Bears Lose Late Lead To Vikings

Chicago Bears head coach John Fox yells from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO (AP) — It was right there for Antrel Rolle, and it turned into a big reception for Charles Johnson.

Jeremy Langford dropped a catchable ball on third down.

Sherrick McManis slid to the turf as Stefon Diggs ran off toward the end zone.

When the Chicago Bears needed a big play in the fourth quarter, the Minnesota Vikings stepped up instead.

Jay Cutler threw a touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery and ran for a score, but Teddy Bridgewater led the Vikings to 10 points in the final two minutes of a 23-20 victory on Sunday.

“I wouldn’t say we have to learn how to win. We’ve got to learn how to finish,” Bearslinebacker Pernell McPhee said. “Winning comes up with competing, winning comes with finishing, and we’ve just got to learn how to finish.”

Adrian Peterson had 103 of Minnesota’s 147 yards rushing in Chicago’s first game since it cut defensive lineman Jeremiah Ratliff. A police report released on Friday said Ratliff threatened team staff and said he “felt like killing everybody in the building” the day before he was cut on Oct. 22.

Ratliff was seen having an animated discussion with general manager Ryan Pace in the parking lot outside Halas Hall a week and a half ago, and the team announced his release a day later.

Cutler’s 4-yard touchdown run lifted Chicago to a 20-13 lead with 4:55 left. The quarterback scrambled to his right and slammed into Vikings safety Harrison Smith at the goal line before falling into the end zone for his first rushing TD of the year.

But that was the last score for the Bears (2-5), and Bridgewater was just getting started.

On third-and-4 from the Chicago 40 on the ensuing drive, Diggs grabbed a short pass from Bridgewater and spun away from McManis on his way to his second touchdown reception in as many weeks. The rookie finished with six receptions for 95 yards.

The Bears then went three-and-out to hand the ball back to the Vikings with a minute left. Cutler was a little behind when he tried to pass to an open Langford on third down, but the ball went off the running back’s hands.

“That’s on me,” said Langford, who replaced Matt Forte after he left with a right knee injury. “I got to do a better job of catching the ball first before trying to run.”

It was still a tie game at that point, but the Vikings (5-2) put together a four-play, 48-yard drive to Blair Walsh’s 36-yard field goal as time expired. The big play was a 35-yard reception for Johnson, who made a great adjustment to Bridgewater’s throw with Rolle in the area.

“I don’t know if Rolle saw him,” Bears coach John Fox said. “He was a guy that was outside and kind of bent in, and came under and made a heck of a play on the ball. That’s how you win games.”

It was reminiscent of Chicago’s previous game, a 37-34 overtime loss at Detroit on Oct. 18. The Bears led that one 31-24 in the fourth quarter, only to have the Lions come back for the victory.

“Seems like we get into a lot of these games and are not coming off on the winning side enough,” Cutler said.

Marcus Sherels had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown for Minnesota, which had dropped seven in a row at Soldier Field. Bridgewater was 7 for 10 for 114 yards in the final period.

“We kept swinging the entire game,” said Peterson, who has rushed for 1,499 yards in 13 career games against the Bears. “We fought back, scratched back.”

Cutler was 22 of 33 for 211 yards. He made a perfect throw to Jeffery in the corner of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown in the second quarter, moving him into a tie with Sid Luckman for the top spot on the franchise list with 137 TD passes with the Bears.

Jeffery finished with 10 receptions for 116 yards, and Robbie Gould kicked two field goals, including a 55-yarder.

“We have to find some better ways to execute as players and find ways in the fourth quarter to close out games like this because we aren’t far away,” Cutler said. “We aren’t far away at all.”

NOTES: The Bears also lost WR Eddie Royal to a left knee injury, and CB Bryce Callahan was sidelined by a concussion. Forte was slightly favoring his right leg after the game. A fan asked if he was OK, and he said, “Yeah.” … With C Hroniss Grasu out with a neck injury, the Bears shuffled their offensive line. Matt Slauson moved from left guard to center, Vladimir Ducasse switched from right guard to left guard and Patrick Omameh started at right guard.

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