Final

Vikings 10

(6-5, 1-4 away)

Bears 28

(8-3, 5-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 25, 2012

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 3 0 7 010
CHI 10 15 3 028

Top Performers

Passing: J. Cutler (CHI) - 188 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: A. Peterson (MIN) - 18 CAR, 108 YDS

Receiving: B. Marshall (CHI) - 12 REC, 92 YDS

Jay Cutler sharp in return as banged-up Bears bounce Vikings

Associated Press

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bears got Jay Cutler back from a concussion, only to lose three more stars to injuries.

Start with Devin Hester. Add Matt Forte and Charles Tillman to the list, and just for good measure, throw in two starting guards.

Consider this a painful win.

Cutler threw for 188 yards and a touchdown after missing a game, and the Bears broke it open early in a 28-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The injuries, however, tempered some of the good feelings.

Tied with Green Bay for the NFC North lead and just a game ahead of Minnesota (6-5) coming in, the Bears (8-3) grabbed a 25-3 halftime lead thanks to Cutler's pinpoint passing. The defense held Adrian Peterson in check early on, although he finished with 108 yards rushing.

Chicago also came away with three more takeaways to increase its total from a league-leading 30 entering the game to 33.

The rather easy win came after back-to-back losses to Houston and San Francisco, but it also came with a heavy price.

The Bears lost Hester, a receiver and record-setting return specialist, early to a concussion. And that was just the start.

Forte, their top running back, hobbled to the tunnel midway through the third quarter with an ankle injury. Coach Lovie Smith said Tillman, their star cornerback, also hurt his ankle.

Besides those three, the Bears lost both guards in the third quarter to knee sprains, with Lance Louis and Chris Spencer going down. Louis' injury on a blindside hit by Jared Allen as Antoine Winfield returned an interception forced Chicago to go with Gabe Carimi, who lost the right tackle job to Jonathan Scott.

Spencer, meanwhile, was in the lineup after Chilo Rachal left the team.

If the Bears are going to develop any continuity on the line, well, don't expect it anytime soon.

"I don't think it's possible now," Cutler said. "With all the moving parts we have and Lance going down, you're not going to have that. We're going to have to roll with the guys we have and see what we have, lean on our defense as we have before, run the ball well. Be efficient through the air. See how far we go."

As for Cutler, he looked sharp after missing Monday's blowout loss at San Francisco.

Back after being knocked out of the Texans game on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Tim Dobbins, he got off to a scorching start and completed 23 of 31 passes with an interception to go with his TD.

"I felt good," Cutler said. "It was a matter of going through the motions, talking to the doctors. I had a good week of practice, a shorter week with the Monday game and Thanksgiving."

Brandon Marshall caught 12 passes for 92 yards and became the first Bears receiver since Marty Booker in 2002 to go over 1,000 yards. He now has 1,017 yards this season, his sixth straight with 1,000 or more.

"In the third quarter, I leaned over to Jay and said, `That catch puts me at 1,000 yards for six seasons in a row.' And he looked at me and said, `You're disgusting," Marshall, the Bears' big offseason acquisition, said, laughing.

He added he knew he was closing in because followers on Twitter had mentioned it.

On defense, Henry Melton set the tone by sacking Christian Ponder on the first play from scrimmage. Nick Roach set up the first touchdown by knocking the ball out of Peterson's hands. Chris Conte set another TD with a 35-yard interception return, and Julius Peppers blocked a field goal.

The league's leading rusher, Peterson tied Robert Smith's club record with a 100-yard performance for the fifth straight game even though he managed just 25 in the first half. He also lost two fumbles and had to catch a cab to the stadium and arrived about 90 minutes before kickoff, according to reports.

Ponder wasn't much help, going 22 of 43 with 159 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. His favorite target, Percy Harvin, sat out his second straight game with a sprained left ankle, and the Vikings lost for the third time in four games.

"We knew what we were getting into," Peterson said. "They wanted to make a statement. I thought it was more so what we did, giving the ball away, not making routine plays. Can't wait to see them again."

He won't have to wait long, with the Bears visiting Minnesota on Dec. 9.

Cutler completed 15 of 17 passes for 117 yards in the first half, and the Bears jumped out a big lead after a shaky start on offense.

Forte fumbled on Chicago's first play from scrimmage, leading to a 40-yard field goal by Blair Walsh -- all the scoring the Vikings did in the half.

The Bears broke it open late in the second half.

Bush scored from the 1 and holder Adam Podlesh ran in for a 2-point conversion that made it 18-3.

Ponder got picked off by Conte and he returned it 35 yards to the Minnesota 13. That led to a scoring strike from Cutler to a lunging Matt Spaeth on the next play.

Game notes


Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said he and Peterson were going to have a talk about punctuality after Sunday's delayed arrival. "There is something that Adrian and I need to talk about regarding getting to the stadium," he said. ... Allen thought his hit on Louis after Winfield's interception was a clean one. "I turned around, he was running to make a tackle and I threw myself into him to make a block. My condolences to him and his family. I never, ever, try and intentionally hurt anybody."

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MIN
CHI
1st Downs1523
Passing 1st downs
1013
Rushing 1st downs
37
1st downs from Penalties
23
3rd down efficiency
6-1611-19
4th down efficiency
1-31-1
Total Plays6571
Total Yards258296
Yards per play4.04.2
Total Drives1213
Passing144183
Comp - Att
22-4323-31
Yards per pass
3.35.9
Interceptions thrown
11
Sacks - Yards Lost
2-151-5
Rushing114113
Rushing Attempts
2039
Yards per rush
5.72.9
Red Zone (Made-Att)1-33-4
Penalties3-445-55
Turnovers32
Fumbles lost
21
Interceptions thrown
11
Defensive / Special Teams TDs00
Possession22:3037:30

Passing Leaders

MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Ponder22/431593.7112-15
CHIC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Cutler23/311886.1111-5

Rushing Leaders

MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Peterson181086.0023
Ponder263.006
CHICARYDSAVGTDLG
Bush21602.928
Forte14423.006

Receiving Leaders

MINRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Rudolph55511.01259
Wright7497.001210
CHIRECYDSAVGTDLGTGTS
Marshall12927.701717
Bennett44511.30204

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINCHI
minFG12:17Blair Walsh 40 Yd 30
chiTD07:17Michael Bush 1 Yd Run (Robbie Gould Kick) 37
chiFG00:32Robbie Gould 47 Yd 310
SECOND QUARTERMINCHI
chiTD04:01Michael Bush 1 Yd Run (Adam Podlesh Run For Two-Point Conversion) 318
chiTD01:48Matt Spaeth 13 Yd Pass From Jay Cutler (Robbie Gould Kick) 325
THIRD QUARTERMINCHI
minTD10:44Kyle Rudolph 2 Yd Pass From Christian Ponder (Blair Walsh Kick) 1025
chiFG03:57Robbie Gould 46 Yd 1028

Research Notes

Christian Ponder (MIN): Season-low 10.3 Total QBR in Sunday's loss against the Bears. Ponder has posted a QBR under 20.0 in 4 of his last 5 games after having no such games in the 1st 6 weeks of the season.
Christian Ponder was 0-for-8 when throwing the ball more than 10 yards downfield. Four of the passes were defended and three were overthrown, including an interception. The Bears entered the game as the best defense against such throws with a 61.3 Total QBR allowed.
--Adrian Peterson touched the ball just one time on the Vikings' 20 plays on third and fourth down, including seven short-yardage (3 yards or less) situations. On the season, Peterson has just 11 touches on Minnesota's 48 short-yardage plays (23 percent) on third/fourth down. --The Vikings dropped back to pass on their first 13 plays on third/fourth down against the Bears. --Minnesota converted first downs on just 2-of-7 plays on third/fourth down and 3 or fewer yards to go. Those conversions came on the first two attempts and both came off play-action passes to Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings did not attempt any other play-action passes on third or fourth down.
Brandon Marshall was happy to have Jay Cutler back. A week after being targeted a season-low four times by Jason Campbell, Marshall matched a season-high with 17 targets against the Vikings, more than half of Cutler's 31 pass attempts. In addition, Marshall also drew a defensive pass interference penalty in the end zone which led to a Bears touchdown.
In his first game back after suffering a concussion, Jay Cutler received improved protection. Cutler was sacked or under duress on just five of his 36 dropbacks (13.9 percent). Coming into the game, he was sacked or under duress on 23 percent of his dropbacks this season.
In the first half, the Bears converted on 5-of-6 third/fourth-down attempts in short yardage (3 yards or less) to go. In each of the five successful plays, Chicago had Gabe Carimi report in as eligible in a jumbo formation. Carimi was benched for Jonathan Scott after Monday night's game against the 49ers, but Carimi played the second half full time due to injury.

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