NFL Game Summary - Minnesota at Chicago|
(Monday, December 28th)
Final Score: Chicago 36, Minnesota 30 (OT)
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jay Cutler threw a perfect 39-yard touchdown
pass to Devin Aromashodu nearly six minutes into overtime, and the Chicago
Bears responded after blowing a 17-point lead by beating the Minnesota
Vikings, 36-30, and sending shockwaves through the NFC playoff picture.
Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had fumbled on the previous play, setting
the Bears up at the Minnesota 39. Chicago (6-9) blew a chance earlier in the
extra session, as Robbie Gould pushed a 45-yard field goal attempt wide right
on the hosts' first possession of overtime.
But Cutler, who was efficient for most of the night, had maybe his best game
in a Bears uniform. The former Denver Broncos quarterback completed 20-of-35
passes for 273 yards and a season-best four touchdowns, with one interception.
"Through all the roller coasters, the up-and-downs of the season, the tough
breaks, the turnovers, the way the offense hasn't performed, it's good for the
team, it's good for the morale," Cutler said. "(It's good) to put up points
and answer the bell in the fourth quarter and overtime when you really have to
Aromashodu, a practice squad player for most of his four-year career, nearly
doubled his career receiving yardage output with seven catches for 150 yards
and the game-winning score. Greg Olsen, Desmond Clark and Earl Bennett each
added a receiving touchdown, and Matt Forte ran for 74 yards on 21 carries.
Brett Favre nearly got his first win as a professional after trailing by 17,
but in the end he couldn't keep the Vikings (11-4) in control of their own
destiny. Favre threw for 321 yards and two scores on 26-of-40 passes, but the
loss knocks the Vikings behind the Eagles in a bid for a first-round bye in
Peterson, despite the fumble, rushed 24 times for 94 yards and two scores, and
Sidney Rice added six catches for 56 yards and a score. The Vikings trailed at
halftime, 16-0, and the poor start proved to be too much to overcome in the
end. Minnesota, which began the season 10-1, has now dropped three of four to
fade in the NFC playoff picture. The Vikings, who are a perfect 7-0 at home
this season, finished the 2009 campaign a mediocre 4-4 on the road.
"I really believe we played hard, we just haven't played well at times," Favre
said of the team's recent struggles. "For the most part it's the same guys who
started, and at times today in the second half you saw every one of our
offensive guys making plays. That has to happen for four quarters, and I hope
we can turn it around."
In addition to the Vikings' falling behind the Eagles due to tiebreaking
procedures, the New Orleans Saints locked up the top seed in the NFC. The only
way Minnesota would be able to have a bye in the playoffs is if it wins
against the Giants next week and Philadelphia loses in Dallas.
Additionally, the Arizona Cardinals could still lock up the two-seed should
they win and both the Vikings and Eagles lose next week. The Cowboys could
also earn a first-round bye should they win and the Vikings and Cardinals both
The Bears won the coin toss prior to overtime and received the ball first.
Cutler used a 33-yard pass to Aromashodu to get into Minnesota territory, but
Gould pushed a 45-yard field goal attempt wide right.
The Vikings proceeded to lose 14 yards over the next three plays after two
sacks of Favre, and they punted the ball back to Chicago. The Bears followed
suit, punting the ball back to Minnesota following a three-and-out.
Peterson took a screen pass on the second play of the drive and ran 16 yards
up the right sideline, but Chicago linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer punched the
ball out just before Peterson fell to the ground, and Nick Roach jumped on the
ball to give the Bears possession at Minnesota's 39 with 9:21 left.
On the following play, Cutler found a streaking Aromashodu down the right
sideline for an easy pitch-and-catch 39-yard touchdown for the dramatic win.
The Vikings faced a 17-point deficit late in the third quarter but managed to
come back and tie the game, 23-23, on a Peterson one-yard touchdown run with
just under six minutes left in the fourth.
Chicago, though, had an answer.
Danieal Manning returned the ensuing kickoff 59 yards to the Vikings' 21-yard
line, and Cutler hit Bennett in stride in the middle of the end zone two plays
later from 20 yards away to put Chicago back in front, 30-23, less than a
Favre, though, led his team down the field to tie the game in the final
minute. Starting from the Vikings' 32, Favre hit Peterson for a 16-yard catch-
and-run up the middle to get to midfield with 3 1/2 minutes left.
A few plays later, from the Chicago 38, Favre completed a 19-yard pass to
Percy Harvin to get in the red zone at the two-minute warning. An 11-yard pass
to Rice brought Minnesota to the seven-yard line with a minute to play. The
next three plays netted one yard and left the Vikings with 4th-and-goal from
the six with 22 ticks on the clock.
After both teams called a timeout, Favre threw a perfectly placed ball to Rice
in the back left corner of the end zone to tie the game and send it to
The Bears came out and dominated the Vikings for the first half.
After each team punted on its first possession, the Bears went 56 yards in
nine plays, leading to a Gould 22-yard field goal for an early lead.
Minnesota got into Chicago territory on the ensuing series, but Favre fumbled
the ball away at the 33, and Tommie Harris jumped on it for the Bears. The
resulting drive resulted in another Gould field goal -- from 42 yards away --
for a 6-0 lead in the opening minutes of the second quarter.
The Bears defense continued to keep the Vikings offense at bay, and Chris
Kluwe shanked a punt at midfield, giving Chicago the ball at its own 34.
Cutler hit Olsen for a 24-yard gain three plays later down to the Minnesota
29, and an over-the-head 26-yard grab by Aromashodu put the hosts at the two-
Following a false start penalty, Cutler hit Olsen in the back of the end zone
from seven yards away for a surprising 13-0 advantage with six minutes on the
The Bears later forced another punt and utilized the two minute drill to add a
41-yard field goal from Gould as time expired for a 16-0 halftime margin.
After gaining just 82 yards in the first half, Minnesota finally got on the
board on its second possession of the third quarter. Favre found Bernard
Berrian streaking down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain down to the
Bears' 22, and a defensive pass interference on the next play set up the
Vikings at the one. Peterson was able to scamper to the outside on the left to
get into the end zone for a 16-6 game after the extra point attempt was
But Chicago answered right away, as Manning ran back the kickoff to the
Vikings' 34-yard line. Cutler capped the ensuing four-play drive with a two-
yard pass to Clark in the back of the end zone for a 23-6 game with 6 1/2
minutes left in the third.
Favre responded with a 10-play, 73-yard drive that ended with a six-yard
touchdown pass to Visanthe Shiancoe, bringing the Vikings to within 23-13 at
the end of the third quarter.
Cutler was intercepted on the Bears' next series, leading to a Ryan Longwell
41-yard field goal with 12 minutes remaining in the game to get Minnesota to
within one possession.
Chicago's offense continued to sputter, and the Vikings forced a Bears punt.
Favre again led the offense down the field, going 79 yards in eight plays to
tie the game, 23-23, on Peterson's one-yard plunge with just under six minutes
The Vikings went 71:44 between their last score in a Week 15 loss to Carolina
and Peterson's touchdown to open the second half scoring...Favre dropped to
5-1 all time against the Bears on Monday night...Aromashodu had 19 career
catches for 198 yards and a touchdown coming into the game...Favre is now 0-43
when his team trails by 17 or more points...Bears wide receiver Johnny Knox
was carted off the field in the third quarter after a leg injury on a kickoff
return. Chicago defensive back Charles Tillman was taken off on a stretcher in
the fourth with a rib injury after a collision with a teammate...The two teams
split the season series...Bears wide receiver Devin Hester (calf) was
inactive, as was Minnesota defensive tackle Pat Williams (elbow)
12/29 01:32:49 ET