Jets vs. Bears: Jay Cutler Slings Chicago to Victory in Surprise Shootout
Although most people expected a December Bears-Jets game in Chicago to be a defensive struggle, it actually turned into an offensive shootout, and one of the most entertaining games of this NFL season.
Some thoughts on the game:
• The Bears marched down the field on their opening drive and kicked a field goal to go up 3-0.
• The Jets' first offensive drive ended when the Bears recovered a Santonio Holmes fumble. For all of Holmes' talents as a receiver, he's just not good enough at the most fundamental aspect of playing the position: Holding onto the football. The Bears capitalized on that Holmes touchdown in a big way, with Matt Forte running for a score on the ensuing possession to make it 10-0.
• The Jets got on the scoreboard for the first time early in the second quarter when Shonn Greene capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run to make the score 10-7.
• On the ensuing possession, a pass thrown by Bears quarterback Jay Cutler got caught in the gusting Chicago wind, veered off course and was intercepted by Dwight Lowery, who took it to the end zone to give the Jets a 14-10 lead.
• Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez completed his first nine passes, but his 10th pass was an absolutely horrendous one, right into the hands of Bears defensive back Tim Jennings -- who gave back Sanchez's Christmas present by dropping what should have been an easy interception.
• The Jets' third touchdown of the second quarter was a LaDainian Tomlinson 3-yard run that made the score 21-10. By that point in the game, the Jets had taken complete control, with the Bears' offense mustering three three-and-out possessions to go with that Cutler pick-six.
• Chicago's offense finally got things going again after that, though, with Jay Cutler leading the Bears 64 yards on seven plays, culminating with a two-yard touchdown run by Cutler to bring the score to within 21-17.
• With 16 seconds to go in the second quarter, Jets tight end Dustin Keller dropped a perfect pass from Mark Sanchez in the end zone, and the Jets missed out on what should have been an easy touchdown. They had to settle for a field goal that made the score 24-17.
• Early in the third quarter, the Jets tried a fake punt and couldn't get the first down. On the very next play, the Bears made them pay for it, as Cutler hit Johnny Knox in the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown that tied the score, 24-24.
• The Jets had to punt after that Bears touchdown, and Devin Hester had a big punt return. The Bears offense capitalized on that good field position with Cutler hitting Hester on a touchdown pass that made the score 31-24.
• New York came right back after that, with Sanchez marching the Jets down the field and hitting Holmes in the end zone for a touchdown that tied the score, 31-31. Not to be outdone, the Bears needed just two-and-a-half minutes to go 49 yards, with Knox catching a 26-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to make the score 38-31 Bears.
• The Jets drove down the field on the ensuing possession but had to settle for a field goal, which closed the deficit to 38-34.
• In a big break for the Jets, Chicago's usually reliable kicker, Robbie Gould, missed a 34-yard field goal wide right with 11:26 left in the fourth quarter.
• When the Bears shut the Jets down on New York's next offensive drive, it appeared that Chicago was close to running out the clock and clinching the win. But the Jets did a great job of pinning the Bears deep in their own territory and keeping them there with a three-and-out. The Jets got the ball back down just four points down with 4:32 to play.
• The Jets, however, went three-and-out themselves after that and had to punt it right back to the Bears, who were able to run a couple more minutes off the clock before finally punting it back to the Jets with just over a minute to go.
• Sanchez threw the game away with 52 seconds remaining, heaving one down the left sideline, where it was intercepted by Chris Harris, sealing the 38-34 win for the Bears.