Injury-depleted Bears’ ‘D’ comes up big when it matters in 27-21 win
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter October 10, 2013 8:50PM
- Tim Jennings provides early, late pick-me-ups
- From stop to go: Offense comes alive in first half
- Brandon Marshall too much for Giants’ ‘D’
- Where was the Bears’ D-line?
- GRADING THE BEARS: Week 6 vs. Giants
- Charles Tillman sits, but Zack Bowman fills in admirably
- Jonathan Bostic sees his first action on defense
- Jay Cutler blossoming from Trestman’s tutelage
Updated: October 11, 2013 1:12PM
With four minutes left Thursday night, the Bears’ defensive huddle included Zack Bowman, Landon Cohen, Blake Costanzo, Jon Bostic and David Bass.
Weeklong injury battles and in-game attrition made the Bears’ once-vaunted unit a cast of no-names.
And the no-names needed a stop.
With just under two minutes left, they got it when Giants quarterback Eli Manning overthrew Brandon Myers running down the middle, and Tim Jennings came down with his second interception of the night.
The Bears held on for a 27-21 victory in front of 60,709 fans, squeaking by a winless team in a game that won’t win any aesthetic points.
But just look at the Bears’ injury list: cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) and defensive tackle Stephen Paea (turf toe) were inactive, middle linebacker D.J. Williams left in the third quarter with a chest injury and linebacker James Anderson soon joined him with a back problem.
“You don’t bat an eye,” said Costanzo, a backup linebacker.
Cohen, the defensive tackle signed only two weeks ago, said starters “are the guys out on the field.”
Linebacker Lance Briggs agreed.
“I don’t look around and see [backups],” he said. “I look around and see Chicago Bears out there.
“Guys that stepped in, they knew what they were supposed to do.
‘‘We needed this.’’
An old standby, Jennings had the defense’s two biggest plays: the final pick and a 48-yard interception return for a TD in the first quarter.
Bowman had a pick on the Giants’ second play and returned it to the Giants’ 12. The Bears didn’t score, failing on fourth-and-two from the Giants’ 4.
The first-half shootout was on, with Brandon Marshall catching two second-quarter touchdowns.
He caught the first, a 10-yarder, against zone coverage. The second — after Rueben Randle’s 37-yard TD catch — was a three-yarder with 5:24 to play in the half.
He had nine catches for a team-high 87 yards and was the most targeted receiver by Jay Cutler, who went 24-for-36 for 262 yards.
That might have been enough for a blowout had Brandon Jacobs not found the fountain of youth south of Buckingham Fountain.
The Giants’ bulldozer ran 22 times for 106 yards, scoring touchdowns in the first and third quarters.
Robbie Gould made field goals of 40 and 52 yards to go up 13 before Jacobs’ second score.
The Giants blitzed Cutler on third-and-five with about 10 minutes to play, forcing him into an intentional-grounding penalty — costing the Bears a 51-yard field-goal try for a two-score lead.
The Bears gave the Giants two chances to march and win the game in the fourth quarter.
Their defense held twice — the second time after Manning marched 54 yards before throwing the pick to a unit filled with reserves.
“I think the word is moxie, or whatever,” guard Kyle Long said. “They find a way to get it done.”