In a game played under icy and snowy conditions on a neutral and questionable field, the Chicago Bears (10-4) persevered and handily beat the Minnesota Vikings (5-9). With the win, the Bears clinched the NFC North Division and will go to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
It was an evening with historical significance.
The Vikings’ senior gunslinger quarterback Brett Favre surprised no one and started the game. On Saturday, he had been listed as out; on Monday morning he was questionable and by the afternoon, a breaking news alert on FavreESPN in the mid afternoon announced that Favre would start.
Favre led the Vikings’ first score of the evening with a 23-yard pass to wide receiver Percy Harvin four minutes into the game. The Bears came roaring back with a 29-yard field goal by kicker Robbie Gould and a 67-yard touchdown pass from Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to wide receiver Johnny Knox.
The Bears took a 10-7 lead in the first quarter and would keep it for the rest of the game. What wouldn’t remain, is Favre taking the reins at quarterback.
Around four minutes into the second period, Bears rookie defensive end Cory Wootten sacked Favre and it was game over–perhaps career–for the esteemed quarterback.
The banged up quarterback hit his head, leading to a possible concussion, and his left shoulder from Wootten’s hit.
As for Wootten, it was his first NFL sack.
Rookie Vikings quarterback Joe Webb came in and showed occasional moments of potential including a first NFL touchdown for the mobile green player in the third quarter; however, he showed his inexperience and got beaten down by the Bears defense at the end.
Bears wide receiver Devin Hester finally got his NFL record (14) for kick-return touchdowns in the third quarter with his 64-yard punt return touchdown. He made the run look easy.
While we all knew Hester would get the record, what’s even more commendable is that it took Hester 74 games and less than five seasons; it took his predecessor Brian Mitchell 223 games and 13 years to set the record.
Bears seasoned wide receiver Rashied Davis added a touchdown in Monday night’s game.
In Davis’ second catch of the season, it was a winner. He had a nine-yard touchdown catch from Cutler that gave the Bears a 34-14 lead with 9:47 left in the third quarter.
It was Davis’ first touchdown since Nov. 2, 2008 against the Detroit Lions.
Knox led the Bears in receiving with his two receptions for 78 yards and one touchdown while running back Matt Forte led in rushing with 17 carries for 92 yards.
Gould had four field goals for the evening; his longest was 34 yards.
Cutler went 14 for 24, 194 yards and three touchdowns. He suffered a chin injury in the first half right before the two-minute warning and bandaged it up to complete the game; today, Cutler got three stitches in his chin to close up the gash.
As for the Bears defense, I could write an entire post about how great they played. They created five turnovers including a Favre interception by Julius Peppers and sacks by Israel Idonije and Matt Toeaina. Chris Harris and Charles Tillman intercepted Webb while Nick Roach and Brian Iwuh forced fumbles.
The Bears have two remaining games left: the Jets on Dec. 26 at home and Green Bay on Jan. 2 at Lambeau. With the division title accomplished, the Bears will set out to achieve the NFC second seed behind Atlanta. This would give them a bye in the first round and a home game in the second round.
The Bears will need to win one of their remaining games to achieve this.
For Bears fans, Chrstimas came early this year.
About the Author
Written by Debbie Baratz