Jay Cutler’s return inspires Chicago Bears to surprise win over Vikings

Quarterback throws for 252 yards and a touchdown in 20-10 victory, while Sam Bradford sacked five times as Minnesota lose second straight game

Jay Cutlers half-time speech yup, that Jay Cutler helped the Chicago Bears turn a strong start into one surprising victory.

Cutler threw for 252 yards and a touchdown after missing five games with a thumb injury, rookie Jordan Howard ran for a career-high 153 yards and a TD, and the Bears beat the Minnesota Vikings 20-10 on Monday night.

Chicago (2-6) sacked Sam Bradford five times while handing NFC North-leading Minnesota (5-2) its second straight loss.

Cutler was on target in his return from a sprained right thumb, and Howard easily surpassed his previous high of 118 yards. Alshon Jeffery got his first touchdown reception of the season while helping Chicago outgain Minnesota 403 yards to 258.

I think it was more fun just to watch my teammates and see how hard they played and how well they played, Cutler said. One win coming into this one, they had a lot of outside noise.

Cutler has faced criticism for his body language and leadership skills throughout his time in Chicago, but Jeffery said the quarterback told his teammates to keep our pedal to the metal at half-time.

Everyone in there is from different backgrounds and different cultures, societies, Cutler said. Whatever it takes to find the inspiration because motivation usually wears off at some point during the game. Those guys played inspired football.

Minnesotas performance was far from inspired.

Were a good team, guard Brandon Fusco said. Its not us. Its not Viking football. Thats what is frustrating, were such a good team. What were putting out on the field is not us. We have to watch the film and get better from this.

Cutler had not played since he left the second game of the season against Philadelphia. But with his future up in the air after coach John Fox wavered in his commitment to him as the starter, he made a triumphant return.

Cutler completed 20 of 31 passes, including an 11-yard touchdown to Jeffery early in the third that made it 20-3. Whether he quieted fans who thought the Bears were better off with Brian Hoyer is another issue. But that became a moot point when Hoyer broke his left arm last week in a Thursday night loss at Green Bay.

Howard had a 69-yard run, the longest for Chicago in seven years. Zach Miller added 88 yards receiving as the Bears stopped a three-game losing streak.

Bradford, playing behind a porous line, had another rough game after getting sacked six times the previous week against Philadelphia. He was 23 of 37 for 228 yards.

Matt Asiata ran for 42 yards with Jerick McKinnon sidelined by an ankle injury.

With a sparse and quiet crowd looking on, the Bears led 13-3 at halftime. It was almost a bigger advantage, but Chicago settled for field goals on its first two trips inside the 20.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/nov/01/jay-cutler-chicago-bears-vikings-nfl