KANSAS CITY—The Bears offense was as quiet as a college library during spring break for three-and-a-half quarters Sunday before a late explosion led to a remarkable victory.
Trailing the Chiefs 17-6, Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:05—including a game-winning 7-yarder to Kyle Long with :18 to play—to lift the Bears to a dramatic 18-17 comeback win at Arrowhead Stadium.
"It was a very gutsy, good football-character victory," said coach John Fox.
The Bears (2-3) won on their final drive for the second straight week, overcoming a slew of injuries as well as a 17-3 halftime deficit by outscoring the Chiefs 15-0 in the second half. They played without starting receivers Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal as well as center Will Montgomery and left tackle Jermon Bushrod.
"Adversity is going to be there all the time," Forte said. "You've just got to keep fighting. We talk about that all the time with our team, and coach Fox always preaches to us having that next-man-up mentality and to keep fighting.
"It would have been easy for us just to lay down and be like we've got guys injured and so many excuses that could have been out there. But we just said don't make excuses out there. Go out there and play and make plays."
Things looked especially bleak when Cutler threw wide of receiver Marc Mariani on fourth-and-three from the Kansas City 43 with 9:25 remaining, turning the ball over on downs. At that point, the Bears offense had not only failed to score a touchdown on 10 possessions but had given the Chiefs a 7-0 first-quarter lead when Cutler's fumble on a sack was recovered by linebacker Ramik Wilson in the end zone for a TD.
While the offense sputtered, an inspired defense kept the Bears in the game. The unit shut out the Chiefs in the second half, limiting Kansas City to 10 yards on nine plays on three straight three-and-outs to begin the fourth quarter.
The Bears cut the deficit to 17-12 with 3:05 to play as Cutler lofted a 22-yard touchdown pass to Marquess Wilson in the left corner of the end zone, capping an 11-play, 88-yard drive.
"That was an amazing throw," Wilson said. "He put it exactly where it needed to be, right on the money. I don't think I've ever seen something like that. He threw that before I even got out of my break. ... It was a phenomenal throw."
After Tracy Porter broke up Alex Smith's pass intended for Jeremy Maclin on third-and-six, the Bears took over at their own 33 following a Chiefs punt with 2:04 to play.
Cutler connected on passes of 20 and 10 yards to undrafted rookie Cameron Meredith and then rifled a back-shoulder throw to Wilson on third-and-10 from the Kansas City 37. The pass fell incomplete, but cornerback Marcus Peters was penalized for pass interference at the 13.
Two plays later, Cutler floated a pass into the left corner of the end zone to Forte, who beat single coverage by safety Husain Abdullah for the winning score with :18 to play. Cutler dropped the shotgun snap as he backpedaled away from center, scooped it up and threw to Forte.
"I knew we had a shot," Cutler said. "It was man-to-man and I was just waiting to see if he could get open and he did. I knew where I was going with the ball. It's just that I had to get it and then get it up to him. Made a decent throw and Matt made a heck of a catch for me."
The Chiefs reached the Bears' 48 in the final seconds as Smith completed a 23-yard pass. But Cairo Santos' 66-yard field-goal attempt fell well short as time expired. Sunday's stunning come-from-behind victory gave the Bears two straight wins for the first time since last Nov. 16 and 23 and left them one game under .500 following an 0-3 start.
"It's really a tribute to everybody in that locker room; the coaches, the players, the staff," Fox said. "Our poor training staff … we didn't have much room in the training room this week. It's what's cool about doing this for a living. You watch a lot of people work hard for something that's a common goal and to see it executed on a weekly basis, it beats the alternative, which we saw for the first three weeks."