Tim Jennings intercepted two passes, including one for a touchdown, and Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes as the Chicago Bears held on to beat the New York Giants 27-21 on Thursday night football at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The win assures the Bears of at least a tie at the top of the NFC North standings at 4-2. Meanwhile, the Giants continue their nightmare of a season, remaining winless at 0-6.
The Bears took advantage of a charitable Eli Manning, picking off the two-time Super Bowl winner three times, including Jennings 48-yard pick six. Zach Bowman, filling in for the injured Charles Tillman (inactive), intercepted Manning on the Giants initial possession of the game and returned it to the 11-yard line, but the Bears failed to convert on fourth and two to negate a scoring opportunity.
Cutler looked sharp after a pair of uneven performances. He completed 24-of-36 passes for 262-yards, no interceptions, and a pair of touchdown throws to WR Brandon Marshall. Marshall, who spoke publicly all week about wanting the ball more, got his wish. Cutler targeted him early and often, and Marshall wound up with 9 catches for 87-yards.
Former Giant TE Martellus Bennett enjoyed a solid night as well against his former team Bennett caught 6 balls for 68-yards, including a key third down catch late that helped the Bears run out the clock.
Chicago jumped out quickly to 7-0 and 14-7 leads but New York rallied each time. Behind Manning’s passing and Brandon Jacobs running, the Giants moved the ball consistently against the Bears patched up defense.
Tied at 14, the Bears outscored the Giants in the second quarter to build a ten-point halftime cushion at 24-14. Robbie Gould’s 52-yard field goal pushed the advantage to 27-13. However, the Giants wouldn’ t go down easily.
Manning marched New York down the field, mixing play-action throws with a steady diet of Jacobs. Jacobs, who re-signed with the Giants in September and was filling in for injured starter David Wilson, turned back the clock on this night. He rambled for 106-yards and scored on two short touchdown runs that helped pull New York to within six at 27-21.
The Bears offense sputtered in the fourth, allowing the Giants to mount what appeared to be a go-ahead score. With the ball at the Chicago 35-yard line, Manning’s intended pass down the field to the Bears 10 glanced off the hands of TE Brandon Meier and was plucked by Jennings to thwart the drive, and effectively end the game with 1:54 remaining. The Bears proceeded to run out the clock, courtesy of a key third down defensive holding penalty on the Giants secondary, and heads into a ten-day break with a needed victory.
Paw Prints: Gould’s field goal from 52-yards gives him 12 straight conversions from 50-yards or longer….Manning completed 14-of-26 passes for 239-yards and a touchdown, but threw his league-leading 15 picks….The Bears struggling defense failed to generate much pressure, allowing Manning plenty of time to scan the field. Chicago also lost LB’s D.J. Williams and James Anderson in the game to injuries and were forced to play rookie Jon Bostic and special teamer Blake Costanzo in the fourth quarter.