Bears clinch more than just a win

They may have fumbled a few footballs this season but the  Chicago Bears have secured their grip on the NFC North title after a win over the Minnesota Vikings Monday night.

Snow may have slowed Bears down during the December 12th game,  when they suffered a humiliating loss against the Patriots at Soldier Field, but they proved the wintery weather could not keep them from a spot in the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Despite doubts that the Bears would make it this far, they glided across the icy stadium into a big victory. Jay Cutler fired off three touchdown passes and with his 14th kick return for a touchdown, Devin Hester set an NFL record. Hester, who scored on a 64 yard punt return shortly after halftime which pushed Bears past the Vikings 40-14, credits his teammates for helping him set the record.

A surprise start from an already injured Brett Favre, ended with a premature finish in the first half after Favre was pummeled by Chicago Bears’ Corey Wootton. The quarterback had a good opening drive as he found Percy Harvin for a 23-yard touchdown, and an early lead over the Bears 7-0 at the 11:29 mark in the opening period.

On the Vikings next possesion, Favre’s pass was tipped by Henry Melton, and Julius Peppers intercepted it at the Vikings 14-yard line, and could only advance to the 12 when Robbie Gould would make a 29-yard field goal which brought  the score to 7-3. Bears took the lead when Cutler and Johnny Knox connected for a 67-yard score against the Vikings which made it 10-7.

Early in the second quarter on the Vikings possession Favre was sacked by Wootton, and laid face down, injured on the frozen field. Favre who was out for the rest of the game is believed to have suffered a concussion after his head slammed against  the rock hard turf at the TCF Bank Stadium.

Rookie Quarterback Joe Webb replaced Favre to finish out the first half, and Bears lead 17-7 at halftime.

In the second half Gould pulled the lead to 20-7 with a 23-yard field goal. It was in the third period when Hester made his record setting 64-yard punt return for a touchdown, which gave the Bears 27-7 lead.

With 9:47 left in the third period, Webb ran 13-yards for the touchdown, making the score 27-14.

Late in the third, Rashied Davis caught Cutler’s third TD pass of the game, which brought the  Bears lead to 34-14. Gould pulled out another field goal in third, which made it 37-14 and in the fourth another field goal, making the final score 40-14.

Although the Bears have clinched the NFC title, they still have two games left to play, the Jets on Sunday at Soldier Field and at Green Bay for the regular season closer. What’s at stake? Home-field advantage in the post season.

This was the first outdoor home game for the Vikings in 29 years, and was a result of a collapsed roof at the Superdome. Both teams expressed their concerns about playing on the outdoor field at the University of Minnesota, which was only cleared of ice and snow just a week before the game. Teams had heightened worries that players could suffer concussions amongst other injuries playing on the frozen turf. Besides Favre, Madieu Williams for the Vikings also left the game with a concussion.