Cutler, Bennett lead Chicago past Vikings in final minute

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 16, 2013 - 7:56 AM

A defensive collapse negated Christian Ponder’s strong second half and put the Vikings in an 0-2 hole.

view larger photos

  

– All they needed were three minutes of solid football. Just one defensive stand and a dreary Sunday afternoon spent in the rain would suddenly give way to a cheerier outlook that maybe things aren’t so bad after all.

The Vikings heard the sky was falling for an entire week after their no-show performance against Detroit in the season opener. But suddenly, they found themselves in position to salvage a split in their two-game NFC North road trip to start the 2013 season.

With a manageable schedule on tap the next three games, it almost felt safe to remove our collective finger from the panic button. The Vikings just had to close the deal.

And then … Poof!

“We’ve got to play a full game if we want to win in this league,” defensive tackle Kevin Williams said.

The Vikings absorbed a painful reminder of that edict with a gut punch that whitewashed some positive developments Sunday. A defensive meltdown culminated with a touchdown pass by the Chicago Bears with 10 seconds remaining, leaving the Vikings to stew in their locker room after a 31-30 loss at Soldier Field.

The last-second touchdown dropped the Vikings to 0-2 and raised questions about who was to blame for Martellus Bennett’s 16-yard scoring catch. The players appeared confused before the snap with cornerback Chris Cook signaling for help.

Cook declined to speak to reporters after the game and his defensive teammates clearly were upset, though they chose their words carefully. Middle linebacker Erin Henderson admitted he was surprised by the play call on that final play, but he said players still must perform their job.

“Coaches call plays and players have to go out there and make plays,” he said.

Vikings coach Leslie Frazier accepted full responsibility for the final drive, which began at the Chicago 34. Jay Cutler shredded the Vikings defense as the Bears went 66 yards on 10 plays in 3 minutes, 5 seconds.

“Personally, I have to do a better job guiding our team in that last sequence,” Frazier said.

Instead, Soldier Field remained a house of horrors for the Vikings, who have now lost 12 of their past 13 visits. The Vikings also realize they’ve dug themselves a hole before even playing a home game.

Since the playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990, teams that start 0-2 have made the playoffs just 11.6 percent of the time. That list includes the 2008 Vikings, but Sunday was not the time to start analyzing playoff scenarios.

“We just need to get back to accountability within the team from position to position,” linebacker Chad Greenway said. “Just clean up messes. There’s just stuff across the board that needs to be improved.”

The Vikings provided another mixed-bag performance that would look different had they avoided that final-drive collapse. Rookie Cordarrelle Patterson opened the game with a 105-yard kickoff return. The defense forced four turnovers, including a 61-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Brian Robison and a Kevin Williams interception in the end zone.

Quarterback Christian Ponder recovered after throwing a pick-six in the second quarter to give his team a chance to win. One week after turning the ball over four times against Detroit, Ponder’s status seemed tenuous after Tim Jennings intercepted a pass intended for Jerome Simpson and returned it 44 yards for a touchdown.

“That’s a terrible play,” Ponder said.

Ponder responded with a perfectly placed 20-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Rudolph on the ensuing drive. He also made a few key runs in the second half as the Vikings finally established an offensive rhythm and balance. Ponder passed for 227 yards while Adrian Peterson quietly rushed for 100 yards.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Miami 5 FINAL
St. Louis 3
Baltimore - LP: K. Gausman 4 FINAL
Detroit - WP: J. Nathan 6
Minnesota 4 FINAL
Boston 5
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Philadelphia 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Cincinnati 13 FINAL
Cleveland 2
Los Angeles 9 FINAL
Chicago WSox 6
Kansas City 3 FINAL
Seattle 0
Seattle 1 FINAL
Milwaukee 15
San Diego 3 FINAL
Arizona 3
NY Mets 8 FINAL
Washington 3
LA Angels 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 4
Colorado 3 FINAL
Texas 6
Oakland 6 FINAL
San Francisco 4
Indiana 107 FINAL
Milwaukee 111
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Carolina 5
New Jersey 2 FINAL(OT)
Washington 3
Los Angeles 3 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Arizona 4 FINAL(OT)
Buffalo 3
Anaheim 3 FINAL(OT)
Boston 2
Nashville 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
San Jose 6 FINAL
Detroit 4
NY Rangers 5 FINAL
Ottawa 1
Florida 4 FINAL
Toronto 1
Montreal 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Colorado 4 FINAL
Vancouver 1
Wichita State 70 FINAL
Notre Dame 81
North Carolina 72 FINAL
Wisconsin 79
Evansville 89 FINAL
Louisiana 82
West Virginia 39 FINAL
Kentucky 78
Xavier 60 FINAL
Arizona 68
St Johns 55 FINAL
Villanova 63
NC State 79 FINAL
Temple 80
Missouri 55 FINAL
Michigan 65
Oral Roberts 64 FINAL
Louisiana 65
Duquesne 39 FINAL
West Virginia 60
Ole Miss 70 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 82
Northern Colorado 60 FINAL
UCLA 74
St Marys-CA 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 69
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: What should the Vikings do with Adrian Peterson?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close