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With Matthews hurt, Miller rallies Bears

9/23/2001

CHICAGO (AP) -- There's something about Jim Miller that brings
out the best in the Chicago Bears.

Maybe it's his low-key personality or his blue-collar work
ethic. Either way, the Bears seem to win when he's in a game.

Miller came on for injured Shane Matthews to throw two
fourth-quarter touchdowns, and Marcus Robinson capped the comeback
with a 24-yard leaping touchdown catch Sunday as the Bears beat the
Minnesota Vikings 17-10.

"That wasn't an upset, we expected to win," Miller said. "We
have a good team. And in the second half we started to show that."

Miller, who came on in the second quarter after Matthews bruised
his ribs, was 18-of-29 for 204 yards. Marty Booker caught nine
passes for 95 yards, and Robinson had seven catches for 99 yards
for the Bears (1-1).

What's wrong with the Vikings' offense?
They're not in any rhythm right now. They have two new tackles, and they desperately miss Robert Smith. Smith had 279 yards on 37 carries in two games versus the Bears last year. The Vikings had no comparable running threat Sunday. And they're seeing different defenses because opposing teams aren't concerned about the ground game of Smith. Now defenses are able to double the outside guys and confuse Daunte Culpepper with different coverages. It all boils down to the lack of a running game.

ESPN.com NFL analyst Vinny Cerrato has served as director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.


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Daunte Culpepper threw for a touchdown, but the extra week off
wasn't enough to fix the Vikings' offensive woes. Randy Moss wasn't
a factor for a second straight game, and Cris Carter was visibly
frustrated by Minnesota's ineptitude.

The Vikings are now 0-2 for the first time since 1984.

"We came out and had some chances to score and to move the
ball, but we didn't score," Minnesota coach Dennis Green said.
"The name of the game is moving the ball and scoring some points
with your offensive unit, and we didn't do that."

Moss had five catches for 81 yards, but Carter had just one
catch for 13 yards. Culpepper was 24-of-36 for 233 yards and also
rushed for 42 yards.

Moss, Carter and Culpepper all refused to talk after the game.

"You could just see it in their eyes they were getting
frustrated," said R.W. McQuarters, who was on Carter all day. "I
think the whole defense got the best of all of them."

It was just the Bears' sixth victory in the last 20 tries
against the Vikings.

The Vikings offense was never in sync opening week, when they
were upset at home by Carolina. They spent the week off, when all
games were postponed after the terrorist attacks in New York and
Washington, trying to find some answers.

They obviously need to look a little harder.

The height of frustration came early, when the Vikings failed on
a fake punt. Needing just two yards and having two downs to do it,
Bennett rushed for a yard and then no gain.

Mitch Berger tried the fake, but his pass to Harold Morrow was
incomplete as Bobbie Howard shoved Morrow out of bounds. And the
Vikings had an ineligible receiver downfield.

"That's something that Mitch thought was there, and he tried to
go for it," Green said. "I think it comes down to when you are
trying to get out there and make something happen, many times it's
not going to be there."

That gave the Bears the ball at the Minnesota 45, and they
didn't waste any time taking advantage. Robinson beat Robert Tate
and Don Morgan in the deep left corner of the end zone. With Tate
right by his side, Robinson snagged the ball with his fingertips
and gave Chicago the 17-10 lead.

"That was a big catch in a crucial situation," Vikings end
Talance Sawyer said. "Tate was on him as tight as could be. The
other guy just made a bigger play."

The Bears got off to a poor start, crossing midfield only once
in the first half and managing just seven yards rushing. They were
down 10-0 midway through the third when Miller finally got them
into a groove.

After Paul Edinger's 45-yard field goal, Chicago had a chance to
tie early in the fourth. But Miller's pass to Robinson was picked
off in the end zone.

The Bears got it right on the next try. Booker caught the ball
at the 11, and leaped sideways into the end zone to tie the game at
10. It was the Bears' first touchdown of the season.

"I wasn't going to be denied," Booker said. "I knew we'd been
struggling in that area. ... I was determined to get in there."

Jim Kleinsasser gave the Vikings a short spark to start the
third quarter. He caught passes of 18 and 10 yards to set up Andrew
Jordan's 3-yard TD catch, which gave Minnesota a 10-0 lead.

The Vikings had the ball at the Bears 1 in the first quarter,
but settled for Gary Anderson's 20-yard field goal.

Game notes
Vikings SS Robert Griffith broke his right leg on the
opening kickoff. "I tried to go to my right and my cleats got
stuck in the turf," Griffith said. "It's all my fault, I didn't
get touched." ... Fans were given small U.S. flags as they entered
Soldier Field. Firefighters and police officers were at various
points throughout the stadium, taking donations. ... The Bears had
only 47 yards rushing.