Jennings’ pick gives Bears a shift
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter September 15, 2013 8:59PM
Updated: September 15, 2013 11:32PM
Jay Cutler had just thrown an interception in the end zone.
So when Tim Jennings got one of his own — and took it 44 yards, behind three blocking escorts, for a touchdown in the second quarter Sunday — it was worth more than six points.
“It was a momentum shift,” fellow cornerback Charles Tillman said.
Jennings jumped in front of Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson on a right sideline route, snatching Christian Ponder’s late throw.
“I definitely watched [Ponder] the whole way, and it looked like he was watching me the whole way,” Jennings said. “He let it rip, and I was able to get a good break on the [grass] surface we had.”
Tillman said Jennings didn’t guess or jump the route.
“I think he just came out of his route or he came out of his break,” he said, “and beat the receiver at his.”
It was the Bears’ biggest defensive play — until they stuffed Adrian Peterson on third-and-goal from the Bears’ 4 with 3:18 to play.
“Just give the offense a chance to win the game,” linebacker D.J. Williams said.
The Vikings had to settle for a field goal to lead by six, and the Bears parried with a touchdown with 10 seconds left to win 31-30.
“The more opportunities we get, the more plays we make, the more confidence you build,” linebacker James Anderson said.
The Bears don’t feel that confident, though.
“It’s still early,” Jennings said. “Of course, I hate that it seems like we’re letting up 30 points, whatever we gave up last week.
“We’re gonna [check out] the film and try to correct some things. I’m not really satisfied with the way the defense played.
“We’re giving up too many points, too many yards, and we’ve got to get off the field on third down.”
Defensive end Julius Peppers had one tackle but failed to get a hurry or a sack for the second consecutive week.
Vikings defensive end Jared Allen, the only player with more sacks than Peppers since 2002, had one sack, one hurry, two tackles for loss and one forced fumble.
Peppers said he thought he played OK and didn’t blame flu symptoms from the week.
“I feel all right,” he said.
Vikings offensive tackle Matt Kalil said Peppers is “still a tough player to play against. I think he’ll be all right. It’s only two games.’’
This and that
Eric Weems said he knew exactly what he was doing in the second quarter when he tried to retrieve a punt in the end zone. The ball squirted away and nearly was recovered by the Vikings in the end zone. But it would’ve been a touchback for the Bears regardless because the Vikings touched the ball first.
“I was going to lateral it, do whatever,” he said, “because there’s no consequence once they touch it first. Anything goes.’’
◆ The Bears celebrated the 50th anniversary of their 1963 title team by inviting back alums through the years, from Dick Butkus to Gale Sayers to Richard Dent.
◆ Safety Major Wright returned after leaving in the second quarter to be evaluated for a concussion. He called it protocol and said he felt good.
Contributing: Mark Potash, Adam L. Jahns