Never Say Never Moment of the Week: Another Look  

 

How Jay Cutler overcame errors to lead Chicago Bears comeback

  • By Jim Reineking NFL.com
More Columns >

This is the backstory to one of the great moments of Week 2, Jay Cutler's game-winning touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett in the final seconds of the Chicago Bears' win over the Minnesota Vikings. Cutler's comeback, as well as rookie EJ Manuel rallying the Buffalo Bills to a last-second win and Drew Brees shrugging off a weather delay and pick six in a New Orleans Saints win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are nominees for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the week. Cast your vote for the GMC Never Say Never Moments of Week 2.

Before Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler could hit tight end Martellus Bennett for the game-winning score in the final seconds of a thrilling 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings, a series of events needed to transpire in order to set up the late-game heroics at Soldier Field. It was the second time in as many weeks that the Bears rallied for victory late in the game, and has the team eyeing its first 3-0 start since 2010, the last time the Bears won the NFC North and advanced as far as the NFC Championship Game.

Here are the key moments before the moment:

Rookie ignites Vikings

The play: Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown, tying a Vikings team record in the process.

The aftermath: Not to be outdone by the fresh-faced rookie, the Bears' Devin Hester -- arguably still the game's most dangerous return specialist -- took the Vikings' ensuing kickoff 76 yards. That return set up the first Cutler-to-Bennett touchdown play. Hester would go on to break his own franchise record with 249 return yards.

Cutler gets careless

The play: Owning a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter, the Bears committed the first of three turnovers in the game.

The aftermath: Vikings defensive end Jared Allen sacked Cutler and in the process poked the pigskin out of the quarterback's grip. Defensive end Brian Robison picked up the loose ball and scampered 61 yards for a game-tying touchdown. Turns out, this sack would be the only one allowed by the Bears' offensive line through two weeks of play, which is impressive given that the Bears allowed 44 sacks during the 2012 season.

Norsemen reap plunder

The play: On their drive following the fumble return for a Vikings touchdown, the Bears had a first-and-goal situation at the Vikings' 1-yard line. Cutler's pass was tipped at the line of scrimmage, bounced off the hands off a couple of players before landing into the waiting arms of Vikings defensive tackle Kevin Williams for a touchback.

The aftermath: The Vikings failed to capitalize on the gift. Four plays later, Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was picked off by Bears defensive back Tim Jennings, who raced 44 yards for a touchdown. That score tied up the game at 21-21.

Cutler picked again

The play: With the score tied at 24-24 for the first play of the fourth quarter, Cutler tossed an interception on a first-and-10 situation from the Vikings' 40-yard line. Vikings safety Harrison Smith picked off a pass intenteded for receiver Brandon Marshall at the Vikings' 12-yard line.

The aftermath: The Vikings marched 79 yards in 13 plays to set up kicker Blair Walsh's successful field goal attempt. The Bears' next possession resulted in a lost fumble by running back Matt Forte. That event set up another successful field goal attempt for the Vikings, who now held a 30-24 lead with just more than three minutes remaining in the game.

The moment

The play: With 16 seconds remaining in the game, the Bears faced a third-and-10 situation from the Vikings' 16-yard line. Cutler hit Bennett with a back-shoulder throw at the left pylon and the self-proclaimed "Black Unicorn" produced a game-tying score. The extra point put Chicago up, 31-30.

The aftermath: There were no kickoff return theatrics from the Vikings' rookie this time. Robbie Gould's squib kick rolled to the Vikings' John Carlson, who fumbled the ball away and the Bears were victors. The Bears now have won seven of their last eight games against the Vikings and sit alone atop what promises to be a competitive NFC North.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

Headlines

The previous element was an advertisement.

NFL Shop

NFL News
CONTENT
15