The overall loses points for Martellus Bennett’s lost fumble that was returned for a touchdown. But Bears receivers made critical catches for third-down conversions and were a big part of the Bears converting nine of 14 (64 percent) of third downs.
“We were very efficient on third downs,” coach Marc Trestman said. “It was huge. It allowed us to maintain possession of the ball.”
Alshon Jeffery delivered another jaw-dropper for a 45-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that brought the Bears back to 24-24, grabbing the ball over then hands of safety Tashaun Gipson and falling into the end zone. Jeffery finished with five catches for 72 yards, second to Brandon Marshall’s 95 yards on six catches.
“I’m just thinking, ‘Make a play,’” Jeffery said, smiling. “I make my quarterback look good and he makes me look good ... We always talk about just throwing it up and giving me a chance.”
That was followed by Earl Bennett catching his fourth TD pass of the season from four yards out to push the Bears up 31-24 and they never lost the lead. Bennett finished with catches of all four passes thrown to him.
Bennett, who grabbed two big throws in the first quarter, gaining 23 and 22 yards on third-down catches for conversions. He committed a silly false start in the second quarter with the offense in good field position and compounded that exponentially with a fumble that was returned 51 yards for a touchdown.
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But Bennett caught the six passes thrown to him. And Marshall had catches of 41, 18 and 16 yards, and might have had another long gainer but for being overthrown for Cutler’s second interception.
“That was surprising, because Jay and I do have such a good chemistry,” Marshall said.
Moon's Grade: A-