Vikes Survive Bears OT Scare


On the second try, Gary Anderson got it right.

Anderson made up for a shanked kick in the final play of regulation by hitting a 38-yarder with 9:02 left in overtime Sunday, giving the Minnesota Vikings a 27-24 victory over the Chicago Bears.

The Bears blew their own chance to win when Chris Boniol's 41-yard attempt sailed just wide with 13:14 left in OT, brushing by the right upright. It was Chicago's 12th missed field goal this season.

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Game Summary

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  • "I just wasn't good enough," said Boniol, who is 5-of-9 this season.

    It was a wild finish to what had been a surprisingly even game. After the teams traded touchdowns in the final 6:06 to tie the game at 24, Randy Moss brought the Vikings to the Chicago 2 with receptions of 44 and 42 yards.

    That gave Anderson what should have been a 20-yard chip shot for the game winner, even if he was kicking into the wind.

    "I was down on one knee, ready to go," Moss said.

    But Anderson missed as time expired, sending it so far left it wasn't anywhere close to the posts.

    "It's awful difficult to make a kick when the ball is half laying on its side," said Anderson, who was unhappy with the hold by punter Mitch Berger. "If I make a bad kick, I can deal with that. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case."

    The Vikings (6-4) got the ball first in overtime, but they didn't have it long. Walt Harris, burned on Moss' 42-yard catch a few minutes earlier, stepped in front of Moss and grabbed Jeff George's pass at the Vikings 29.

    The Bears couldn't take advantage, though, gaining only six yards on three running plays before Boniol's miss.

    "I said `We missed ours. Maybe they'll miss theirs,"' Minnesota coach Dennis Green said. "There's no such thing as having the wind behind you and making an easy kick because the wind doesn't blow straight down the middle of the field."

    As if the missed field goal wasn't enough, the Bears (4-6) gave the Vikings another huge gift on the next series. On third-and-10 from the Chicago 47, George was looking for Cris Carter, who had three touchdown receptions in regulation.

    Carter didn't make the catch, but Bears cornerback Terry Cousin was called for his second pass interference. Instead of fourth down, the Vikings got first-and-10 from the Bears 25.

    Cousin was penalized on almost the exact same call in the fourth quarter to keep Minnesota's scoring drive alive.

    "I didn't interfere at all," Cousin said.

    Not true, Carter said.

    "Come on, that was an easy call," he said. "Earlier in the game, I told the referee, `Please watch him. He can't gain an unfair advantage. He's not playing the ball, he's playing me."'

    After two short runs by Robert Smith and an incomplete pass, Anderson lined up for the 38-yarder. He didn't get a lot of power behind the ball, and it looked like it might fall short.

    But it had just enough carry to get over the goal post, and the Minnesota players started celebrating.

    "That's not something I like to see, going into overtime or leaving a game up to a kicker," Moss said. "But we came out with a victory and we're happy to go into the bye week 6-4."

    Carter had nine catches for 141 yards and three touchdowns. Moss had 12 catches for 204 yards, the second-highest yardage for a receiver in Minnesota history. George was 25-of-44 for 374 yards.

    The Vikings are 4-0 since George replaced Randall Cunningham at quarterback.

    The loss spoiled huge days for Jim Miller, making just his second start in a six-year career, and Marty Booker, a rookie who'd never caught a pass before Sunday.

    Miller was 34-of-48 for 422 yards and three touchdowns. He's the first Bears quarterback to throw for 400 yards since Bill Wade threw for 466 yards in a victory over Dallas on Nov. 18, 1962.

    "If I threw for 400 yards, all I know is that it still goes down as a loss," Miller said. "It's a pretty empty feeling, I'll tell you, to play our hearts out like that."

    Booker caught seven passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns, including the 25-yarder that tied the game with 49 seconds left. Hs first NFL catch was a 57-yard touchdown.

    "I'd be lying if I say I wasn't nervous," said Booker, who was inactive for the first five weeks and was Chicago's third quarterback last week. "It's a big jump for me coming from college to my first NFL game. ... I just showed everybody what I can do."

    Notes

  • Minnesota receiver Jake Reed didn't catch a pass.
  • Smith, who had double hernia surgery three weeks ago, rushed for 83 yards on 20 carries.
  • The Bears added to their NFL lead in fumble recoveries, picking up their 14th (Clyde Simmons) and 15th (Jim Flanigan) of the season. The Bears have forced a league-high 21 fumbles this season.

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