CHICAGO, SEPT. 23 -- Kevin Butler's 52-yard field goal with four seconds left -- his fourth field goal of the game and second of more than 50 yards -- gave the undefeated Chicago Bears a 19-16 victory today over the Minnesota Vikings.
"It ranks right up there," Butler said. "Any kick that wins a game ranks right up there. Even after they scored we felt we had time if the other team made a mistake and we could capitalize on it."
The mistake came after the Bears (3-0) stopped the Vikings with 25 seconds left. (The final sack left quarterback Wade Wilson with a thumb injury that may require surgery.) On fourth down punter Harry Newsome dropped the snap and the Bears recovered on the Minnesota 39. Butler, who had a 36-yard attempt partially blocked, then broke the tie score.
"I let down 47 guys, I let down the coaches," Newsome said. "I just wonder why it happened. I always considered myself to have good hands. . . . Now it will stick in my mind the rest of my life. It was a wobbly snap and it went through my hands."
Vikings Coach Jerry Burns called the finish "pretty tough. . . . Our punting game wasn't big league all day, and finally it spelled our doom."
Minnesota (1-2) had tied with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Wilson, who hit five passes in the 80-yard drive, to Hassan Jones with 1:55 left.
Neal Anderson (23 carries, 91 yards) and Brad Muster (14, 90 yards) led a punishing second-half ground attack as the Bears had 17 straight runs at one point. "If we have to run 70 times, we'll run 70 times," Coach Mike Ditka said. The Bears rushed 43 times for 215 yards.
Butler had a 23-yard field goal on the opening drive and a 51-yarder early in the second quarter.
Donald Igwebuike cut the lead with his first of three field goals, a 26-yarder in the second period.
Anderson then swept left for an eight-yard touchdown.
Late in the first half, Minnesota safety Joey Browner intercepted Jim Harbaugh's pass, leading to Igwebuike's 24-yard field goal. After halftime, he kicked a 22-yarder and Butler, whose miss came midway through the fourth quarter, countered with a 32-yarder to make it 16-9.