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Bears Get It Done at End

September 25, 2006|From the Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — For more than 3 1/2 quarters, Minnesota was beating Chicago at its own defensive game. But by the end, the Bears had pulled a switcheroo on the Vikings.

After a rough afternoon against a suddenly stingy Minnesota defense, Rex Grossman threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Rashied Davis right after the two-minute warning to rally the Bears to a 19-16 win Sunday. It was the same kind of road victory the Vikings were getting used to pulling off.

"We faced some adversity, but I think it says a lot about our offense and defense," Grossman said, "because this is a tough place to play."

Antoine Winfield returned one of Grossman's two interceptions for a fourth-quarter touchdown, and Ryan Longwell's third field goal with 7 minutes 27 seconds remaining gave Minnesota a 16-12 lead. But Chester Taylor fumbled with 3 1/2 minutes left and Adewale Ogunleye recovered at the Vikings 37, setting up Grossman's first career fourth-quarter scoring pass.

"The past few weeks, we've been grinding down teams in the fourth quarter. It just worked the other way this time," said Taylor, referring to 19-16 and 16-13 wins by Minnesota over Washington and Carolina.

The Bears, undefeated, are still in charge of the NFC North.

This was the first Metrodome victory since 2001 for Chicago, which committed 10 penalties for 82 yards and looked beatable until the end. Robbie Gould kept the Bears in it by kicking four field goals.

The Vikings (2-1) got the ball back with 1:45 left, but failed to convert a first down. Brad Johnson's up-the-sideline pass on fourth and two at the Minnesota 46, with Ogunleye in his face, was thrown well past Troy Williamson.

Grossman completed 23 of 41 passes for 278 yards and the late touchdown. Muhsin Muhammad had nine catches for 118 yards.

After sitting out big chunks of the last two seasons because of injuries, Grossman has thrown for 829 yards and helped guide the Bears to their first 3-0 start since 1991.

"We really believe in him," center Olin Kreutz said. "We really think he's that good."

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