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(Sunday, January 1st)
Final Score: Chicago 17, Minnesota 13
Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - Charles Tillman brought back an interception 22 yards for the eventual game-winning touchdown in the second quarter, as the Chicago Bears edged the Minnesota Vikings, 17-13, in the season-finale for both teams.
Josh McCown threw for 160 yards with a touchdown and interception on 15- of-25 passing, while Roy Williams hauled in four passes for 60 yards and a touchdown for the Bears (8-8), who snapped a five-game losing skid after beginning the year 7-3.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen turned in a 3 1/2 sack performance for Minnesota (3-13) to bring his season total to 22, which established a new franchise record for sacks in a season, passing Chris Doleman, who had 21 sacks during the 1989 campaign.
Allen ends the year just 1/2 sack shy of the NFL single-season record for sacks, held by former New York Giant Michael Strahan, who notched 22 1/2 sacks in 2001. Minnesota ended the season with a 3-13 mark, which matches the worst record in franchise history. Head coach Leslie Frasier will likely be on the hot seat heading into the offseason.
"It's an honor and a privilege for me to have the Vikings single- season record," Allen said. "To be in the same breath as Doleman is great. This organization has a history of great defensive linemen."
Joe Webb threw for 200 yards and two interceptions on 17-of-32 passing after replacing Christian Ponder, who left the game in the second quarter after taking a hard hit from Bears' defensive end Israel Idonije. Percy Harvin had a big day through the air for the Vikings, catching 10 balls for 115 yards.
Chicago's game-winning score came early in the second quarter when Ponder lofted a pass out to Toby Gerhart, but the ball went off the hands of Gerhart and into the arms of Tillman, who took it back for the score to put the Bears up for good, 14-10.
Ryan Longwell connected on a 26-yard field goal with 55 seconds remaining in the first half to cut the deficit to one at the break.
Early in the final quarter, the Bears extended their lead to 17-13 when Robbie Gould capped an impressive 15-play, 65-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal.
The Vikings got the ball on their own six with 1:51 to play for one final try for the win. They moved the ball as far as their own 46, but Webb was picked off by D.J. Moore with 40 seconds left, sealing the win for Chicago.
"It was a rough year, but it's time to look forward and get ready for the next season," Bears defensive end Julius Peppers said. "We're a couple of guys away and we're going to win a championship with the core guys we have in the locker room."
The Bears coughed the ball up on their first possession of the game when McCown tossed a pass out to the left for Earl Bennett for a seven-yard gain, but Bennett appeared to fumble. The play was challenged and reversed, with the replay showing a clear fumble and recovery by Minnesota at the Bears 49.
On the ensuing Vikings possession, Gerhart went off left tackle for a 24-yard gain on the first play of the drive and Longwell capped the eight-play, 41- yard march with a 26-yard field goal to give his team a 3-0 lead.
The Bears began their third drive of the game from their own 14, but again were sloppy with the ball as Kahlil Bell fumbled and the Vikings recovered at the Chicago 18.
Minnesota took advantage of the short field as Harvin went up the middle for a five-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 10-0 with 3:42 left in the opening quarter.
On the Bears next touch, they went 90 yards in eight plays, culminating in a 22-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to Williams to cut the Vikings lead to 10-7 early in the second quarter.
The Vikings lead the regular-season series with the Bears by a 52-47-2 count...Minnesota finished in last place in the NFC North for the second consecutive season...Allen became just the eighth player in NFL history to amass 20 sacks in a season...Chicago converted 5-of-13 third down chances, while Minnesota went 3-for-15 on third down...The Vikings outgained the Bears, 301-209...Chicago's special teams blocked two Longwell field goal attempts.
01/01 17:27:47 ET
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