CHICAGO (AP) — Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears are showing their resiliency, if nothing else. Two games into the season they have two comeback wins and they remain unbeaten under coach Marc Trestman.
They’re not making it easy on themselves, though.
Cutler fired a 16-yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett with 10 seconds left to lead the Bears to a 31-30 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
“I know it’s early in the season, but we’re trying to find our identity and right now, it’s a strong one,” Bennett said. “It’s the ‘team never quits.’ You’ve got guys like that where whatever happens, we’ll just go play for each other. The defense never gives up. The special teams never give up. And the offense never quits. So right now, we’re the team that never quits.”
Things were looking bleak after Minnesota’s Blair Walsh kicked a 22-yard field goal to make it a six-point game with 3:15 remaining. Chicago took over at its 34, and Cutler went to work.
After leading the Bears back from an 11-point deficit to beat Cincinnati in the opener, he did it again — this time with a heavy rain falling.
A 23-yard pass to Bennett along the sideline put the ball on the 16. Cutler then spiked the ball because his tight end did not get out of bounds when he admittedly should have.
After an incompletion, Cutler hit a twisting Bennett in the front corner of the end zone with a pass to his back shoulder. Robbie Gould kicked the go-ahead extra point and Chicago (2-0) remained unbeaten under new coach Marc Trestman despite committing four turnovers.
Here are five things to know from the Bears’ win over the Vikings:
1. CUTLER DELIVERING: Cutler has been cool down the stretch in both games, and he really delivered in the end this time.
He completed 28 of 39 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns, but it was far from a perfect outing. He was intercepted twice and got stripped by Jared Allen on a sack, leading to a 61-yard touchdown return for Brian Robison in the second quarter.
“He had moments of adversity in this game and he never flinched and the guys around him never did, either,” Trestman said.
2. HESTER’S BACK: Devin Hester was back to his old havoc-wreaking ways, which might be the most encouraging sign for the Bears coming out of this win. Ineffective in recent years, he returned five kickoffs for a Bears-record 249 yards — including a 76-yarder and an 80-yarder.
3. FORTE DELIVERS: The Bears wanted to get Matt Forte more involved after a quiet opener, and he delivered with 71 yards receiving and 90 yards rushing.
With Bennett adding 76 yards receiving and two touchdowns and Brandon Marshall chipping in with seven catches for 113 yards and a touchdown, Chicago got the balance it was seeking.
Through two games, Forte and Marshall each have 15 catches and Bennett has 10.
4. PETERSON FACTOR: Adrian Peterson had a solid game, rushing for 100 yards, but wasn’t a big enough factor for Minnesota. Some credit goes to the Bears for that, but the way the Vikings used him at the end was questionable.
They chose not to hand off to him on second down at the Chicago 4. Instead, Christian Ponder threw an incomplete pass and Peterson got hit for no gain on third down, leaving the Vikings to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Walsh with 3:15 left.
5. PONDER THIS: Ponder shook off that brutal opener against Detroit and got his act together in this one. He wasn’t spectacular, but he wasn’t bad, either.
He threw completed 16 of 30 passes for 227 yards with a touchdown and an interception after getting picked off three times by the Lions, but the Vikings (0-2) remained winless at Soldier Field since 2007.
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