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(Sunday, September 15th)
Final Score: Chicago 31, Minnesota 30
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Martellus Bennett's touchdown catch with 10 seconds to play gave the Chicago Bears a 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings on a rainy day at Soldier Field.
Jay Cutler was picked off twice and lost a fumble, but finished the game 28- for-39 with 290 yards and three touchdowns for the Bears (2-0), who opened the season with a three-point win over Cincinnati.
Bennett finished with seven catches for 76 yards, Brandon Marshall had seven catches for 113 yards and a score, while Matt Forte had 90 yards on 19 carries and 71 yards on 11 catches for Chicago, which has won seven of the last eight games against Minnesota.
"I saw a lot of resiliency today out of this team," said Chicago head coach Marc Trestman. "We had a heck of an opponent today and they gave it their all. This was one of the tougher games I've ever had to coach."
Adrian Peterson rushed for 100 yards on 26 carries, while Christian Ponder went 16-for-30 for 227 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the Vikings (0-2), who have lost two straight division games to open the season after falling in Detroit last week.
"This was a very difficult loss because I thought our guys played extremely hard," said Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier. "We just constantly battled in a tough place to play on the road. I told the players and staff after the game that I don't think I could have asked for better preparation and better fighting."
Chicago began the game-winning drive at its own 34 trailing by six with 3:15 to play.
On 3rd-and-4, Cutler got the ball to Marshall for a 12-yard gain, and the two got together for a 10-yard catch on 3rd-and-1 to again move the chains. Facing a 1st-and-20 after a holding call, Bennett caught a pass for 23 yards to get the ball to the 16. After a spike and an incompletion, Cutler sent a pass to the left and Bennett reached out for it before crossing the goal line inside the left pylon. The extra-point was good and it was a 31-30 game with 10 seconds left.
A squib kick on the ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Minnesota, with Chicago recovering and Cutler taking a knee to run out the clock.
It was special teams play that got this game started as Cordarrelle Patterson took the opening kickoff five yards deep in his own end zone and brought the ball out. Breaking it out to the right sideline, he got a few blocks and raced into the end zone to give the Vikings a quick 7-0 lead.
Devin Hester nearly answered as he was one man away from breaking his own return touchdown, but he was pushed out of bounds at the Minnesota 32.
Forte broke a 24-yard run around the right side, and Bennett caught a 1-yard score along the left side to make it a 7-7 game less than three minutes in.
Late in the first quarter, the Bears got the ball back at their own 14 and Cutler hit Bennett for 14 yards before Alshon Jeffery took a handoff 38 yards to the Minnesota 34. The next play, Cutler tossed it down the right side and hit Marshall in stride for a score and a 14-7 lead with 1:04 to play in the first.
In the second, Chicago was driving and had the ball at the Minnesota 31, but Jared Allen sacked Cutler and stripped the ball out of the quarterback's hands. Brian Robison picked the ball up and ran it in for a 61-yard score to tie the game with 7:34 left.
Hester broke off another return on the ensuing kick as he was pushed out of bounds at the Minnesota 23 for an 80-yard return.
Chicago got the ball down to the one on four straight runs, but Cutler's pass on 1st-and-goal was tipped at the line and Kevin Williams came down with the ball for a touchback.
The team wasn't able to take advantage, though, as Tim Jennings stepped in front of a Ponder pass for an interception and took it home for a 44-yard score and a 21-14 lead with 2:51 to play in the half.
Minnesota answered quickly as Peterson's 36-yard run set up a 20-yard touchdown catch from Kyle Rudolph to tie the game with 1:11 left in the half.
Chicago, though, was able to get into scoring position thanks to a 31-yard catch from Marshall, as that set up a 20-yard field goal from Robbie Gould to end the half with Chicago holding a 24-21 lead.
Peterson had fumbled the ball on Minnesota's first possession of the third quarter, but the team got the ball back at its own 9-yard line and went to work.
The first play saw Patterson catch a pass for 14 yards to give the team some room. Peterson handled the ball on the next four plays for 18 yards, and Ponder later threw a bomb to Jerome Simpson for 37 yards to set up a first down at the Chicago 14. The drive stalled, though, and a 28-yard field goal from Blair Walsh tied the game at 24-24 with 2:32 to play in the third.
After holding Chicago, Minnesota went on a 13-play, 79-yard drive that was capped on a 28-yard field goal from Walsh for a 27-24 lead, and the team got another 22-yard field goal from Walsh for a 30-24 advantage with 3:15 left.
Greg Jennings led Minnesota receivers with five catches for 84 yards ... Chicago posted 411 yards, while Minnesota totaled 350 ... There were just seven penalties in the game, four on Chicago ... Chicago plays in Pittsburgh next Sunday ... Minnesota has its home opener next Sunday against Cleveland.
09/15 19:59:02 ET
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