It was a wild game at Soldier Field on Sunday as the Bears overcame a halftime deficit to beat the New York Jets 38-34. Watching this game was like riding a crazy roller coaster without a safety harness. Check out NFL.com’s highlights here.
After the Bears jumped out 10-zip lead, the Jets came storming back with 21 unanswered points, including 14 in about a 1 minute span. After a Shonn Greene TD run, Jay Cutler threw a pick-6 to Dwight Lowery on the next series. An LT TD run swelled the Jets’ lead to 21-10 late in the second quarter. That looks to be about the time that Mike Martz and the offense woke up.
With tight coverage and the wide receivers unable to get open, Mike Martz turned to Matt Forte out of the backfield to get the Bears offense moving. A 24-yard reception by Forte helped get the Bears offense moving again, keying a scoring drive capped by a 2-yard Jay Cutler TD run to get the Bears back to within 21-17. The Bears defense wasn’t up to the task late in the first half, allowing the Jets to march down the field to score a late FG to head into the halftime locker room up 24-17.
The third quarter was a rare treat for Bears fans, with the Bears scoring 21 points to surge to a 38-31 lead and never look back. The key play, and I believe the turning point of the game, was a failed fake punt by the Jets. With their opening second half drive apparently stalled at their own 40 yard line, the Jets tried for a little trickeration. They should know better than to mess with Dave Toub’s special teams. This unit is the best-prepared unit in the league. They sniffed out the fake and Rashied Davis turned away Mark Sanchez’s attempt to convert 4th down.
It took Jay Cutler all of one play to take advantage of the Jets’ miscue, finding Johnny Knox for a 40-yard TD. I’m not sure if it was the Jets defensive front or the Bears offensive line showing improvement, but with some decent time Jay Cutler was able to get the offense going. After a stellar punt return by Devin Hester (why does anyone kick to him???), Jay Cutler found #23 in the end zone for a 25-yard TD.
Cutler and the Bears capped off their scoring with a second Johnny Knox TD, this one a 26-yarder following another Hester kick return, which set the Bears up with great field position again and eventually a 38-31 lead.
The Bears’ defense was far from dominant on Sunday, but they came up big when it counted. They held the Jets to a lone field goal in the fourth quarter and with the Jets trying to move into position for the winning score with under 2 minutes to go in the game, Chris Harris sealed the victory with an interception.
A few more notes, in bullet point form:
- Big props to Matt Forte, who ran for 113 yards and a TD on just 19 carries. This Jets D doesn’t usually let up a lot of rushing yardage, so Forte’s accomplishment is that much more impressive.
- If it wasn’t clear from my writeup above, it’s worth mentioning again – their special teams unit is the absolute best in the business. When opponents kick away from Hester, they still get in good position and on the rare “mistakes” of kicking to Hester, they are on point with their blocking.
- Really disappointed in the defense today. They let a bum-winged Mark Sanchez carve them up. The slant routes just killed the Cover-2. There’s just a week left to find a way to fix that.
- Chris Harris gets a game ball. His fumble recovery early set up the Bears’ first TD, a 22-yard scamped by Matt Forte and his late INT sealed the victory.
- Nice to see Johnny Knox get a couple of TD’s. He’s been steady all year, so it’s good to get rewarded with some scores. It would have been nicer if I had started him in my fantasy Super Bowl in one league and wasn’t playing against him in my third place game in another league. That’s all good – Bears win makes up for it (kind of).
- Go back and watch Greg Olsen’s block on the Matt Forte TD run. We’re always critical of Olsen’s blocking, so I’ll compliment him when he gets the job done.
- Anyone see Julius Peppers on Sunday? Is this one of those games where he took a week off? Even though he gets’ double-teamed every play, someone else should be getting through.
- Is this the week that the Bears offense finally caught up with the defense? A 38-point output really bailed out the defense, which under-performed against a struggling Jets offense.
Still plenty at stake with a matchup against the Packers next week likely to determine if the Bears get the #2 seed in the NFC. Be sure to root for the Saints to knock off the #1 seed Falcons on Monday night.