It didn't take long for quarterback Jay Cutler to show he was back to normal after missing last week's game with a concussion.
After scrambling for 5 yards, he stiff-armed Minnesota cornerback A.J. Jefferson while stepping out of bounds at the Vikings' 13 and then flipping the ball at the defender, which drew a 15-yard penalty for taunting.
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"I was just trying to toss him the ball gingerly and say, 'Good job,' Cutler said with a smirk. "And they caught me, so "
The Bears had to settle for Robbie Gould's 47-yard field goal.
Later, when left tackle J'Marcus Webb needed help with an untied shoe, Cutler, who became a father for the first time over the summer, stepped up.
"I loosened it and tied it," Cutler said. "I guess my fatherly instincts were kicking in. I was trying to keep the drive going, so we wouldn't have to burn a timeout, but we burned it anyway."
Cutler wasn't cleared for Sunday's game until he met with an independent neurologist a day earlier, but he expected he would pass the concussion tests.
"I felt confident about it," said Cutler, who suffered the concussion two weeks earlier. "I felt good with the test. I had no symptoms of concussion, so I felt good. It was just a matter of going through the motions and talking to the doctors."
For the second straight game, Corey Wootton started ahead of Israel Idonije at defensive left end, although Idonije remained the starter in nickel packages.
Idonije shared a sack with rookie Shea McClellin, giving him 5 this season tied for third on the team. He's just 1 behind Julius Peppers and Henry Melton, who got his sixth Sunday.
The defense yielded just 258 yards, 95 fewer than it permitted a week earlier in the loss at San Francisco. It also forced 3 turnovers after getting blanked last week. Idonije was asked which defense was the real Bears defense.
"If anybody's watched our defense, watched this team over the course of the season, you know what our identity is," Idonije said. "So that's not even a question that needs to be addressed.
"Our defense shows up week in and week out. Unfortunately last week we had a rough day -- welcome to life. It's how you react and how you bounce back, and (Sunday) we did a fairly good job."
Adjust, adapt, overcome:
Offensive tackle Gabe Carimi had never played guard before stepping in at that spot Sunday, and it was a new experience.
"Everything happens faster," said Carimi, who was benched earlier in the week but found himself playing a major role Sunday. "You have bigger guys. It's different technique-wise, a whole different animal.
"I think I did all right. I feel pretty good about jumping in there."
Sitting it out:
Wide receiver Devin Hester left the game in the second quarter with a concussion and did not return. He was replaced by Eric Weems on offense and as the punt- and kickoff-return man.
Running back Matt Forte also left the game with an ankle injury, as did Charles Tillman. Guards Lance Louis and Chris Spencer were sidelined by knee injuries.
Quarterback Josh McCown, wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (knee) and Dane Sanzenbacher, defensive tackles Matt Toeaina and Amobi Okoye, offensive lineman James Brown and defensive end Cheta Ozougwu were inactive.
Cornerback D.J. Moore was active after not playing the previous two weeks. He was inactive a week earlier and was active but did not play the previous week.
By the numbers:
Tight end Evan Rodriguez's 11-yard reception in the second quarter was his first in the NFL. In the past two seasons the Bears are 15-5 when Jay Cutler starts and 1-6 when he doesn't. The offense has scored 44 touchdowns in his 20 starts and only 7 in the seven games he has missed.
Cutler's career passer rating in six games against the Vikings was 100.8 with 15 touchdown passes and 6 interceptions. In 11 previous games vs. Minnesota, Devin Hester had scored 9 touchdowns: 5 receiving, 3 punt returns and 1 kickoff return.