Late scores lead Vikings to second NFC North road win, in Chicago
CHICAGO -- Adrian Peterson's legs, Blair Walsh's foot and Teddy Bridgewater's poise lifted Minnesota to a rare Windy City win.
With no time to spare, either.
Peterson ran for 103 yards and Walsh kicked a 36-yard field goal as time expired to lift Minnesota to a 23-20 win over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The Vikings had dropped seven straight at Soldier Field, and it looked like the streak would reach eight when Jay Cutler rolled to his right and plowed over safety Harrison Smith for a 4-yard touchdown with just under five minutes remaining.
Just when it seemed this one was slipping away, they dug in. Bridgewater led two late scoring drives to send Minnesota (5-2) to its third straight win.
"We fight no matter if we're down 10, 15, 20 -- guys continue to fight," Peterson said.
Stefon Diggs turned a short pass into a 40-yard TD when he spun around Sherrick McManis and went up the left side, tying it with 1:49 left.
After Chicago (2-5) punted, Bridgewater hit a leaping Charles Johnson for a 35-yard pass that put the ball on the 27. Two plays later Walsh booted the winner, pumping his right arm as the ball went through the uprights.
"I didn't necessarily think it was going to go down to a game-winning kick," Walsh said. "I knew that we were going to go to overtime regardless because it was just so late in the game. But then our offense, man, they pulled one out there. Teddy did a great job driving the ball down the field."
The Bears lost star running back Matt Forte and receiver Eddie Royal to knee injuries while dropping their second straight game. Coach John Fox had no details on the injuries to Forte and Royal, who hurt his left knee.
Forte was seen slightly favoring his right leg after the game. A fan asked if he was OK, and he said, "Yeah."
The loss comes two days after a stunning police report saying former defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff threatened team staff when he was released. He was seen having an animated discussion with general manager Ryan Pace in the parking lot outside Halas Hall a week and a half ago, and the team announced his release a day later.
On Sunday, the Bears had trouble containing Peterson and came up short when it looked like they were ready to pull out the win.
"We were in the game, much like the last four weeks," Fox said. "We won two. We didn't finish the last two weeks and you lose. I think down the stretch you've got to coach it better, you've got to make plays when they're there to be had."
Peterson carried 20 times for Minnesota. Bridgewater threw for just 187 yards and a touchdown but came through in the closing minutes.
"I'm sure there were a lot of things he wished he could have done better, a lot of things we all wished we could've done better," Peterson said. "But when it counted the most he came through, made big plays."
Diggs had six catches -- all but one in the second half -- for 95 yards. Marcus Sherels returned a punt 65 yards untouched up the right sideline for an early touchdown, and the Vikings won at Soldier Field for the first time since 2007. They also ended another long road losing streak after a win at Detroit last week, their first away from home over an NFC North team since 2012.
"I think it's a huge milestone," Bridgewater said.
Cutler completed 22 of 33 passes for 211 yards for Chicago. He also threw for a touchdown, giving him 137 as a Bear and tying Sid Luckman's club record.
Cutler said he "instantly regretted" lowering his shoulder on that touchdown run. He appeared a little woozy after the play, but he said he felt fine.
"Ultimately we got the touchdown," Cutler said. "So I can't regret it too much."
Alshon Jeffery had 116 yards receiving, including a leaping, twisting touchdown grab in the first half after an interception by Kyle Fuller. Forte had 41 yards rushing and 28 receiving before he walked to the locker room early in the second half.
Robbie Gould kicked two field goals, including a 55-yarder, for Chicago.
Notes: The Bears shuffled their offensive line with C Hroniss Grasu (neck) sidelined. Matt Slauson moved from left guard to center, Vladimir Ducasse slid from right guard to left guard, and Patrick Omameh started at right guard. . . . Sherels' 65-yarder was the third-longest punt return of his career. He ran one back 77 yards against Detroit in 2012 and another 86 yards against the New York Giants in 2013. . . . Peterson has run for 1,499 in 13 games against Chicago.