Final

Bears 19

(3-0, 2-0 away)

Vikings 16

(2-1, 1-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, September 24, 2006

 

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 3 0 6 1019
MIN 3 3 0 1016

Top Performers

Passing: R. Grossman (CHI) - 278 YDS, 1 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: C. Taylor (MIN) - 20 CAR, 74 YDS

Receiving: M. Muhammad (CHI) - 9 REC, 118 YDS

Grossman's late TD pass keeps Bears undefeated

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- For more than 3½ quarters, Minnesota was beating Chicago at its own defensive game. By the end, it was the Bears who pulled a switcheroo on the Vikings.

It was over when ...
Rex Grossman threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Rashied Davis with 1:53 left in the game, completing a five-play, 37-yard drive that gave the Bears the win.
Game ball goes to ...
The Bears' defense, which shut down another opponent, holding the Vikings to 286 total yards. And though Chicago's offense wasn't much better, it is worth noting that Minnesota uses the same Tampa Two zone defense that Bears coach Lovie Smith installed.
Scouts Inc.'s take ...
Bears QB Rex Grossman made plays through the air, although his inexperience showed on a couple poor decisions and bad throws, including an interception returned by CB Antoine Winfield for Minnesota's only touchdown. The Vikings' red zone defense was excellent again. Both defenses shut down the run and played aggressively against the pass. The difference in this close contest was that the Vikings' offense made more critical mistakes while the Bears made big plays when it counted.

After a rough afternoon against a suddenly stingy Minnesota defense, Rex Grossman threw a 24-yard touchdown to Rashied Davis right after the 2-minute warning to rally the Bears to a 19-16 win Sunday -- the same kind of road victory the Vikings were getting used to pulling off themselves.

"We faced some adversity, but I think it says a lot about our offense and defense," Grossman said, "because this is a tough place to play."

Antoine Winfield returned one of Grossman's two interceptions for a fourth-quarter touchdown, and Ryan Longwell's third field goal with 7:27 remaining gave Minnesota a 16-12 edge. But Chester Taylor coughed the ball up with 3½ minutes left and Adewale Ogunleye recovered at the Vikings' 37-yard line, setting up Grossman's first career fourth-quarter scoring pass.

"The past few weeks, we've been grinding down teams in the fourth quarter. It just worked the other way this time," said Taylor, referring to 19-16 and 16-13 wins by Minnesota over Washington and Carolina.

The Bears, undefeated, are still in charge of the NFC North.

This was the first Metrodome victory since 2001 for Chicago, which committed 10 penalties for 82 yards and looked beatable until the end. Robbie Gould kept the Bears in it by kicking four field goals.

The Vikings (2-1) got the ball back with 1:45 left, but failed to convert a first down. Brad Johnson's up-the-sideline heave on fourth-and-2 at his own 46, with Ogunleye in his face, was thrown well past Troy Williamson.

Chicago's always-active defense, allowed the league's fewest points and finished second in yards given up last year while winning the division with an 11-5 record, was plenty good.

The offense, despite Grossman's obvious struggles with a heavy pass rush, did what it had to do in the clutch, too. After missing big chunks of the past two seasons because of injuries, Grossman has thrown for 829 yards and helped guide the Bears to their first 3-0 start since 1991.

"We really believe in him," center Olin Kreutz said. "We really think he's that good."

Grossman completed 23 of 41 passes for 278 yards and the late touchdown. Muhsin Muhammad caught nine balls for 118 yards, and Thomas Jones rushed 18 times for 54 yards.

Minnesota, now playing the same Tampa Two zone defense that Chicago coach Lovie Smith installed, got heavy pressure on Grossman and effectively used a mixture of blitzes. Winfield and Darren Sharper each had their hands on balls that should have been interceptions, and the Vikings forced field goals on consecutive third-quarter drives that reached the 6- and 12-yard lines.

"This does a lot for the confidence of the other members of the offense," Muhammad said. "Everybody knows that the ball can come to them on any given occasion, and that makes you play harder."

Minnesota still spoke with confidence, too, despite the late lapse.

"It's early in the season," Sharper said, "and we'll see those guys again."

Gould made a 41-yarder in the first quarter, but the Bears were forced to punt on their next three possessions. Then Dwight Smith intercepted a badly underthrown ball by Grossman, who was under pressure from Darrion Scott, and returned it from the Vikings' 38 to the Chicago 32.

Grossman brought the league's best passer rating into the game after victories over Green Bay and Detroit. But the Packers and Lions didn't provide much resistance, and Grossman didn't look ready for Minnesota's persistent rush.

The Bears' defense was not, however, outdone. Johnson was under constant pressure, and Taylor had his lowest rushing total, 74 yards on 20 carries, of the year.

"We were close to having what we wanted," said Johnson, who went 21-for-31 for 194 yards. "We've been in every game and won two out of three of them. Today hurts, but we'll move on."

Game notes


Smith (dehydration), G Steve Hutchinson (hamstring spasm) and CB Fred Smoot (concussion) all missed plays for Minnesota, but returned. LB Ben Leber (knee sprain) and G Artis Hicks (bruised knee) were also banged up. ... TE Desmond Clark (strained foot) left in the third quarter for Chicago. LB Jamar Williams (shoulder) and T John Tait (shoulder) were also hurt. ... Vikings coach Brad Childress, who cut his postgame remarks short after three questions, did not, however, address why rookie Cedric Griffin played in Smoot's place on the first defensive series.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNChicago.com 

Team Stat Comparison

 
CHI
MIN
1st Downs1911
Passing 1st downs
147
Rushing 1st downs
33
1st downs from penalties
21
3rd down efficiency
5-155-15
4th down efficiency
1-10-1
Total Plays6356
Total Yards325286
Yards per play5.25.1
Total Drives1112
Passing274189
Comp-Att
23-4121-31
Yards per pass
6.55.9
Interceptions thrown
20
Sacks-Yards Lost
1-41-5
Rushing5197
Rushing Attempts
2124
Yards per rush
2.44.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-20-2
Penalties10-828-83
Turnovers22
Fumbles lost
02
Interceptions thrown
20
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession28:2131:39

Passing Leaders

CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Grossman23/412786.8121-4
MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Johnson21/311946.3001-5

Rushing Leaders

CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Jones18543.0017
Grossman3-3-1.00-1
MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Taylor20743.7024
Moore3237.7010

Receiving Leaders

CHIRECYDSAVGTDLG
Muhammad911813.1024
Berrian67011.7021
MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Taylor68213.7036
Williamson4399.8019

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCHIMIN
minFG10:52Ryan Longwell 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 68 yds, 4:11
03
chiFG6:24Robbie Gould 41 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 33 yds, 4:29
33
SECOND QUARTERCHIMIN
minFG1:12Ryan Longwell 26 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 24 yds, 3:24
36
THIRD QUARTERCHIMIN
chiFG10:55Robbie Gould 24 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yds, 4:07
66
chiFG3:22Robbie Gould 31 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 48 yds, 5:14
96
FOURTH QUARTERCHIMIN
minTD15:00Antoine Winfield, 7 yd interception return
Drive info: 1 plays, 7 yds, 0:00
912
chiFG10:42Robbie Gould 49 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 43 yds, 4:16
1213
minFG7:31Ryan Longwell 41 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 51 yds, 3:10
1216
chiTD1:58Rashied Davis, 24 yd pass from Rex Grossman
Drive info: 5 plays, 37 yds, 1:32
1816