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(Sunday, November 14th)
Final Score: Chicago 27, Minnesota 13
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Jay Cutler threw for three touchdowns to lead the Chicago Bears over the downtrodden Minnesota Vikings, 27-13, in an NFC North tilt at Soldier Field.
Devin Hester caught a touchdown pass and added 147 yards in the return game for the Bears (6-3), who are now tied with the Packers atop the division after their second straight win.
Cutler connected with nine different receivers, completing 22-of-35 passes for 237 yards while getting intercepted twice.
Brett Favre, fresh off a career-high 446-yard showing in Week 9, was 18-of-31 through the air for just 170 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble for the Vikings (3-6), who have dropped eight straight regular season contests on the road dating back to 2009.
"The last thing I want to do is make excuses...It's just disappointing," a dejected Favre said of how the season has turned out thus far. "I don't know how to sugarcoat it. If we don't play any better than we played today, the writing's on the wall. I'd love to say something different, but that's the way it is."
Most of Favre's yards came on a 53-yard scoring strike to Percy Harvin, who appeared to suffer a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
Minnesota erased a late 14-point deficit against Arizona last week and pulled out a 27-24 overtime win, seemingly saving Brad Childress' head coaching job in the process.
By not pulling off a second straight comeback, Childress may be on the hot seat with the Vikings trailing the division leaders by three games.
Husain Abdullah came up with his second interception of Cutler in the end zone to keep the Vikings within 20-13 heading to the fourth.
Minnesota went three-and-out, however, and a short punt gave the Bears the ball back at their own 45-yard line. On third-and-inches from the Minnesota 19, Kellen Davis was left wide open down the middle of the field thanks to a play-action fake, and Cutler hit the tight end for a 27-13 cushion with 8:37 to play.
Harvin was injured on the kickoff return, and to add insult to injury, Lance Briggs picked off Favre on the Vikings' second play from scrimmage.
The Bears failed to convert the turnover into points, but Chris Harris sealed the win with a diving interception, Favre's 16th of the year, at the Chicago 20 with 2:27 on the clock.
"Offensively it felt like we had control of the game most of the time...For the most part we set out what we wanted to do," Bears head coach Lovie Smith said. "On the defensive side of the ball, the guys did a really super job of taking the ball away. Our line had good pressure."
Ryan Longwell's 36-yard field goal accounted for the only points in the first quarter, and the kicker clanged a 39-yard try off the left upright early in the second.
Cutler, who was picked off on the previous drive, hit Greg Olsen between three defenders for a 17-yard score with 6:57 left before halftime.
The Vikings went back in front when Favre, throwing on the run, led Harvin down the right sideline for a 53-yard TD at the 3:17 mark.
Rashied Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 32 yards to the Minnesota 49, and the Bears took advantage of the short field. A pair of third down conversions moved the ball to the 19, where Hester took a short pass over the middle and did the rest, diving over the goal line from the four with 44 seconds showing.
Favre lost a fumble just before the break, but the Bears couldn't capitalize as Robbie Gould hooked a 43-yard field goal try wide left to keep it 14-10.
Gould made up for it with a 34-yarder early in the second half following a D.J. Moore interception for a seven-point Bears lead.
Later in the third, Harvin drew a 42-yard pass interference penalty on Danieal Manning, setting up Longwell's 33-yard field goal with 8:14 showing.
Hester gave Chicago great field position for its next two possessions, but the Bears came away with only three points. The return specialist had a 68-yard kickoff prior to Gould's 37-yard kick, then danced down the right sideline for a 42-yard punt return before Cutler's aforementioned pick in the end zone.
The Bears went 11-for-19 on third down, while Minnesota converted just once in nine third-down situations...Matt Forte paced Chicago with 69 yards on 21 carries, while Johnny Knox led the receiving corps with 90 yards on five receptions...Adrian Peterson came into the game averaging 122.2 rushing yards per game against the Bears and was held to 51 yards on 17 carries...Harvin finished with 64 yards on four grabs...Chicago travels to Miami for a game against the Dolphins on Thursday, while the Vikings host Green Bay next Sunday.
11/14 18:14:58 ET