JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Sports Writer
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Greg Jennings fought a stomach flu all game and was already halfway up the tunnel with what he thought was a victory under his belt when the Minnesota Vikings had to holler at him to get back on the field.
Blair Walsh’s 39-yard field goal was wiped away by a penalty, rendering the fireworks and the celebration premature.
“I didn’t even see the flag; I was so ready to get in the locker room,” Jennings said. “Then I heard my name being called and having to go back out on the field.”
Jennings then watched Walsh miss a 57-yard field goal, Chicago kicker Robbie Gould miss a 47-yarder and Adrian Peterson carry the Vikings back into field goal range in a wild overtime that ended with Walsh’s 30-yard boot that stunned the Bears 23-20 Sunday.
Peterson shrugged off a gimpy groin to finish with 211 yards on 35 carries and the Vikings (3-8-1) narrowly avoided their second straight tie when Walsh’s last kick sailed through the uprights for the win with 1:43 left to play in the extra quarter.
When the game was finally over, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf ran onto the field, wildly hugging players, soaking in a rare bit of positivity in what has been a miserable season.
“You have got to believe, you can’t tuck your tail and run, you can’t give up no matter how it looks you have to continue to fight,” said Peterson, whose Vikings rallied from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to get the win. “That’s one thing that we have done all year. Our record doesn’t show it, but you guys have heard me say it time and time again; I haven’t seen guys quit. When I look in their eyes there is fight there.”
Alshon Jeffery had 12 catches for 249 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears (6-6). If they aren’t able to catch Detroit (7-5) in the NFC North, they may look back to this game as the one that really cost them.
Jeffery had touchdowns of 80 and 46 yards in the third quarter to put the Bears up 20-10, but the banged-up defense couldn’t find an answer for a determined Peterson, who rushed for 51 yards in overtime alone.
“We’ve got to put up a win in the win column. … The standings don’t matter if you don’t win football games,” said Bears quarterback Josh McCown, who threw for 355 yards and two touchdowns.
Here are five things that stood out from the wild game:
CASSEL TO THE RESCUE: Vikings starter Christian Ponder was struggling mightily until he was knocked out in the second quarter with a concussion. Matt Cassel stepped in and ignited the offense, throwing for 243 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the second half.
“For me now that I’ve been doing it for a little while, it’s about always being accountable to your teammates throughout the course of the week,” Cassel said.
PETERSON’S MILESTONE: In racking up his fifth career 200-yard game, Peterson also surpassed 10,000 career yards in just 101 games. Only Jim Brown and Eric Dickerson have reached the plateau faster.
“Jim Brown, Eric Dickerson are the guys that I looked up to, the guys that motivated me to be better than them and I still have a long way to go,” he said.
ROOKIE MISTAKE: Bears first-year coach Marc Trestman made a head-scratching decision in overtime.
With the Bears driving into Minnesota territory, Trestman elected to try a 47-yard field goal on second down, rather than spend another play or two trying to get closer to the end zone. Gould missed the kick, and the Vikings responded with the game-winning drive.
“We were definitely in range, and I didn’t want to at that point in time risk a possible penalty that would set us back, similar to what happened on the other side, or a fumble of some kind,” Trestman said.
JEFFERY’S EMERGENCE: Brandon Marshall was the Bears receiver who grabbed all the headlines as Jay Cutler’s favorite target. But Marshall said earlier this year Jeffery has all the tools to be one of the greats, and Jeffery is proving his mentor right.
Jeffery is the only player in the league to top 200 yards receiving in a game twice this season and so frustrated the Vikings that cornerback Chris Cook was ejected for bumping an official after giving up his second touchdown in the third quarter.
“The sky is the limit,” Jeffery said. “I strive to be my best. I would like to go to the Super Bowl and then there are records to break after that.”
PATTERSON’S IMPRESSION: The crazy game almost got crazier at the end of regulation. Gould tried a 66-yard field goal as time expired and it landed in return man Cordarrelle Patterson’s hands. After Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed field goal to beat Alabama on Saturday, Patterson tried to do it against the Bears, but was tackled at Minnesota’s 22.
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