It was a game best summed up in a familiar wilderness joke:
Two men are by a campfire in the woods when a grizzly bear bursts into the clearing.
“Run!” yells the first man.
“We can’t out run a bear!” the second one hollers.
“I don’t have to out-run the Bear,” the first answers over his shoulder. “I only have to out-run you.”
The Bears weren’t necessarily good on Thursday night in their 27-21 win over the Giants. They didn’t have to be. They just had to be better than the Giants. And they were.
“It wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be,” coach Marc Trestman acknowledged. “We couldn’t finish some drives but Jay took care of the football… . It wasn’t all pretty and we know that.”
Several Bears commented in the aftermath that they could not believe that the New York Giants hadn’t won a game. But for an overthrown Eli Manning pass intercepted at the Chicago 10-yard line with 2 minutes to play, the Giants indeed might not have remained a winless team.
But they are, and the Bears are 4-2, ending a two-game losing streak with one game (Oct. 20) in the next 24 days before a stretch with Green Bay, Detroit and Baltimore.
“It’s big,” said linebacker Lance Briggs. :We need to get as many numbers in the win column that we can. We’ve got to make a playoff push. We’re not even close to where we need to be but right now we have four wins and we need to get more.”
Good enough is good enough…for now
The box score may suggest that the Bears didn’t so much win this game as the Giants losing it, with Manning throwing three interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. That wouldn’t be quite accurate.
Quarterback Jay Cutler posted his fifth game in six with a 90-plus passer rating. He threw two second-quarter touchdown passes to Brandon Marshall, covering 10 and two yards. And he was not sacked for the second time this season, was only hit twice and did not throw an interception.
That was good enough to win even without the offense being able to manage even a field goal over the final 26 minutes that would have made it a two-score game.
The defense allowed touchdown drives of 80, 80 and 91 yards and a disturbing cluster of big plays that had secondary coach Jon Hoke railing at his safeties and cornerbacks on the bench in the second quarter. In less than 20 minutes of clock time the defense had allowed four different receivers to have catches of 14 yards or longer and running back Brandon Jacobs had a 16-yard run as part of 53 rushing yards in the first quarter alone.
“We learned some new words,” said safety Major Wright. “But he was right. We had to cut down on the big plays.”
The defensive line went without a sack and or even a quarterback hit. But the Bears remained the only team not to allow touchdown in a fourth quarter through six games.
“What matters is that it was a win,” said defensive end Julius Peppers. “That’s all that matters.”