The Bears kept Minnesota out of the end zone despite allowing 316 total yards. Their crowning achievement was forcing Minnesota to accept a Gary Anderson 21-yard field goal with 3:17 to play after Minnesota had first-and-goal at the 1. The stand made possible the Bears' first season sweep of Minnesota in six years.
After the goal-line stand and field goal, the Bears effectively killed the clock to 16 seconds without taking a knee as they had done the previous week against Tampa in nearly blowing a 27-24 lead.
``Taking a knee wasn't even discussed,'' laughed quarterback Jim Miller. James Allen, who rushed for 107 yards on 27 carries, broke off runs of 9 and 13 yards after being bottled up much of the second half. The runs let the Bears run the clock down to 20 seconds and Minnesota wound up needing to go 89 yards for the tying points. They got to the Bears' 45 as time expired.
Playing without injured running back Anthony Thomas did not prevent the Bears from running effectively early as Allen and reserve Leon Johnson combined for 117 in the first half to help build a 10-0 lead.
``You've just got to keep the torch burning and whoever carries it carries it,'' Allen said. Johnson, a return man the Bears signed as a free agent Oct. 9, got two important carries. On his first rushing attempt as a Bear, Johnson burst 34 yards off guard to the Vikings' 1 in the second quarter, then carried in for the touchdown two plays later.
``Leon had a great day, our fullback had a great day, our offensive line had a great day,'' Allen said.
Paul Edinger's field goals of 30 yards in the second quarter and 43 yards in the third quarter helped put the Bears up 13-3 and they left it to a defense that held the Vikings almost six full quarters without a touchdown to preserve the win.
Defensive coordinator Greg Blache had called the Bears' first win over the Vikings his group's best game of the year. He was thinking revision after Daunte Culpepper was limited to 209 yards passing on 26-of-46 and Rosevelt Colvin picked off a deflected first-quarter pass to end a scoring threat.
``Right now my thinking is we played better (than last time),'' Blache said. ``To come into Minnesota and hold them without a touchdown ... I don't know the last time that was done.
``When you play this team it's like defusing a bomb. You think it's going to go off any time.'' Minnesota's offense was a dud, settling for Anderson's 44-yard field goal in the first half and the 20-yard field goal with 3:17 left after Culpepper fumbled a third-and-goal snap at the 1.
It was the closest the Vikings came to a touchdown on a day when their most consistent play was drawing a penalty. They had 11 penalties for 75 yards, and the most critical one was in the third quarter when Culpepper broke a fourth-and-one run for 8 yards to the Bears' 38. Wideout Randy Moss was flagged for holding and the play came back, with Minnesota eventually punting. Moss had four catches for only 25 yards. Cris Carter had five catches for only 45 yards. ``We've had some success against these guys. It just comes down to limiting their big plays,'' strong safety Tony Parrish said. ``There were a lot of gator arms going on out there.''
The Bears' special teams contributed as well, with Leon Johnson throwing a cross-field lateral — a re-enactment of Tennessee's famed Music City Miracle — to Jerry Azumah on an 18-yard punt return to set up Edinger's first field goal. Punter Brad Maynard produced a huge 55-yard punt from his end zone to push Minnesota back to its 36 in the fourth quarter, then 41 yards to the Vikings' 11 with 16 seconds to play.
``We won this game with offense, defense and special teams,'' Jauron said.