Second quarter: Bears 17, Vikings 7

Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes against the Vikings in the first half at TCF Bank Stadium. AP Photo/Hannah Foslien

MINNEAPOLIS -- Thirty minutes stands between the Chicago Bears and their first NFC North crown since 2006.

After a shaky start, the Bears dominated the second quarter and lead the Minnesota Vikings 17-7 at halftime.

All the excitement swirling around Brett Favre's surprise return as the Vikings' starting quarterback proved to be short-lived, as he got knocked out of the game with a head injury early in the second quarter. Favre dropped back to pass on a third-and-4 play from the Bears' 48-yard line, only to be sacked and slammed to the turf by rookie defensive end Corey Wootton.

Favre walked off the field under his own power, but was replaced by rookie quarterback Joe Webb on the Vikings' ensuing series.

Meanwhile, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler continues to fluctuate between brilliant and reckless.

Cutler was red hot for much of the second quarter, and hit Devin Hester on a 15-yard touchdown pass to extend the Bears' lead to 10 points.

But after a Cutler-to-Devin Aromashodu touchdown completion was wiped out because of off-setting penalties, the Bears quarterback heaved a badly underthrown ball and was picked off by Asher Allen on the ensuing play.

Cutler finished the first half 9 of 15 for 142 yards with two touchdowns and that one costly interception.