Vikings' Ponder has a fan in Bears' Tillman

Updated 9/15/2013 9:47 PM

All things considered the Bears did a good job against the NFL's reigning rushing leader, limiting Adrian Peterson to 100 yards on 26 carries (3.8-yard average) and keeping him out of the end zone.

Vikings third-year quarterback Christian Ponder has been criticized for his play, but Bears cornerback Charles Tillman thinks Ponder has been getting a bad rap.


"My respect level has gone up tremendously for Ponder," Tillman said. "He did some great things out there. He made some plays with his feet."

Ponder completed 16 of 30 passes for 227 yards with a touchdown and an interception for a 75.3 passer rating. He scrambled out of trouble frequently and managed just 18 yards on 6 attempts but was only sacked once, by Corey Wootton for no gain.

Joe Cool:

Quarterback Jay Cutler said, even during the game-winning touchdown drive in the final minutes, just about everyone in the huddle remained calm -- except rookie right guard Kyle Long.

"Kyle walks into the building fired up," Cutler said. "He's kind of our Energizer Bunny out there."

Long, fellow rookie right tackle Jordan Mills and the rest of the offensive line allowed just 1 sack Sunday, their first of the year. Long says he admires Cutler's calm demeanor.

"He's so cool," Long said. "I wish I was as cool as Jay Cutler. I was all fired up, and Jay was just like his heart was going two beats a minute, like nothing is going on.

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"He's our leader on the offensive side of the ball, and we'll follow him to the promised land. Today, that was the end zone."

Singing in the rain:

Tight end Martellus Bennett said the Bears were prepared for Sunday's rainy conditions because of the wet weather that accompanied much of their training camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais.

"It's fun playing in the rain because you get to slide around," Bennett said. "It's almost like being a kid again out there playing football when you play in the front yard with your brothers."

Many happy returns:

Minnesota got Cordarrelle Patterson's 105-yard kickoff return to start the game and a 61-yard fumble return of a Jay Cutler fumble by Brian Robison. The Bears got a 44-yard interception return from cornerback Tim Jennings and 80- and 76-yard kickoff returns from Devin Hester.

And all of that came in the first half, resulting in 414 return yards to go with 418 yards of offense.

By the numbers:

The 34-yard, first-quarter run by Alson Jeffery on an end-around set up Jay Cutler's 34-yard TD pass to Brandon Marshall on the next play. Jeffery's run was the longest run by a Bears wide receiver since Eddie Kennison went 52 yards on Oct. 1, 2000, against Green Bay at Lambeau Field. Devin Hester's 80- and 76-yard kickoff returns were his longest since Oct. 16, 2011, when he had a 98-yard TD, also vs. the Vikings.

The Bears won for the second straight week after trailing in the fourth quarter. In the four previous seasons they were 6-23 when trailing at halftime. Cornerback Tim Jennings, who led the NFL with 9 interceptions last season, got his first one of 2013, which he returned 44 yards for a touchdown. He also has 2 forced fumbles and 1 fumble recovery this year.


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