McCown relives big day against Vikings

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Call him a career backup, but one claim Bears quarterback Josh McCown can make is he’s never lost to the Minnesota Vikings as a starter.

On Sunday, McCown hopes to continue his run of success against Minnesota that started back in 2003 when, as a fill-in starter at quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals, he knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs with a last-second touchdown pass. The loss cost Minnesota the NFC North title. That Vikings squad and the 1978 Washington Redskins are the only teams to start a season 6-0 and not advance to the postseason.

“It’s crazy, it was 10 years ago,” McCown recalled. “It was just a cool day, a special day. I got to see [former Cardinals coach] Dave McGinnis this [past] weekend in St. Louis. I was just thinking about that day, and that was his last game there in Arizona, last game as a head coach. So it was cool from that standpoint to be able to send him out like that. It was just something special to be a part of. It didn't mean necessarily anything for us other than just we were playing and competing and winning a game. I think it spoke to the character and leadership of Dave and those coaches and the guys on that team, that we were two or three wins or whatever we had that season, that we were fighting and playing a team that all they had to do was beat us to get in the playoffs. I look back and I'm proud of that, proud of being part of something like that, that guys continued fighting.”

In two starts against the Vikings -- in 2003 and 2011 -- McCown has completed at least 60 percent of his passes for three touchdowns and two interceptions. Filling in for an ineffective Caleb Hanie in 2011, McCown led the Bears to a 17-13 win on the road to close the season.

McCown’s last-second TD pass against the Vikings in 2003 came on fourth-and-25, after the quarterback had been sacked on back-to-back snaps.

“I remember getting sacked the play before. I remember Emmitt Smith having the presence of mind to yell, ‘Josh, get up! Get up! We gotta go! We gotta go!’ Then getting the play called and knowing this is probably going to be the last play, so we need to buy time and let everyone get down to the end zone,” McCown said. “As a football fan, it’s an exciting time to get to the playoffs, and it would be heartbreaking (for the Vikings). But it was fun for us to be a part of. It was tough for them because they were going to go to the playoffs.”