Bears

Cutler, Bears stun Chiefs with fourth-quarter comeback

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Cutler, Bears stun Chiefs with fourth-quarter comeback

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears made a bad day even worse for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cutler led the Bears to a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns Sunday, the second an alert toss to Matt Forte with 18 seconds left, giving them an 18-17 comeback victory after Kansas City lost star running back Jamaal Charles to a potentially serious knee injury.

Chicago (2-3) trailed 17-3 early in the third quarter when Charles went down while trying to make a cut. He had to be helped off the field, never putting weight on his right knee.

The Bears quickly seized the momentum.

After Robbie Gould's second field goal got them going, Cutler led an 88-yard drive that he capped with a 22-yard strike to Marquess Wilson with 3:05 left. The 2-point conversion came up short, but the Bears defense responded by forcing a quick three-and-out.

With help from a pass interference call on Chiefs rookie Marcus Peters, the Bears quickly moved down the field. That's when Cutler took a snap from the shotgun, dropped the ball, picked it up and spotted Forte running past safety Husain Abdullah in the end zone for the go-ahead score.

The Chiefs (1-4) tried a 66-yard field goal that came up short as time expired.

It was the second heartbreaking defeat at home for Kansas City this season. AFC West rival Denver scored two touchdowns in the final 2:27 for a 31-24 victory last month.

Making this one even worse was the injury to Charles, who was starting to get into a rhythm went he went down deep in Chicago territory. He immediately grabbed his right knee - Charles tore the ACL in his left knee in 2012 - and was helped straight to the locker room.

There was no immediate word on the extent of the injury.

That drive stalled, and Cairo Santos had his field-goal attempt blocked. The missed points wound up looming large in a game that Kansas City will remember for its missed opportunities.

Until Charles went down, everything was going splendidly for the Chiefs, who had jumped out to a comfortable lead thanks to a pair of surprising touchdowns.

The first occurred on the third series of the game, when Cutler was sacked in the end zone by Jaye Howard and Allen Bailey. Cutler lost the ball before hitting the turf, and rookie linebacker Ramik Wilson jumped on it for a touchdown in his first NFL start.

The Chiefs' second TD came when Alex Smith connected with DeAnthony Thomas with a 14-yard pitch-and-catch midway through the second quarter. Why so surprising? It was just the second scoring reception by a Kansas City wide receiver since December 2013.

Meanwhile, the Bears struggled through injury problems of their own.

Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal were both out, along with three of the Bears' starting offensive linemen. The result was a tough afternoon for Cutler until the final few minutes, when he made the plays that mattered most.

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

The Chicago Bears have a really good problem in their backfield. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will demand touches in 2018 and are each starting-quality running backs. Howard is the more traditional first and second-down back while Cohen offers top-tier playmaking ability.

The duo is so talented that they were recently ranked the fourth-best backfield in the NFL.

The Chicago Bears' Jordan Howard has emerged as one of the NFL's top rushers. He finished his rookie season with 1,313 yards, second-most in the NFL. Last season, he rushed for 1,122 yards and 4.1 yards per carry even though Chicago had the league's least threatening passing attack (175.7 yards per game).

Howard isn't the only standout back on the roster, though. Tarik Cohen is a supremely talented runner and receiver and a perfect complement to Howard. Last season, he amassed 370 rushing yards, 53 receptions and 353 receiving yards.

The Bears' backfield was behind only the Rams, Saints and Chiefs.

Howard set Chicago's rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016 and became the first Bears running back to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He should be the Bears' primary back, but coach Matt Nagy expressed genuine excitement over Cohen's skill set which suggests he plans on getting him the ball quite a bit this season.

Regardless of how the touches play out, the Bears will present opposing defenses with one of the most challenging ground games in the NFL.

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

    In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that went for 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

    Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

    Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.