The loss dropped Minnesota (8-6) into a tie with Green Bay in
the NFC North after the Packers beat San Diego. The Vikings, 2-6
since starting 6-0, will win the division if they win their final
two games -- with Kansas City at home and at Arizona -- even if the
Packers win their last two.
At 10-6, the Vikings would win on better conference record, the
fourth tiebreaker, because the other three (head-to-head, division
record, record against common opponents) would be tied.
"Charles just wanted the ball more than Randy did," Grossman
said after several of his teammates, including Tillman, mobbed him
on the field after the win.
"Moss is a veteran and I'm a rookie. He's famous for going up
and catching high balls, so I just kind of put two-and-two together
in watching film. I knew it was going to come," Tillman said.
"He had one hand on it, then I just kind of yanked it out of
his hand and that was pretty much it."
Moss, who had nine catches for 93 yards, declined to be
"I guess I could have put it a little higher. I think he (Moss)
misjudged it a little bit," Minnesota quarterback Daunte Culpepper
said. "I think he jumped a little early. But the guy made the
Culpepper drove the Vikings from their 11 to the Chicago 8 in
the closing minutes with two passes to Moss and a 37-yard pass to
Moe Williams. Two plays later, he lofted the ball to the corner and
Tillman went right up with the high-leaping Moss and came down with
"A lot of corners in today's age are like 5-foot-10. I'm 6-2
and Randy is 6-4," Tillman said, explaining his ability to stay
The Bears (6-8) then ran out the clock, thanks to a 23-yard run
by Anthony Thomas.
Grossman, a first-round pick who spent the season watching
veterans Kordell Stewart and Chris Chandler, settled in after a
shaky start. He was solid if not spectacular, completing 13 of 30
passes for 157 yards. He was sacked just once.
"I felt like I was going to be a lot more nervous than I was,"
said Grossman who heaved a long pass on the first scrimmage play of
the game, watching as the Vikings were called for pass
"To start off with about a 40-yard penalty to put us in field
goal range made me feel a lot more comfortable."
Grossman missed on four of his first five passes, but on
Chicago's third series, the former Florida star got more
comfortable. He hit Marty Booker down the sideline on a 39-yard
play that was upheld by video review. He then passed 13 yards to
David Terrell, 9 to Thomas and then 11 more to Desmond Clark,
setting up Thomas' 1-yard TD run. That capped a 10-play, 75-yard
drive and put the Bears up 10-0.
"I thought he (Grossman) played smart. But I think he was
really trying to rely on his receivers to make plays more than
himself. He was throwing the ball up and having them try to make
plays. He's going to be good," Minnesota defensive tackle Chris
Hovan then issued a challenge to his teammates.
"If you want to stand up and fight, we'll go 10-6. If you want
to turn it in, we'll go 8-8. Guys aren't going to turn it in. We're
going to go 10-6," he said.
Smith finished with 148 yards on 27 carries -- 124 yards on 21
carries in the first half. Culpepper, the top-ranked passer in the
NFC, was 24-of-34 for 222 yards.
The Vikings ate up almost the entire second quarter with a drive
that last 9:43. But after getting a first down at the 8, the drive
collapsed and Aaron Elling's 22-yard field goal cut the lead to
10-3 at the half.
A special teams blunder was costly for the Vikings in the third
period. When punter Eddie Johnson dropped a snap and then tried to
run after picking up the ball, he was smothered by a host of Bears
at the Minnesota 20.
After Edinger missed a 46-yard attempt, the Vikings finally got
their offense going early in the fourth quarter. Helped by a
personal foul penalty on the Bears, they moved 64 yards, with
Culpepper hitting Moss on a 16-yard scoring pass that made it 13-10
with 10:23 to play.
^Notes:@ With 93 yards receiving, Moss set a Minnesota
single-season record. He now has 1,465 yards receiving, breaking
his own mark of 1,437 yards set in 2000. ... Chris Claiborne, the
Vikings' leading tackler, sat out with a sore Achilles' tendon. The
Bears were without starting left tackle Mike Gandy (shoulder) and
guard Chris Villarrial (ribs). ... The Vikes lost despite having a
393-232 advantage in yards and a nearly 15-minute edge in time of