The Bears beat the odds and survived a scare from the win less Giants and emerged with a 27-21 victory Thursday night at Soldier Field. Jay Cutler threw twopasses to Brandon Marshall. The Giants’ Eli Manning threw three interceptions, including two by cornerback Tim Jennings.
“We won the game but you leave a little bit unsatisfied because I think offensively we could’ve exploded for a little bit more,” said Cutler, citing a failed fourth-down conversion early in the game and some missed third-down opportunities.
Jennings’ second interception with 1:54 remaining stopped a possible go-ahead drive by the Giants. Jennings’ first interception was returned 48 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter.
The Giants’ running game, which had been anemic entering Thursday’s game, pounded the Bears’ defense. Brandon Jacobs rush for 106 yards and two TDs.
Robbie Gould kicked two field goals, including a 52-yarder, that represented the difference in the game.
Cutler completed 24 of 36 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. His passer rating was 106.5. Marshall had nine receptions on 11 targets for 87 yards.
“We’re a work in progress and tonight we found a way to win a game and that’s exciting,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said.
Asked about the progress of the offense, Trestman said, “We see things each and every week that tell us we can be not just good, we can be very good. We also know there’s a lot of work ahead and we’re going to work very hard this weekend to improve our football team.”
The Bears’ defense was missing cornerback Charles Tillman and defensive tackle Stephen Paea, both ruled inactive due to injuries. Defensive tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins are out for the season with knee injuries, and linebacker D.J. Williams left the game in the second half with a chest injury.
A one-yard touchdown run by Jacobs at the end of the third quarter trimmed the Bears’ lead to 27-21. It capped a nine-play, 91-yard drive.
Robbie Gould drilled a 52-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half to extend the Bears’ lead to 27-14. It was Gould’s 12th consecutive field goal from 50-plus yards, tying the Vikings’ Blair Walsh for the NFL record.
In a back-and-forth first half, Gould’s 40-yard field goal with two seconds left gave the Bears a 24-14 lead at intermission.
Marshall’s second touchdown catch — this one from three yards out — put the Bears back ahead 21-14 with 5:20 left before halftime.
The Giants had taken advantage of the Bears’ shorthanded defense, with Manning hitting Rueben Randle on a 37-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 14-14 with 10:41 to play in the second quarter. Bears defenders Major Wright and Jennings botched the coverage as Randle ran a tightrope down the sideline.
The Bears went ahead 14-7 on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Marshall with 14:23 left in the second quarter. Marshall, wearing green cleats to publicize mental awareness, had three catches early for 42 yards.
The Giants pounded the ground game early, with Jacobs scoring on a four-yard run to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive at the 3:48 mark of the first quarter to tie the score at 7-7.
Jennings stepped up on the Giants’ previous possession, intercepting a Manning pass and returning it 48 yards for a touchdown to put the Bears up 7-0 with 9:50 left in the first quarter.
The Bears earlier had failed to capitalize on a Zack Bowman interception. Bowman, starting in place of Tillman, intercepted Manning on the Giants’ first series and returned it 24 yards to the Giants 12. But the Bears failed to convert on fourth-and-2 from the Giants 4.
In the first half, Cutler completed 13 of 18 passes for 179 yards and 2 TDs. His passer rating was 140.7. Marshall had six catches for 65 yards and two TDs, and Matt rushed nine times for 35 yards (3.9 avg.).
Manning completed 9 of 14 passes for 152 yards and 1 TD. He was intercepted twice and had a passer rating of 85.1.
The Bears lead the all-time series 32-22-2 since Dec. 6, 1925. The Bears and Giants met in the NFL Championship game six times:1933, 1934, 1941, 1946, 1956 and 1963.