The Bears took control of the NFC North after beating the Minnesota Vikings 27-13 at Soldier Field Sunday. Devin Hester broke out for his best game of the year, and the Bears D smothered Minnesota for the win.
Hester had three big kick returns of 68, 32 and 42 yards and helped the Bears win the field position game in a big way. He also contributed as a receiver.
Near the end of the first half, the Bears were down by three Hester ran a perfect route to catch a Cutler pass, then changed direction to get into the end zone for a 19-yard score, that put the Bears ahead.
Jay Cutler likewise had a good day. He was sacked just once, and threw for 237 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn't perfect, throwing two interceptions, including one in the end zone. But he did enough to move the ball consistently and spread it around to his receivers.
In fact, nine different Bears made catches against the Vikings. Johnny Knox had five catches for 90 yards. Greg Olsen had three catches, one for a touchdown.
The Bears defense had a field day against the Vikings. They held Adrian Peterson, one of the NFL's best running backs, to a scant 51 yards. Urlacher and Peppers blanketed Peterson and never gave him much room to breathe. Brett Favre was forced into several mistakes. He threw three interceptions, including one late in the game that put a dagger in the heart of the Vikings comeback hopes. He also fumbled late in the first half.
The Vikings were hampered by injuries, as well. Their receiving corps was particularly hard hit. Percy Harvin hurt his ankle on a kickoff return, and Bernard Berrian did not play because of a groin injury. Sidney Rice also did not play because of injury.
The biggest difference for the Bears this week was their third-down conversion rate. They did not show any of the problems that they had earlier this season, converting on 11 third downs on 20 chances. The Vikings did not have the same abilities, only converting once. The Bears also ruled the playing clock, holding onto the ball for 34:39 of the game.
The Bears have a short rest before facing the Dolphins on Thursday night, but they will be heading into Miami with the lead in the NFC North.