Then in the fourth quarter, we started feeling better.”

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.

Rapid Reaction: Bears 31, Vikings 30

September, 15, 2013

CHICAGO -- My thoughts on the Minnesota Vikings' 31-30 loss to the Chicago Bears.

What it means: The Vikings looked like they were about to end a five-year losing streak at Soldier Field when they went up 30-24 with just more than three minutes left. But the Bears' 66-yard march for a touchdown erased all of it -- a solid second half from Christian Ponder, two timely turnovers from the Vikings' defense in the fourth quarter -- and sent Minnesota into its home opener with an 0-2 record.

Stock watch: Even -- Vikings' defense. It's hard to know what to do with this one. The group got shredded in Detroit last week, and allowed 269 yards to the Bears in the first half on Sunday. But Minnesota forced four turnovers and held firm at the biggest moments of the game. The defensive line was especially good -- Brian Robison returned Jared Allen's fumble for a touchdown, Kevin Williams had an interception and Letroy Guion (who had a crucial roughing-the-passer penalty last week) ripped the ball out of Matt Forte's hands with 6:28 left, giving the Vikings the ball back. Still, the Vikings' inability to get to Jay Cutler on the game's final drive -- and Chris Cook getting burned by Martellus Bennett for his second touchdown of the day -- ultimately cost them the game.

Tentative at the end: The Vikings had a chance to go up by 10 points with just more than three minutes left after Ponder's 22-yard completion to Greg Jennings moved the Vikings to the Bears' 6. But the Vikings ran Peterson twice for no gain, and Ponder missed Kyle Rudolph in the end zone, giving the Bears a chance to come back and win.

Patterson arrives: Cordarrelle Patterson got a chance to return just two kickoffs last week, as Lions kicker Sam Martin boomed five of them into the end zone for touchbacks. He opted to return the first one of the game from five yards deep in the end zone, and matched Percy Harvin's record for the longest kickoff return in franchise history when he raced through a hole Matt Asiata opened and went 105 yards for a touchdown.

What's next: The Vikings (0-2) play at the Metrodome for the first time this season, hosting the Cleveland Browns next Sunday afternoon in a game they'll absolutely have to have.