The End Zone

Tribune staff reporter

Hero I: Jim Miller. Awful first half. Awfully gutty second half—12-of-17 for 188 yards and a TD. The TD.

Unsung hero I: Bernard Robertson. All the worry about the untested left tackle, and Robertson's man still hasn't come within 5 yards of Miller on the game-winning play. On the Bears' first score, Robertson pushed defensive end Lorenzo Brommell outside, and Miller stepped up into that spot and fired a 29-yard TD to Marty Booker.

Missing-persons report I: Pick a pass-rusher, any pass-rusher.

Key stat I: Anthony Thomas had seven carries for minus-2 yards in first half. Look, if Leon Johnson could find holes, then the bigger back getting the bigger money certainly should have. This against a Vikings defense that ranked second to last overall in run defense last season. Yeesh.

Missing-persons report II: Daimon Shelton. The Bears fullback still has two more games on suspension, and Thomas can't get him back fast enough.

Big series I: First-and-goal from the Bears' 9 midway through the first quarter, and Brian Urlacher throws Michael Bennett for a 2-yard loss. Second down, Ted Washington tips Daunte Culpepper's pass at the line of scrimmage. Third down, Culpepper runs past the line of scrimmage, then throws an incomplete pass. The Vikes have to settle for three points instead of seven in what turned out to be a four-point game.

Hero II: Booker. Almost 200 yards receiving, the biggest day by a Bears receiver in 40 years. And, oh, that helmet-to-helmet hit he took and still held on to the ball.

Unsung hero II:

John Davis. If you're not familiar with Davis, he's a tight end and he caught a 10-yard pass down to the Minnesota 9 to set up the game-winning score. Yes, the Bears threw to a tight end. In a big situation. And he caught it. Just like the good teams.

Big series II: On the Vikings' opening drive, Michael Bennett raced around right tackle for nine yards and perhaps for a TD until Mike Green stuck him at the Bears' 47. Next play, Urlacher stuffed Bennett for a 1-yard loss. Play after that, Culpepper hit Randy Moss for no gain, forcing a punt and stuffing Minnesota momentum.

Key stat II: Culpepper threw for just 26 yards and two interceptions in the second half.

Hero III: Mike Brown. The guy with a cast on his hand intercepts the biggest pass Culpepper threw to set up the winning score. OK, so it didn't happen in overtime, but that is so Mike Brown.

Unsung hero III: Paul Edinger. Two 49-yard field goals and several kickoffs to the goal line or deeper.

Big series III: Brad Maynard's 43-yard punt on the second series bounces to Larry Whigham standing on the Minnesota 3. Just like last year, Maynard starts out as the best offensive weapon the Bears have. Playing the field-position game, the Bears held the Vikes and had to go only 30 yards for their first TD of the year.

Key stat III: The Vikings faced two third downs of 10 yards or more in the second half, and both times the Bears intercepted Culpepper.

Missing-persons report III: Moss had two catches for three yards with a minute left in the first half and appeared to chicken out on a sideline pass because he was afraid of the oncoming Whigham.

Key stat IV: A Culpepper pass to a wide-open Moss for 26 yards is called back for an illegal shift. Earlier, a pass to Moss for 11 yards was called back for the same thing. The new "Randy Ratio" consists of wiping out two completions for 37 yards.

Key stat V: The Bears are 1-0 when staying at the Chancellor Hotel.

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