Cutler finds Bennett with 10 seconds left as Bears earn 31-30 comeback win
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 15, 2013 1:47PM
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Updated: September 15, 2013 9:35PM
Had the fans at Soldier Field heard Jay Cutler calling plays during the last drive of the Bears’ 31-30 comeback victory Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, maybe they wouldn’t have been so concerned.
Maybe they wouldn’t have panicked as the Bears took a holding penalty in the final minute, allowed 21 seconds to elapse between plays and were forced into a third-and-10 with 16 seconds left.
‘‘He’s loud enough for you to hear him,’’ guard Kyle Long said of Cutler. ‘‘But he’s cool enough for you not to be panicky.’’
With 10 seconds left, Cutler found tight end Martellus Bennett in mid-pirouette at the left pylon for the winning 16-yard touchdown in front of 58,540 rain-soaked fans.
The Bears installed the play, in which Bennett releases left out of the slot and up the sideline, this week.
‘‘[The Vikings] are not gonna like what they see on film,’’ Cutler said.
Neither will the Bears for the other 59 minutes, all of which were pulled from the Home Upset Loss Handbook:
◆ They allowed a special-teams touchdown when Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff 105 yards.
◆ They allowed a defensive touchdown when Jared Allen forced a Cutler fumble that Brian Robison recovered and returned 61 yards in the second quarter.
◆ They turned the ball over four times, all in Vikings territory and once in the end zone.
Devin Hester wowed, though, breaking the Bears’ franchise record with 249 yards on kickoff returns.
And the defense held, allowing only one offensive touchdown and three second-half field goals.
The defense produced a touchdown of its own, too, when Tim Jennings returned a second-quarter interception 44 yards. That recaptured the momentum after Cutler, who was 28-for-39 for 290 yards and three touchdowns, had thrown an interception in the end zone to end the Bears’ previous drive.
The Bears held Vikings star Adrian Peterson to an even 100 yards on 26 carries. Their most important stop came on Peterson’s last carry.
The Vikings led 27-24 with 3:23 left and had third-and-goal from the Bears’ 4. A touchdown would have sealed the game, but Peterson was stopped for no gain off left tackle.
‘‘I hope it gave our offense a lot of momentum,’’ Jennings said.
The Vikings kicked a field goal. And the Bears, trailing by only six, marched downfield to win the game.
‘‘Like coach [Marc] Trestman says, it’s 58 minutes plus two,’’ receiver Brandon Marshall said.
Marshall, who caught seven passes for 113 yards and a first-quarter touchdown, said the Bears’ huddle is made for pressure situations.
‘‘If it’s the third quarter, it’s like, ‘Uh, whatever,’ ’’ he said. ‘‘If it’s the fourth quarter, I have a lot of confidence.’’
For the first time in four years, the Bears rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit in consecutive weeks to win.
For the second consecutive game, their ills were cured in the final minutes.
‘‘It’s like when you get sick,’’ Long said. ‘‘You get a certain number of symptoms, depending on what your doctor says your sickness is. We had our diarrhea, we had our stomachache, we had our nausea, all that stuff.
‘‘And then in the fourth quarter, we started to feel a little better.’’