One week after laying an egg at home to the Miami Dolphins, the Chicago Bears were out to turn some heads Sunday night in front of a National television audience, that their early season success was not a fluke. Make a statement they did, as a bizarre field goal return, and return to form for quarterback Rex Grossman was the key as the Bears defeated the red-hot Giants 38-20 at the Meadowlands.
Chicago had their struggles early, falling behind 13-3 in the second quarter, but took a big step forward in their development as the best team in the NFC as they rallied for a 17-13 lead with 8:20 left in the 3rd quarter when Grossman hit Muhsin Muhammed for a 10-yard score to give the Bears their first lead of the game. They extended the lead to 24-13 on another Grossman TD pass, but the Giants swatted away at the lead to make it 24-20 on a Brandon Jacobs 8-yard TD run with 3:26 left in the third to make it 24-20.
The next score would be the score that changed the dynamic of the game, and maybe the season for the Bears. Jay Feely lined up for a 52-yard field goal for the Giants that would have made it 24-23. The kick was well short, and Bears cornerback Devin Hester caught the ball, and began sprinting up the sideline. 103 yards later the Bears CB was in the end zone, and with it went the hopes of a Giants comeback as the lead kicked back out to 31-20. A Thomas Jones TD for the Bears closed out the scoring at 38-20.
The Giants fell victim to not only the special teams mistake, but also to having just too many injuries on defense to match up with the Bears. Michael Strahan watched from the sideline, and DE Osi Umenyiora was also a spectator with a hip flexor. It spelled doom for a Giants team that was able to overcome the injuries to run off a 4-game winning streak, but couldn’t do it against a solid Bears team looking for a little respect after last week’s shocking loss to the Dolphins.
While the NFC North is all but won with the Bears leading the division by 4 games with 7 to play, the team is looking for bigger and better as it lines itself up to be the number one seed in the conference for the right to possibly host two playoff games. Road games at the Jets and Pats are next on the Bears slate, but if Sunday night proved anything, NFC teams might want to start getting their long johns out. Chicago is very cold in late mid to late January.