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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Battered Bears Prevail Against Vikings

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota -- The Minnesota Vikings lost Warren Moon and Robert Smith. Then they found several ways to lose the game.


Walt Harris blocked a field goal attempt with 3:47 to play, and Bryan Cox forced and recovered a fumble with 1:47 left as the Chicago Bears held on for a 15-13 victory over the slumping Vikings.


The battered Bears (3-5) built a 15-3 halftime lead behind Dave Krieg's passing and their first rushing touchdown of the season, a 1-yard dive by Rashaan Salaam.


Led by Moon and their defense, the Vikings (5-3) rallied with 10 third-quarter points.


Moon re-injured his right ankle while being tackled after an incompletion. Brad Johnson replaced him in the fourth quarter and twice led Minnesota into scoring range.


But Harris charged through virtually untouched to block Scott Sisson's 47-yard field goal attempt. The Vikings immediately got the ball back at midfield as backup defensive tackle Jason Fisk intercepted a deflected pass, and Johnson's 18-yard pass gave Minnesota a first down at the Chicago 31.


But on third-and-14 at the 35, Cox stripped a scrambling Johnson and pounced on the fumble. The Bears then ran out the clock.


Minnesota hurt itself with 11 penalties for 70 yards. The losses of Smith (left knee) and Moon (right ankle) could end up hurting even more.


Jim Flanigan returned to get one of the Bears' five sacks, and his hit on Moon ended the soon-to-be-40 quarterback's night with two minutes left in the third quarter.


Smith went out late in the first quarter, and without him the Vikings managed only 11 rushing yards on 14 carries.


Krieg completed 18 of 26 passes for 152 yards in the first half, but he was just 5-for-9 for 35 yards after halftime. Fortunately for the Bears, their defense stiffened when it had to.


Before he was hurt, Moon rallied the Vikings to 10 third-quarter points, including a 54-yard touchdown pass to Qadry Ismail and Sisson's 43-yard field goal with 1:55 left in the quarter -- one play after Moon was hit by Flanigan.


Minnesota's defense did its part in the third, holding the Bears to two first downs. Despite Moon's improvement in the third, Johnson was greeted by loud applause when he came on with 11:58 to go and the Vikings with a first down at their own 8.


Johnson drove the Vikings to the Chicago 15, but two 5-yard penalties and a loss of 5 more by Amp Lee on a draw forced the Vikings to attempt a 47-yard field goal, and Harris came through to block it.


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Detroit Lions Coach Wayne Fontes now admits he blundered by taking quarterback Scott Mitchell out in the middle of a series in the second quarter of Sunday's 35-7 loss to the New York Giants.


"I have no regrets about taking him out of the game. None whatsoever," Fontes said Monday.


"What I do regret is taking him out when I did. I've never blamed or put a finger on one player. And I realize now it might have seemed like I was doing that to Scott." (AP, Newsday)


Fontes and Mitchell met Monday, and the coach admitted to his quarterback he blew it with the timing of his decision.


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***(AP, Newsday)***d only 11 rushing yards on 14 carries.


Krieg completed 18 of 26 passes for 152 yards in the first half, but he was just 5-for-9 for 35 yards after halftime. Fortunately for the Bears, their defense stiffened when it had to.