Back after being knocked out of the Texans game on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Tim Dobbins, he got off to a scorching start and completed 23 of 31 passes with an interception to go with his TD.
“I felt good,” Cutler said. “It was a matter of going through the motions, talking to the doctors. I had a good week of practice, a shorter week with the Monday game and Thanksgiving.”
Brandon Marshall caught 12 passes for 92 yards and became the first Bears receiver since Marty Booker in 2002 to go over 1,000 yards. He now has 1,017 yards this season, his sixth straight with 1,000 or more.
“In the third quarter, I leaned over to Jay and said, ‘That catch puts me at 1,000 yards for six seasons in a row.’ And he looked at me and said, ‘You’re disgusting,’” Marshall, the Bears‘ big offseason acquisition, said, laughing.
He added he knew he was closing in because followers on Twitter had mentioned it.
On defense, Henry Melton set the tone by sacking Christian Ponder on the first play from scrimmage. Nick Roach set up the first touchdown by knocking the ball out of Peterson’s hands. Chris Conte set another TD with a 35-yard interception return, and Julius Peppers blocked a field goal.
The league’s leading rusher, Peterson tied Robert Smith’s club record with a 100-yard performance for the fifth straight game even though he managed just 25 in the first half. He also lost two fumbles and had to catch a cab to the stadium and arrived about 90 minutes before kickoff, according to reports.
Ponder wasn’t much help, going 22 of 43 with 159 yards and a touchdown along with an interception. His favorite target, Percy Harvin, sat out his second straight game with a sprained left ankle, and the Vikings lost for the third time in four games.
“We knew what we were getting into,” Peterson said. “They wanted to make a statement. I thought it was more so what we did, giving the ball away, not making routine plays. Can’t wait to see them again.”
He won’t have to wait long, with the Bears visiting Minnesota on Dec. 9.
Forte fumbled on Chicago’s first play from scrimmage, leading to a 40-yard field goal by Blair Walsh — all the scoring the Vikings did in the half.
The Bears broke it open late in the second half.
Bush scored from the 1 and holder Adam Podlesh ran in for a 2-point conversion that made it 18-3.
Ponder got picked off by Conte and he returned it 35 yards to the Minnesota 13. That led to a scoring strike fromCutler to a lunging Matt Spaeth on the next play.