CHAMPAIGN, Ill., Sept. 8 (UPI) -- Jim Miller threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to David Terrell with 28 seconds left Sunday as the Chicago Bears earned a 27-23 over the Minnesota Vikings.
On first and goal from the nine-yard line, Miller stepped into a collapsing pocket and threw off-balance to a leaping Terrell in the back of the end zone to cap an eight-play, 51-yard drive.
"Those are the things he's good at," said Miller, who completed 20 of 33 passes for 297 yards with an interception. "We want him in the end zone jumping up and making those catches."
Playing at the University of Illinois' Memorial Stadium while renovations are undergoing at Soldier Field, the Bears trailed by 10 with just over six minutes left when Anthony Thomas scored from one yard out.
Miller also threw a touchdown pass to Marty Booker and Paul Edinger kicked two 49-yard field goals for Chicago, which set an NFL record last year by going 8-0 in games decided by seven points or fewer.
"I would say the experience helped today," said Chicago's Dick Jauron, the 2001 Coach of the Year. "We have a bunch of guys who never quit believing they can win the game, regardless of the situation."
"I don't think a lot of people let up, so that's a good thing," Miller added. "Obviously, we don't want to make a habit of this. But again, I feel this is the sign of a good team."
Daunte Culpepper scored on a two-yard run and threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss for the Vikings, who had the advantage in rushing yards and time of possession but committed three of the game's five turnovers.
"I was shocked by the outcome," said Vikings tight end Jim Kleinsasser. "Winning teams do not let that happen. We obviously have a lot of work to do."
Minnesota seemed to take control of the game late in the second quarter. Doug Brien kicked a 22-yard field goal 3 1/2 minutes before halftime and Culpepper found Moss 2:29 later for a 20-10 lead.
Moss, one of the best receivers in the league who has been promised a bulk of the action by coach Mike Tice, was held to six catches for 58 yards, although he had a number of balls thrown his way.
"We knew what we had to do to No. 84 (Moss) to stay in the football game," Jauron said.
Moss' touchdown came one play after Miller fumbled a snap. Late in the second quarter, Miller threw an interception that drew the boos of fans.
"We overcame a lot of careless mistakes and we just kept on working," Miller said. "The game is 60 minutes and we definitely used all of them."
Edinger booted his first field goal 4:32 into the third quarter to get the Bears within 20-13, but Brien kicked a 42-yarder 5:53 into the fourth to restore Minnesota's 10-point lead.
Chicago answered with a five-play, 78-yard drive, which was set up by a 54-yard connection between Miller and Marty Booker. Thomas had a hand in the final four plays, running the last three to the right side for 19 yards.
"That's what we like to do -- wear them down by pounding the same plays at them," said Thomas, who carried 19 times for 45 yards. "When it comes down to the end of the game, we are in control."
Booker finished with eight catches for 198 yards.
Minnesota's final possession ended with an interception as Culpepper threw well over the head of Derrick Alexander and watched safety Mike Brown corral the ball and return it 16 yards to midfield.
"We were running a post play and I overthrew the ball," said Culpepper, who was 16-of-29 for 234 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. "I take responsibility for the bad pass and I take the loss on my back."
Asked about his quarterback, Tice said only, "I think he can improve on his performance today."
Brown is no stranger to timely interceptions. En route to a surprising 13-3 campaign in 2001, he returned a pair for game-winning scores in overtime.
"I don't know what to say about Mike Brown that hasn't been said before," Jauron said. "He's a terrific leader for our football team."
Faced with a third and two on their final drive, the Bears gave the ball to Leon Johnson, who rumbled 13 yards to Minnesota's 43.
Thomas later converted on a third and one, battling for two yards to the Vikings' 19. After a 10-yard pass to Davis, Miller hit Terrell with the winning score.
"It was a long, hard game," Jauron said. "A terrific win for us. A great way to start the season."
"I think we'll bounce back if the players believed what I told them in the locker room," Tice said. "If we keep working hard, we can only get better."