The Bears rebounded from their back-to-back losses to the Texans and 49ers in convincing fashion Sunday at Soldier Field, dominating the Vikings in an impressive 28-10 victory.
After mustering only one touchdown and 13 points in their previous two games, the Bears scored three TDs in the first half Sunday in racing to a commanding 25-3 halftime lead.
"I thought our guys came out ready to play," said coach Lovie Smith. "At home you've got to get something going right away, and we were able to do that."
Returning to action after missing last Monday night's game in San Francisco with a concussion he suffered Nov. 11 against the Texans, Jay Cutler was nearly flawless in the first half, completing 15 of 17 passes for 117 yards with one touchdown and a 115.0 passer rating.
"Jay's one of the best quarterbacks in the league," Smith said. "Everybody needs their stud quarterback playing; we're no different. We expected him to give us a boost. I thought he played outstanding ball."
In leading the Bears to their sixth straight win over the Vikings, Cutler completed 23 of 31 passes for 188 yards with one TD, one interception and an 86.5 passer rating.
With their seventh win in nine games, the Bears (8-3) vaulted into sole possession of first place in the NFC North, one game ahead of the Packers (7-4), who lost to the Giants Sunday night. The Vikings (6-5) are in third place, two games back.
The Bears overcame a slew of injuries, losing both starting guards
"I don't know the extent of the injuries except for they weren't able to come back in the football game," Smith said.
Spencer and Louis were replaced by
"The offensive line did a good job," said Cutler, who was sacked only once. "We had a few moving pieces in there, some guys filling in. Under the circumstances, they played well."
After failing to force any turnovers in San Francisco for the first time this season, the Bears defense generated three takeaways, two of which the offense converted into touchdowns.
Vikings star Adrian Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher, gained 108 yards on 18 carries. But 83 of those yards came in the second half after the Bears had built a big lead.
"We missed a lot of tackles the first half and he got a few yards late in the game when it didn't really matter," said middle linebacker
On the Bears' first play from scrimmage, Forte lost his first fumble of the season when he ran into fullback
Bush's second one-yard touchdown run of the game capped a 14-play, 80-yard drive with 4:01 left in the half. Holder
The Vikings closed to within 25-10 early in the third quarter on Ponder's two-yard TD pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph before Gould provided the game's final points with a 46-yard field goal late in the period.