Minnesota at Chicago

Cutler throws four TDs, ends Vikings' shot at NFC's top seed in OT

CBSSports.com wire reports

CHICAGO -- Brett Favre cranked up and made one more impossible throw, zinging a touchdown pass in the fading seconds. Too bad for the Minnesota Vikings, that merely put them into overtime.

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Once again, they came up short. And the way Favre sees it, they're headed to an early playoff exit.

The Vikings lost again Monday night, beaten by the Chicago Bears 36-30 when Jay Cutler tossed a 39-yard strike to Devin Aromashodu. Minnesota fell for the third time in four games, and the defeat gave the New Orleans Saints homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

"I know we're fortunate to be in the playoffs but we have to play better than we did the last few weeks or we'll be home fairly quickly," Favre said. "I'm just being honest as I can be."

Playing for the first time since the dustup between the star quarterback and coach Brad Childress became public, the Vikings' late rally wasn't enough.

After Favre's stunning, fourth-down pass to Sidney Rice with 16 seconds left in regulation, Cutler threw the game-winner with just more than nine minutes left in overtime to prevent the Vikings (11-4) from locking up a first-round playoff bye.

Nick Roach recovered a fumble by Adrian Peterson following a catch, setting up Cutler's fourth touchdown pass of the game.

Favre's pass to a leaping Rice capped a 68-yard touchdown drive and tied the game at 30.

Chicago's Robbie Gould, who kicked three field goals in the first half, had a chance to win it on the first possession of the overtime but missed a 45-yard field goal wide right.

The Bears (6-9) took advantage a few minutes later, though, when Hunter Hillenmeyer knocked the ball away from Peterson and Roach recovered. Cutler found an open Aromashodu, who had beaten Antoine Winfield, and the Bears won for just the third time in 11 games.

"It's good for the team, it's good for the morale of going out there and putting up points and answering the bell, especially in the fourth quarter and overtime when you have to do it," Cutler said.

Favre has never led a team to a win after trailing by 17 or more points, falling to 0-43 in such situations. The Bears were up 23-6 in the third quarter and the Vikings were able to tie it twice.

Minnesota can lock up a first-round bye with a win next week and loss or tie by Philadelphia or with a tie and an Eagles loss. But after running away with the NFC North, the Vikings didn't expect to be in this situation.

They started 10-1 behind a resurgent Favre, but have tailed off since. Favre had a good game after three mediocre performances, completing 26 of 40 passes for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Peterson ran for 94 yards and two scores, but the Vikings simply couldn't pull this one out.

"At first I didn't think we would be having this conversation that we would have to be talking about turning it around, but we are," Favre said. "We didn't respond tonight."

He'll get no argument from teammate Jared Allen: "If I could cuss right now, I would. ... I mean, we're playing bad right now. We've got to play better."

Cutler looked more like the player the Bears thought they were getting in a trade with Denver than the one who's been racking up interceptions at an alarming rate. He was 20 of 35 for 273 yards, although he did throw his league-leading 26th interception.

"It's fun," Cutler said of outdueling Favre. "He got me in Denver. I got him when he was in New York. ... It was a good game."

Aromashodu had seven catches for 150 yards, and Danieal Manning set up two touchdowns with kickoff returns of 57 and 59 yards.

The Bears led 16-0 at halftime and 23-6 midway through the third before Minnesota rallied. The Vikings tied it at 23 on Peterson's 1-yard run with 5:49 left, then Manning ran the kickoff back 59 yards before tripping at the 21. Two plays later, Cutler hit Earl Bennett with a 20-yard touchdown to give the Bears a 30-23 lead with 4:55 remaining, and the Bears appeared to be in good shape.

Favre and Rice had other ideas, though, tying it with that spectacular catch at the end of regulation. Hillenmeyer finally set up the winning touchdown when he knocked the ball away from Peterson on a short flare, and Cutler audibled out of a run before hitting Aromashodu.

This looked like a primetime-worthy matchup when the schedule came out, and it lived up to that billing even though the script didn't play out as expected.

Bears coach Lovie Smith is feeling the heat, and general manager Jerry Angelo added a few logs before last week's loss at Baltimore, when he passed on offering a vote of confidence while saying a roster overhaul wasn't necessary.

Then again, after three straight misses, it's not clear if Angelo is on solid footing.

"I think the game made a statement about our football team and where we are and what we can be in the future, no more than that," Smith said. "As a football coach your job is at stake every day you go to work. ... It's like that with everyone. I realize where I am and where we are. It's been a disappointing season and I'm the head football coach."

Suddenly, the Vikings are looking shaky, too.

That sideline confrontation during last week's loss to Carolina sparked reports that Favre and Childress had clashed over play-calling, although they insisted their relationship was fine.

"At times today in the second half you saw guys offensively make plays," Favre said. "That has to happen for four quarters. I hope we can turn it around. I hope we do. I'm going to sit here and be positive as I should be, but we have some things we have to get better at."


  • Chicago CB Charles Tillman suffered a rib injury making a tackle in the fourth quarter and had to be wheeled off the field on a stretcher.
  • Bears WR Johnny Knox injured an ankle returning a kickoff and was taken off the field on a cart in the third.
  • Vikings NT Pat Williams was inactive because of an elbow injury and Jimmy Kennedy started in his place.
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Devin Aromashodu, who has 150 receiving yards, hauls in the winning touchdown in overtime.
Devin Aromashodu, who has 150 receiving yards, hauls in the winning touchdown in overtime. (Getty Images)


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Mon. Dec. 28Final OT
Pass: B. Favre (26-40, 321) J. Cutler (20-35, 273)
Rush: A. Peterson (24-94) M. Forte (21-74)
Rec: B. Berrian (3-58) D. Aromashodu (7-150)
Scoring Summary
FGRobbie Gould 22 Yd, 7:24. Drive: 9 plays, 56 yards in 4:35.
FGRobbie Gould 42 Yd, 13:23. Drive: 9 plays, 36 yards in 3:54.
TDGreg Olsen, 7 Yd pass from Jay Cutler (Robbie Gould kick is good), 5:56. Drive: 7 plays, 66 yards in 3:12.
FGRobbie Gould 41 Yd, 0:00. Drive: 8 plays, 59 yards in 1:48.
TDAdrian Peterson, 1 Yd run (Ryan Longwell kick Failed), 8:17. Drive: 4 plays, 80 yards in 1:47.
TDDesmond Clark, 2 Yd pass from Jay Cutler (Robbie Gould kick is good), 6:30. Drive: 4 plays, 34 yards in 1:47.
TDVisanthe Shiancoe, 6 Yd pass from Brett Favre (Ryan Longwell kick is good), 1:18. Drive: 10 plays, 73 yards in 5:12.
FGRyan Longwell 41 Yd, 12:10. Drive: 7 plays, 30 yards in 2:53.
TDAdrian Peterson, 1 Yd run (Ryan Longwell kick is good), 5:49. Drive: 8 plays, 79 yards in 4:06.
TDEarl Bennett, 20 Yd pass from Jay Cutler (Robbie Gould kick is good), 4:55. Drive: 2 plays, 21 yards in 0:54.
TDSidney Rice, 6 Yd pass from Brett Favre (Ryan Longwell kick is good), 0:16. Drive: 14 plays, 68 yards in 4:39.
TDDevin Aromashodu, 39 Yd pass from Jay Cutler , 9:15. Drive: 1 play, 39 yards in 0:06.
Players of the Game

J. Cutler
Att 35
Comp 20
Yds 273
TD 4

A. Peterson
Rush 24
Yds 94
Avg 3.9
TD 2
B. Favre26/4032120
A. Peterson2494210
C. Taylor829011
P. Harvin1000
B. Berrian358038
S. Rice656112
A. Peterson343016
P. Harvin440019
V. Shiancoe440118
G. Lewis127027
C. Taylor226020
J. Kleinsasser222021
J. Dugan1909
J. Cutler20/3527341
M. Forte217408
K. Bell42107
J. Cutler31008
D. Aromashodu7150139
G. Olsen347124
D. Clark539126
E. Bennett335120
R. Davis1909
M. Forte1-70-7
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
DAL 17 Final
NYJ 29 Final
IND 15
DET 6 Final
SF 20
STL 10 Final
ARI 31
BAL 20 Final
PIT 23
DEN 27 Final
PHI 30
CAR 41 Final
TB 20 Final
NO 17
JAC 7 Final
NE 35
HOU 27 Final
MIA 20
SEA 10 Final
GB 48
OAK 9 Final
CLE 23
KC 10 Final
CIN 17
BUF 3 Final
ATL 31
SD 42 Final
TEN 17