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Jay Cutler's late heroics propel Bears to comeback victory

KANSAS CITY -- On Sunday, Jay Cutler continued to prove he is the Chicago Bears' leader and most valuable player.

Cutler's fourth-quarter heroics led the injury-riddled Bears to an 18-17 comeback victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

Despite playing without Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, Cutler fired two late touchdown passes to erase a 14-point Chiefs lead. Throwing to a depleted group of receivers, Cutler emphasized screen and swing passes until he uncorked a beautiful touchdown strike to Marquess Wilson in the corner of the end zone.

"Great guy. Great leader," Wilson said. "Jay is the type of guy that never gives up. He's battling through some things, and he's able to keep this offense balanced. He is that kind of guy that is going to make us fight."

On the Bears' final possession, Cutler overcame a low snap to loft a touchdown to Matt Forte for the game-winner. Cutler covered up for many of the pass-protection deficiencies by scrambling to avoid the Kansas City rush.

"They switched it up on that last play to Forte, and I whiffed," Bears left guard Matt Slauson said. "Jay put up a fadeaway jumper. It was just a dime. That guy is really amazing."

Cutler posted his 46th career win for the Bears on Sunday, which is tied with Jim McMahon for the most wins by a Bears starting quarterback since the 1970 AFL-NFL Merger, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

What it means: This is a huge win for John Fox. The Bears (2-3) are not likely to make the playoffs, but road victories are tough to come by in the NFL. Plus, the Bears are banged up. The Bears have a chance to head into the bye week 3-3 with a victory at Detroit next week. That is a winnable game too. The talent gap is gigantic between Chicago and the NFL’s elite. Still, the Bears are well coached. That is evident. They can beat bad teams (including Kansas City). That is the first step back to respectability.

What were they thinking? For the second time in three weeks, the Bears used an unorthodox prevent defense late in the first half. The play design called for the Bears to rush only three people and drop the other eight defenders back 20 yards to the goal line. The point is to keep the other team out of the end zone -- Kansas City had to settle for a field goal -- but the Bears forfeited the chance by forcing a key turnover or pushing the Chiefs out of field goal range altogether with a sack or tackle for loss. This conservative approach is curious for a team that preaches an attacking style on defense.

One reason to get excited: Pernell McPhee is a playmaker. Signed to an offseason deal that contained $15.5 million guaranteed, McPhee keeps making splash plays. Not only did he have an important sack on Sunday, but McPhee also blocked a field goal that prevented the Chiefs from finishing the Bears off. The Bears also received strong contributions from inside linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, who came off the bench in the second half because of yet another injury.

One reason to panic: The offensive line is a mess. Third-round pick Hroniss Grasu predictably struggled in his NFL debut. Grasu was overwhelmed by the interior of the Chiefs' defensive line on the goal line early in the game. The Bears claim Grasu is big enough to play center at the NFL level, but the jury is still out on that. Grasu is far from the only culprit. Right guard Vladimir Ducasse is often a spectator on plays. Left tackle Charles Leno Jr., who started in place of Jermon Bushrod, is a penalty machine.

Fantasy watch: Unable to vertically stretch the field until the late touchdown to Wilson, the Bears used a healthy dose of Forte. The all-purpose tailback had more than 100 yards from scrimmage and the touchdown reception. Cutler finished 26-of-45 for 252 yards and two touchdowns.

Ouch: Inside linebacker Shea McClellin left the game with a knee injury. McClellin, who got carted off the field, had played every defensive snap of the season up until the injury. Nose tackle Eddie Goldman temporarily left the field in the first half but returned.

Record setter: Bears kicker Robbie Gould moved past Kevin Butler to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer (1,118 points) on a 30-yard third-quarter field goal. Gould already set the franchise career marks for field goals made and field goals made from 50 yards or longer.