CHICAGO -- Robert Smith got the Minnesota Vikings rolling
with a 72-yard touchdown run that featured power, speed and some
good blocks from his buddies Randy Moss and Cris Carter.
It seemed only fitting that minutes later Smith would roll into
the record books as Minnesota's career rushing leader.
"It means a great deal, but I think it will mean a lot more to
me when I'm done. It's something to brag to my kids about down the
road," Smith said after rushing for 170 yards on 23 carries as the
Vikings (6-0) beat the Chicago Bears 28-16 Sunday night to stay
"Anytime you get a long touchdown like that, it hurts a team,"
"It's kind of a shocking play. It's a dagger to the defense.
Every time I break one of those, the wideouts are right there with
me, springing me for a touchdown."
Smith passed Chuck Foreman (5,879) to become the Vikings'
rushing leader. He needed 96 yards entering the game.
"When people think of a Minnesota Vikings running back, they
are going to think of Chuck Foreman. That's not going to change any
time soon, and I don't have a problem with that," Smith said.
The Vikings struck for two touchdowns in a three-minute span
late in the second quarter, overcoming a 9-0 deficit on Smith's run
and Daunte Culpepper's 24-yard scoring pass to Carter -- Carter's
first touchdown of the season.
Six weeks ago in a 30-27 victory over the Bears (1-6) in the
season opener, the 6-foot-4, 250-pound Culpepper ran for three
Sunday night, he used his arm more than his legs, completing
15 of 26 passes for 198 yards. He also threw a 24-yard scoring pass
to Matthew Hatchette in the third quarter and a 7-yarder to Moss
with just less than 10 minutes to play.
Carter caught seven passes for 111 yards against the team he's
picked on throughout his career. Entering the game, Carter had 132
receptions against the Bears, his most against any NFL team.
Finally, the man who entered the season with 114 touchdown receptions,
finally got one this year.
"We wanted to get Cris in the end zone because I think he was a
little hungry for that," Culpepper said.
The Bears got a late break when Minnesota's Troy Walters fumbled
a punt and Chicago's Ray McElroy recovered at the 32 with 7:41
But an offensive pass interference call stalled the Bears' drive
before Cade McNown threw incomplete on third and fourth downs.
"It's a tough one to swallow," said McNown, who was 19-for-33
for 210 yards and was sacked twice.
"I felt we had the team that would beat the Vikings and we
didn't. And it's frustrating. Everybody is moving forward, we're
not putting our heads in the sand."
On his second-quarter touchdown run, Smith shook off a tackle at
the line and then broke to the outside, where he got blocks from
Carter and Moss to complete the 72-yard run, closing the Vikings to
"The big plays just got us again," Bears coach Dick Jauron
said. "That 72-yarder was huge and then two 24-yard passes."
Culpepper appeared to change a play at the line of scrimmage on
a third-and-1, then hit Carter, who got behind Jerry Azumah for the
touchdown that made it 14-9.
In the third quarter, Culpepper again picked on Azumah, who was
a running back in college. The 24-yard touchdown to Hatchette made it
McNown, booed throughout the defeat last week against New Orleans, could still hear the hecklers Sunday night. But he finally quieted them
with a 74-yard drive that included a 24-yard pass to Marty Booker,
an 11-yard scramble and a 14-yard pass to Macey Brooks.
James Allen carried in from the 6 on the first play of the
fourth quarter, and the Bears were down just 21-16.
Walters was ruled to have fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, but
replays showed his knee was down before he lost the ball, and the
Vikings retained possession.
Carter then came up with a 17-yard reception while lying on his
back, and then Smith began pounding at Chicago's tiring defense
with a 13-yard gain before Culpepper capped the drive with the
7-yarder to Moss.
Rookie Dez White took a flanker screen from McNown, got a good
block and then raced in for a 25-yard touchdown to give the Bears a
6-0 lead late in the first quarter. Holder Brent Bartholomew
couldn't handle the snap on the point-after, and the conversion
Marcus Robinson, returning after missing a week with a sprained
ankle, had pass receptions of 24 and 42 yards as the Bears moved to
the Vikings' 6. A touchdown pass to Bears tight end Kaseem Sinceno was
wiped out because Sinceno stepped out of the end zone before the
catch. Paul Edinger then kicked a 22-yard field goal to put the
Bears ahead 9-0.
|Cris Carter breaks away for a 24-yard touchdown reception for Minnesota. He finished with seven catches for 111 yards.|
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher got two more sacks, giving
him six for the season, a team rookie record. ... James Allen
gained 71 yards and has 392 this season, three more than he in his
two previous seasons combined. ... Culpepper had 73 yards on 13
carries in the first game against the Bears. Sunday night, he
had 15 yards on four carries.