Bears rough up Brad­ford again in win over the Vikings

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By An­drew Selig­man

CHICAGO >> Jay 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 Chicago Bears stunned the Min­nesota Vikings 20-10 on Mon­day night.

The Bears (2-6) sacked Sam Brad­ford five times while hand­ing the NFC North-lead­ing Vikings (5-2) their sec­ond straight loss.

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

Cut­ler had not played since he ex­ited against Philadel­phia in the sec­ond game of the sea­son. 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 203. 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 three­game 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.

Howard, a fifth-round draft pick, broke off a 69yard run to the 13 on Chicago’s first pos­ses­sion. It was the long­est rush­ing play for the Bears since Kahlil Bell’s 72-yarder against Philadel­phia on Nov. 22, 2009. But in­stead of a touch­down, the Bears got a field goal from Con­nor Barth.

They got an­other field goal early in the sec­ond af­ter Xavier Rhodes broke up a pass to Jef­fery in the end zone on third down at the 10.

Chicago fi­nally broke through mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter when Howard scored on a 2-yard run to make it 13-0.

The Vikings drove to the Bears’ 2 in the fi­nal minute of the half. But Akiem Hicks hit Brad­ford for a 10-yard sack on third down, lead­ing to a 30-yard field goal by Blair Walsh.

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