Fortunately for the Bears style points don't count in the NFL. After an ugly 59 minutes and 39 seconds of play Jay Cutler hit Martellus Bennett for a 16 yard touchdown pass to give the Bears the final lead and the victory 31-30.
Jay Cutler finished the game with 28 Completions in 39 Attempts for 290 Yards, 3 Touchdowns and 2 Interceptions for a 97.2 Passer Rating. Matt Forte carried a major part of the load for the Bears' offense, rushing for 90 Yards in 19 Attempts for a 4.7 Yards per Carry average. He also caught 11 passes for 71 yards.
For the Vikings, Christian Ponder recovered from a terrible first half to finish with 16 Completions in 30 Attempts for 227 Yards, 1 Touchdown and 1 Interception for a 75.3 Passer Rating. Adrian Peterson made it to 100 Rushing Yards but did it on 26, hard-fought carries for a 3.8 Yards per Attempt average.
With the preliminaries over it's time to do the Haka Pacific Island Tribal War Dance with Stephen Paea and look at the five things we learned this week (and thank you Alasdair Lynch aka @alibud69, for tweeting that info to me).
Let any NFL team stay close in a game and it can come back to beat you.
Corderelle Patterson took the opening kickoff for 105 yards to open the scoring for the Vikings; only the second time in franchise history that the Bears have surrendered a touchdown to open a game (the previous was 11/3/1957, 98 yards by Jon Arnett for the Los Angeles Rams).
The Bears struck back with a Devin Hester 76 yard kickoff return and a 1 Yard touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett. Later in the first quarter Cutler followed with a 34 yard strike to Brandon Marshall to give the Bears a 14-7lead and put them in control of the game, at least at that time.
A Cutler fumble caused by a Jared Allen sack was returned 61 yards by Brian Robison for the touchdown and on the next series at the Vikings' 1 yard line, Cutler's pass intended for Steve Maneri was intercepted to end that opportunity. The Bears were fortunate to escape the first half with a 24-21 lead in a game they should have been dominating by at least two touchdowns.
The Vikings best offense was anything but their offense in the first half.
The Vikings have been a part of the Black and Blue Division for so long that they tore a page out of the Bears' old playbook to keep themselves in the game. With 14 points contributed from their special teams and defense they were able to keep things close until Christian Ponder got on track near the end of the first half.
In the second half the Vikings offense began moving the ball consistently to keep the Bears' defense on their heels. Ponder led three scoring drives that took 15:47 off the clock and covered 203 total yards. That the Bears' defense was able to hold them to 3 field goals as a result of those drives is the only reason the team was within striking distance at the end.
For the second straight week the Bears lack of pass rush put them in the hole.
Two weeks into the season and the Bears have 2 sacks. Not just one player with two sacks, we're talking about the future Hall of Fame defensive end, the Franchise defensive tackle, the Favre Killer and the 2012 first round draft choice. (and is there anything worse than having your name spelled wrong on your jersey...McCellin?!)
The Bears failed to pressure Andy Dalton in Week 1 and almost paid for that with a loss and nearly did it again this week. They were able to keep Adrian Peterson bottled up for a majority of the game, great work by Paea for helping make that happen, but Ponder stayed clean in the pocket most of the game, a big reason why he was able to regain his composure and start moving the offense.
The lack of pass rush hasn't cost the Bears a game yet but will catch up with them. The offense can't keep bailing out the defense all season. (Did I just say that?!)
Leslie Frazier is not afraid to make the gutsy call.
This shouldn't be a surprise though. He was a cornerback for the Bears in the early 1980's through their 1985 Super Bowl season. Gutsy is in his DNA.
On the Vikings' first possession of the third quarter they faced a fourth and 1 from their own 43 yard line. Even though they were only down by a field goal, 24-21, at the time he rolled the dice and won when Ponder scrambled for 2 yards and a first down.
That Adrian Peterson fumbled the ball away to the Bears on the very next play is a moot point. There isn't another head coach in the league who would have made that call at that point in the game.
Devin Hester may not have the breakaway speed that he used to but he still has the moves.
Hester admitted after the game that the Patterson touchdown motivated him to put on a show of his own. He took the answering kickoff 76 yards to set the Bears offense up with the short field then bested it with an 80 yard return in the second quarter.
Hester still has the exceptional field vision and moves that made him one of the greatest kickoff/punt returners of all time but at least one of those returns, if not both, would have gone into the end zone a couple of years ago.
Hester's 30 year old legs no longer have the burst that used to break him through all pursuit untouched once he was clear of the opening wall of tacklers. While he's still fast, it's possible to get the angle now and stop him short of the end zone.
Hester ran back 5 kickoffs for 249 yards against the Vikings so he's still a field position weapon on the team but don't be surprised if he doesn't bring people to their feet anymore with his amazing touchdown runs.
The Bears are now 2-0 and all alone at the top of the NFC North after their second straight fourth quarter comeback of the season. Next week they hit the road and prime time, both for the first time this season, with a Sunday Night game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The 0-2 Vikings will try to right the ship next Sunday at home against the Cleveland Browns.