Final

Bears 10

(11-5, 4-4 away)

Vikings 34

(9-7, 6-2 home)

4:15 PM ET, January 1, 2006

 

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 3 0 0 710
MIN 0 17 7 1034

Top Performers

Passing: B. Johnson (MIN) - 247 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: M. Bennett (MIN) - 6 CAR, 82 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Taylor (MIN) - 5 REC, 68 YDS, 1 TD

Vikings beat up on Bears, but Tice fired anyway

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Mike Tice left the Metrodome with a win -- and a notice of unemployment.

It was over when ...
The Bears decided to rest many of their starters, including quarterback Rex Grossman.
Game ball goes to ...
Mike Tice, in his final game as head coach of the Vikings. Tice finishes his career in Minnesota with a 32-33 regular-season record and a 1-1 mark in the postseason.

His fourth full season with Minnesota ended after a meaningless 34-10 victory over the Chicago Bears that gave the Vikings a winning record after a rough start.

Then owner Zygi Wilf informed the coach in a brief emotional meeting that his contract was not being renewed, a firing that Tice himself expected -- but didn't embrace.

"Of course I'm hurt," he said. "I'm a man, not a machine."

Minnesota finished 9-7, one positive for Tice during yet another up-and-down year marred by a scandalous boat party during the team's bye week. But despite wins in seven of the final nine games, Wilf -- who bought the team this summer -- told Tice he wanted to go in another direction.

Most of the players were gone when the Vikings announced the decision. Brad Johnson was leaving the stadium with his family when he found out.

"I wish him greatness," said Johnson, who completed 27 of 40 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns against the NFC North champions -- who rested most of their regulars.

Thomas Jones ran 12 times for 62 yards in the first half to finish with 1,335 yards for Chicago (11-5), which used a dominant defense and an eight-game winning streak to take control of the division. Jones' rushing total was the highest for a Bears player other than Walter Payton and the greatest sum since Payton's 1,551 yards in 1985.

"It is only a first step for us," coach Lovie Smith said. "We can't wait to get to Soldier Field and play the playoff game in front of our home crowd."

The only thing Chicago really had to play for was a franchise record for fewest points allowed, 187 set by the 1986 squad. But a season-high 34 points surrendered raised the total to 202, and the Bears also gave up a season-high 396 yards -- in case anybody was keeping track.

"We are the No. 1 defense," linebacker Lance Briggs said. "Nobody can take that from us."

Michael Bennett, in probably his last game with Minnesota, ripped off a late 61-yard touchdown run and totaled 82 yards on six carries. A pending free agent, Bennett never built on his breakout 2002 season because of injuries and failed to give the Vikings the reliable featured back they've badly needed the last two years.

Kevin Williams had two sacks, and tight end Jim Kleinsasser blocked a punt to set up a field goal for Minnesota, which had four scoring drives that lasted 2 minutes or less.

"It's nice to go out on a good note with your buddies," Kleinsasser said. "The guys that you've battled with, coaches included."

Less than three weeks ago, it looked like this game could determine the division title -- or at least give the Vikings a chance to get a wild card spot with a win and some help from others. But Chicago clinched last week, and Minnesota fell out of postseason contention by losing at Baltimore -- a second consecutive defeat following six straight victories.

"The part that we had control over, we didn't quite get done," Kleinsasser said.

Predictably subdued on this New Year's Day, Minnesota fans filled most of the 64,000-some seats -- though the crowd included plenty of navy blue and orange in support of the Bears.

Chicago, which has a first-round bye and won't play again until Jan. 14 or 15 against the highest remaining seed in the NFC field, stuck receiver Muhsin Muhammad, safety Mike Brown, cornerback Charles Tillman, defensive end Adewale Ogunleye, linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer and nose tackle Ian Scott on the inactive list.

"This is an exciting time," Muhammad said. "We really want to seize this opportunity."

Rookie Kyle Orton returned at quarterback in place of Rex Grossman, looking as shaky as he did before he lost the job to Grossman in the second half of a victory over Atlanta on Dec. 18. Orton tripped once while handing off to Jones, had to recover his own fumble on a dropped snap and finished 6-for-14 for 59 yards with no touchdowns or turnovers before yielding to Jeff Blake in the fourth quarter.

"We have a great team here, not a team of individuals," Orton said. "I'm not arrogant enough to say I don't have things to work on. I have a ton of things to work on."

Game notes


Blake threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Justin Gage with 7:08 left, bringing the Bears within 27-10. Gage had six catches for 67 yards. ... Chicago center Olin Kreutz played briefly in an uneventful first quarter against Minnesota's Pat Williams. The two traded several barbs through the media this season, with Kreutz cracking derogatory jokes about Williams' weight and Williams' agent alleging that Kreutz campaigned to other players to keep him out of the Pro Bowl. ... Tight end Jermaine Wiggins had three catches for 16 yards and finished with 69 receptions, the second straight year he's led the Vikings in that category.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CHI
MIN
1st Downs1322
Passing 1st downs
612
Rushing 1st downs
710
1st downs from penalties
00
3rd down efficiency
6-165-10
4th down efficiency
2-40-0
Total Plays5958
Total Yards251396
Yards per play4.36.8
Total Drives1012
Passing97247
Comp-Att
14-2327-40
Yards per pass
3.76.2
Interceptions thrown
00
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-240-0
Rushing154149
Rushing Attempts
3318
Yards per rush
4.78.3
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-20-4
Penalties8-457-45
Turnovers00
Fumbles lost
00
Interceptions thrown
00
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession33:2826:32

Passing Leaders

CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Blake7/8445.5100-0
Orton6/14594.2003-24
MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Johnson27/402476.2200-0

Rushing Leaders

CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Jones12625.2035
Peterson8354.4023
MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Bennett68213.7161
Moore6579.5033

Receiving Leaders

CHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Gage66711.2121
Peterson33010.0018
MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Taylor56813.6121
Burleson66611.0015

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCHIMIN
chiFG5:18Robbie Gould 14 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 16 plays, 84 yds, 7:26
30
SECOND QUARTERCHIMIN
minFG14:57Paul Edinger 46 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 19 yds, 14:10
33
minTD7:41Ciatrick Fason, 2 yd run (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 8 plays, 90 yds, 4:34
310
minTD0:07Travis Taylor, 17 yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 69 yds, 1:41
317
THIRD QUARTERCHIMIN
minTD4:05Mewelde Moore, 7 yd pass from Brad Johnson (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 17 plays, 82 yds, 8:21
324
FOURTH QUARTERCHIMIN
minFG14:55Paul Edinger 19 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, -1 yds, 13:57
327
chiTD7:11Justin Gage, 4 yd pass from Jeff Blake (Robbie Gould kick is good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 59 yds, 7:31
1027
minTD5:20Michael Bennett, 61 yd run (Paul Edinger kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yds, 1:48
1034