Bears RB Thomas Jones eludes Jets LB Victor Hobson during Chicago's 10-0 win over NY. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
Welcome back to New York! The Chicago Bears make their second return to the Meadowlands in as many weeks, this time, to take on the 5-4 New York Jets. While the Giants were unsuccessful against the Bears last Sunday, the Jets were in preparations for another big upset. The Jets began the game going after the one weakness of the Bear’s potent defense, the run block.
Giants RB Tiki Barber was able to average 10 yards per carry on his first five possessions against the Bears. Jets RB Leon Washington was able to have this early success as well, averaging 10 yards per carry on his first three possessions. The difference in the Jets ground game was the addition to the lineup of Cedric Houston. The Jets were able to rack up 91 yards on the ground in the first half. Houston had 36 yards on 8 carries as the Jets racked up 156 total yards in the half.
That wasn’t the only surprise by the Jets in the game, as they kept the Bears offense out of the end zone for the half, in fact there wasn’t any score at the half. The Jets did though show their own weakness on defense with stopping the run. RB Thomas Jones had a field day with the Jets defense, gaining 55 yards in the first half and 121 yards for the game. The Jets were able though to hold Bears QB Rex Grossman to only 7 yards on 5 for 11 passing in the half. The one big mistake for the Jets offense was in the red zone. QB Chad Pennington threw only his second career red zone interception right to the one man the Jets should have worried about the most, LB Brian Urlacher.
This would lead to the Jets downfall, as the team could never get the offense clicking and when it appeared they did, they turned the ball over again. Pennington’s two interceptions were costly, as they occurred on the only drives where the Jets seemed to have a chance to score. Head coach Eric Mangini stood by his quarterback saying, “there are plays that I’m sure he would like to have back but he got to call a lot of good plays and he makes good decisions.”
The Bears offense meanwhile, took advantage of the mistakes made by the Jets defense, as they scored the only touchdown in the game on a missed tackle that wound up with WR Mark Bradley scoring on a 57-yard touchdown pass from Rex Grossman. The touchdown, along with the 20-yard field goal by K Robbie Gould was enough to hold off the Jets.
The field goal occurred early in the third quarter. The Jets were kicking off the half and decided to try an onside kick. The failure of the kick led to the field goal and the first points of the game. Mangini said that, the onside kick was something that, “we talked about and practiced for quite a few weeks. There’s a risk involved in everything you do.” Grossman called the play “surprising, and that it definitely helped us get points on the board.”
Once again the key to the game was the turnover battle, as the Jets lost 2-0. The Jets defense came to play, going from allowing on average 361 yards per game to only allowing 284 yards to the Bears. Grossman finished with only 119 yards on 11 for 22 passing. The key for the Bears offense was the run game. This was something the Jets had tried to accomplish early in the game. The team finished with over 100 yards on the ground as a team, but 28 of those yards came on a reverse to WR Tim Dwight.
Pennington said that the loss was like any other, “any loss is tough to swallow.” He did seem optimistic at the fact that the team could turn itself around, “there’s not anything we can’t fix, we just have to try to get back into our passing rhythm from the beginning of the season.” Pennington also realized that the team as well as himself will have to turn things around quickly because, “there aren’t 82 games or 162 games in the season, it’s only 16 and practice in between.”
- The scoreless first half was the first in over two months in the NFL, the last one occurring on Sept. 18th between the Steelers and Jaguars.
- PR/KR Justin Miller went over the 1000-yard plateau for the season in return yards. He now has 2,589 return yards in his career, which puts him third on the all-time Jets list.
- Punters had a huge game today, as Jets P Ben Graham had seven punts for 310 yards and Bears P Brad Maynard had eight punts for 343 yards.
- Jets LB Anthony Schlegel played in his first NFL game today.
- Cedric Houston picked up his 100th career carry early in the second quarter. His 50 yards were today were a season high for Houston.
- The 80 yards allowed by the Jets in the first half was their lowest season total so far.
-CB Andre Dyson is listed as questionable after receiving a neck injury during Sunday’s loss to the Bears.
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The Team return to Weeb Ewbank Hall tomorrow. Coach Mangini will address the media at 2:30 PM. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for all the latest Jets news.