PRO FOOTBALL

Bears put NFC rival Vikings in their place

2012-11-25T18:00:00Z 2012-12-04T21:21:45Z Bears put NFC rival Vikings in their placeAl Hamnik al.hamnik@nwi.com, (219) 933-4154 nwitimes.com
November 25, 2012 6:00 pm  • 

CHICAGO | As of Sunday morning, the Bears' remaining six NFC opponents were a respectable 33-27.

When you've scored just 13 points in two previous games, both losses, the word "urgency" is an understatement.

“It's playoffs from this point on,” backup quarterback Jason Campbell said.

Sunday's 28-10 win against the Vikings couldn't have come at a better time.

Jay Cutler, back from the concussion that sidelined him against the 49ers, threw for 188 yards and a touchdown to Matt Spaeth. Michael Bush ran for two 1-yard touchdowns and Robbie Gould booted field goals of 47 and 46 yards.

It was a crazy day of football as the struggling offensive line underwent a makeover with Chris Spencer replacing Chilo Rachal at left guard and Jonathan Scott bumping Gabe Carimi at right tackle.

And when Spencer went down, Carimi found himself at guard for the first time.

"I know I wasn't doing everything right but I got in there and didn't give up a big play," Carimi said. "Everything happens faster (at guard). You have bigger guys. Technique-wise, it's a different animal."

The Bears (8-3) had the ball 17 minutes longer, turned three Minnesota (6-5) turnovers into 14 points, and held red-hot Adrian Peterson to 25 yards the first half.

"We got to the football," Brian Urlacher said. "We played a lot of Cover 2 because he's such a good back. He got a few yards late in the game but they really didn't matter. We had him in check for the most part in the first half."

Peterson finished with 108 yards on 18 carries — his first 100-yard outing against the Bears since Nov. 2008 — but he also gave up the football twice.

It was a costly win for the Bears, who lost Matt Forte (ankle), Charles Tillman (ankle), Lance Louis (knee), Devin Hester (concussion) and Spencer (knee/ankle).

"I've seen worse," Urlacher said. "We've just got to keep going. That's all there is to it."

The first quarter, which the Bears led 10-3, saw Forte fumble on the Bears' first series to set up a Blair Walsh field goal.

Minnesota got into the giving spirit when Peterson was stripped by Nick Roach at the visitors' 34 and Tillman recovered. That set the holiday table for Bush's first TD.

"It's a long season. The healthier we are, the better the team is going to be," Bush said.

The Bears' lead grew to 25-3 in the second period on another short Bush burst and a sneaky two-point conversion run by holder Adam Podlesh, followed by Chris Conte's 35-yard interception return and Cutler's ensuing TD toss to Matt Spaeth.

Brandon Marshall had 12 catches for 92 yards to surpass 1,000 yards for the sixth consecutive season.

"Ask him about the catches he dropped, too. I've been giving him a hard time about that," Cutler said. "He played great. He's a guy I can count on in about every situation and that's why we brought him here."

Marshall added: "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 back at me and said 'You're disgusting.'"

The Vikings were without wide receiver/return threat Percy Harvin (ankle) who ranked second in kickoff returns with a 35.9 average.

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