EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- We've spent the better part of the past 24 hours talking about the Minnesota Vikings' defense of the Chicago Bears' touchdown with 10 seconds left in Sunday's game, and we'll move on from there after we hear from the defender who was the closest to the play: cornerback Chris Cook.
Cook declined to talk to reporters after the game on Sunday, saying "I'm in a bad place right now" after Martellus Bennett's 16-yard touchdown. Cook apologized for that on Monday, saying he was emotional after the game. Though linebacker Erin Henderson said the called defense was a surprise to the Vikings and coach Leslie Frazier suggested he should have altered the call, Cook said he should still have been able to keep Bennett from catching the touchdown pass.
"It was a play that I could have made, should have made," Cook said. "I've made it before. It hurt more being as it was in the end of the game and we were in position to win it on defense."
Cook was motioning for a defender to slide over to his side of the field before the play, when both Bennett and wide receiver Earl Bennett were on his side of the field. He initially went with Earl Bennett, opening his hips and allowing Martellus Bennett to get behind him and catch Jay Cutler's back-shoulder throw for a touchdown.
Safety Harrison Smith, who didn't talk to reporters on Monday, said after the game that he thought he put Cook "in a bad spot" on the play, and took the blame himself. The Vikings also had safety Jamarca Sanford showing a blitz before the play, and he wasn't able to get deep enough after the snap to cover part of the end zone. But even after Cook initially went with Earl Bennett, it still took a precise throw from Cutler to connect for the touchdown.
Both Bears coach Marc Trestman and Frazier said they had run the respective offense and defense they used on that play earlier in the game. The only change was the "twist release" the Bears ran, sliding Martellus Bennett behind Earl Bennett and connecting once Cook turned his hips.
"A few guys were off," Cook said. "And when guys are off, other guys try to cover it to help them out, and things happen. It's football, man. It's a fast game."