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KC masterpiece: Jay Cutler rallies, Bears find identity

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jay Cutler dropped the snap. Of course he did.

To perfectly encapsulate the Bears’ win Sunday, the quarterback had to bobble the ball and pick it up off the ground with 23 seconds left, down by five points.

And then he had to look left — he knew exactly who he was going to throw to — and complete a seven-yard, game-winning pass to Matt Forte.

One week after winning on a field goal with two seconds remaining, the Bears led for 18 seconds Sunday — including the only second that mattered — in an 18-17 win at Arrowhead Stadium.

The 2-3 Bears stole a road victory for the first time in over a year. Along the way, they found the identity they’ve been searching for — one that, tackle Kyle Long said, is “100 percent a reflection of John Fox and the coordinators.”

They don’t quit.

“Whereas, in years, past I feel like guys are looking at the clock like, ‘Hey, maybe they run it out; Maybe we can get out of here with some time to spare tonight,’” Long said.

Not this season. That’s the Fox influence, even when, Sunday, they took the field without starting Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, defensive captain Antrel Rolle, starting center Will Montgomery and left tackle Jermon Bushrod. All were injured.

“You gotta just wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say, ‘I am a bad-ass,’” Long said. “’And I’m going to let the guy I’m going against understand that.’”

The Bears trailed by 11 with 3:06 to play before the first of Cutler’s touchdown passes, a 22-yard strike to Marquess Wilson he threw before the receiver made his break.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that,” Wilson said.

The Bears scored touchdowns on their final two drives after failing to do so in their first 10.

“You just practice grinding, grinding, grinding,” said receiver Josh Bellamy, who had six catches for 31 yards. “Finish. You gotta finish. The first couple games of the season, we weren’t finishing.”

The Bears’ defense held the Chiefs to 123 second-half yards, bullying a unit dazed by running back Jamaal Charles’ likely torn right ACL on the first drive of the third quarter. Even the Bears’ special teams contributed, blocking a field goal at the end of that possession.

Like the Sunday before, the Bears defense got the ball back in the fourth quarter; Terry Porter broke up a pass on Jeremy Maclin’s third-down slant route with 2:15 left, forcing a punt.

On the final two drives, Cutler — who Long said was “ballsy” — completed 8-of-14 passes for 100 yards and drew a third-down pass interference penalty with 57 seconds left.

“Coach Fox preaches, ‘You’re never out of the game and you gotta play four quarters,’” said outside linebacker Lamarr Houston, who logged his first sack of 2015. “We’re starting to learn how to do that.”

That will only breed more success, the coach hopes.

“Winning is contagious, just like losing is,” Fox said. “I’d rather experience the win.”

Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley
Email: pfinley@suntimes.com