Seconds after the Bears were stopped four times at the one-yard line, Bernard Berrian pulled in a 99-yard touchdown pass from Gus Frerotte that sent the Minnesota Vikings to a 34-14 victory and sole possession of the division lead on Sunday night.
Berrian burned former teammate Charles Tillman and sped down the sideline untouched to give Minnesota a 10-7 lead on the 11th 99-yard pass play in NFL history.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a 99-yard play, and I’ve been playing football since I was eight years old,” Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said. “That right there, that’s just a dagger in your chest. Defensively, if that happened to us, I’d be like, ‘Holy smokes.’”
The Vikings’ previous longest offensive play came in the franchise’s second season, an 89-yard pass from Fran Tarkenton to Charley Ferguson on Nov. 11, 1962.
STEELERS 33, PATRIOTS 10
At Foxborough, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh held the Patriots to 267 yards, got two touchdown passes from Ben Roethlisberger and four field goals from Jeff Reed to beat the Patriots 33-10 on a cold, rainy day.
Matt Cassel lost two fumbles and two interceptions in the second half and was sacked five times after throwing for at least 400 yards in his past two contests. He was 19-for-39 for 169 yards and no touchdowns against Pittsburgh.
In the second half, the Steelers outscored the Patriots 23-0 and gave up just 81 yards.
Pittsburgh (9-3) stayed a game ahead of second-place Baltimore in the AFC North. New England (7-5) dropped into a second-place tie in the AFC East with Miami.
BRONCOS 34, JETS 17
At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Jay Cutler and the Broncos stopped the surging Jets, showing they might be a team to reckon with in the wide-open AFC.
Cutler passed for 357 yards and two touchdowns and rookie Peyton Hillis ran for 129 yards and a score at a wet and windy Meadowlands.
The Broncos (7-5) stopped the Jets’ five-game winning streak and lead the AFC West by three games with four weeks left.
It was a disappointing loss for New York (8-4), coming off emotional victories at New England and Tennessee and making a claim as the conference’s top team.
Cutler finished 27-of-43 and Hillis became the first to rush for 100 or more yards against the Jets’ third-ranked run defense.
FALCONS 22, CHARGERS 16
At San Diego, Matt Ryan threw two touchdown passes and Michael Turner ran for 120 yards against his former team. The Falcons (8-4) remained a game behind Tampa Bay and Carolina in the NFC South.
San Diego (4-8) lost for the fifth time in six games.
Turner carried 31 times in his sixth 100-yard game of the season.
He was allowed to leave San Diego as an unrestricted free agent after last season.
Tomlinson, the two-time defending NFL rushing champion, was held to 24 yards on 14 carries.
CHIEFS 20, RAIDERS 13
At Oakland, California, Tyler Thigpen put together one effective drive to beat the Raiders in a matchup between two of the NFL’s worst.
Thigpen engineered a 91-yard drive capped by Larry Johnson’s two-yard tie-breaking run early in the fourth quarter to lead the Chiefs to just their second win in their last 21 games.
In other NFL games, it was:
• Colts 10, Browns 6
• Giants 23, Redskins 7
• Panthers 35, Packers 31
• Buccaneers 23, Saints 20
• 49ers 10, Bills 3
• Ravens 34, Bengals 3