By Larry Mayerchicagobears.com
OAKLAND, Calif. – Already written off by most NFL observers,
quarterback Rex Grossman and the Bears stormed back to life in dramatic
fashion Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
Replacing injured starter Brian Griese late in the first half,
Grossman tossed a 59-yard touchdown to Bernard Berrian with 3:11
remaining in the game to give the Bears a 10-6 lead en route to a 17-6
stirring comeback victory at McAfee Coliseum.
his first game since Week 3, Rex Grossman helped rally the Bears to a
17-6 win over the Raiders Sunday at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland.
“It’s a great feeling to come in and pull one out,” said Grossman, who
saw his first action since being benched after a Week 3 loss to the
Dallas Cowboys. “It was unbelievable; something that you can’t describe
to anyone that’s never been in that position.”
The Bears have now overcome fourth-quarter deficits to win their
last three road games. Griese engineered rallies in Green Bay and
Philadelphia but exited with a left shoulder injury when he was sacked
by Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison with 1:32 left in the second
Griese was carted from the sideline to the locker room and will be
re-evaluated Monday. He exited after completing 10 of 14 passes for 97
yards and a 90.5 passer rating.
“Brian Griese went out with a shoulder injury,” coach Lovie Smith
said after the game. “That’s about all we know right now. Hopefully
it’s not anything real serious.”
With the victory, the Bears (4-5) climbed to within two games of NFC
wildcard leaders Detroit (6-3) and the New York Giants (6-3), both of
whom lost Sunday.
Punting nine times apiece, it didn’t appear that either team would
score a touchdown Sunday in Oakland. But the Bears broke the ice as
Grossman hit Berrian streaking down the left sideline. The score came
just three plays after Sebastian Janikowski’s 52-yard field goal had
given the Raiders a 6-3 lead with 4:04 remaining.
“It was a match-up that we were looking for all game,” Grossman
said. “We called several plays to get something like that and they’d be
in a different coverage that would take it away, and finally the play
with the coverage matched up and we executed perfectly.”
Cedric Benson’s 3-yard touchdown run with 1:35 left clinched the win
and came one play after Adewale Ogunleye had sacked Raiders quarterback
Josh McCown at the Oakland 16, forcing a fumble that Israel Idonije
Ogunleye tied a career high with three sacks, highlighting a stellar
performance by the Bears defense. The unit didn’t allow a touchdown for
the first time this season while permitting the fewest total yards
(193), passing yards (108) and first downs (12) in any game this year.
McCown’s 24-yard run on Oakland’s first play from scrimmage set up
Janikowski’s 37-yard field goal, giving the Raiders a 3-0 lead with
9:18 left in the first quarter.
But the Bears defense buckled down after that, not permitting
Oakland to cross the 50 on its next eight possessions extending into
the fourth quarter. The Raiders never ran a play inside the Chicago 20
and didn’t advance beyond the Bears’ 33 after their first drive of the
game. Oakland also failed to pick up a first down on six of nine
“Defensively, we had an excellent week of practice,” Smith said. “I
thought we had corrected some things and it was good to see it out
there on the football field. After we let the quarterback have that
first long run, from there the guys really settled down, played hard
and just did all the things that we expected our defense to do.”
Safety Danieal Manning hammers Raiders running back Antonio Fargas during the Bears’ 17-6 victory Sunday in Oakland.
The Bears defense registered its third takeaway on the game’s final
play as Danieal Manning intercepted McCown’s desperation heave intended
for receiver Tim Dwight in the end zone. Manning carried the ball with
him off the field and into the locker room.
The Bears offense struggled for much of Sunday’s game, but committed
no turnovers and has just one giveaway in its last three road contests.
“We talk a lot about winning the turnover ratio and that’s kind of
been the story of each one of our games,” Smith said. “So it was big
today to finally win the turnover ratio.”
Grossman completed 7 of 14 passes for 142 yards and a 109.8 passer
rating, while Benson rushed for 76 yards on 29 carries against the
NFL’s 30th-ranked run defense.
“Offensively, we did some good things,” Smith said. “We didn’t have
as much production as we would like. But when it came time for us to
score, we stepped up. Rex threw a great pass to Bernard to win the
The Raiders not only kicked to Devin Hester as coach Lane Kiffin had
promised during the week, but they shut down the All-Pro return
specialist. Hester averaged just 2.3 yards on six punt returns and 17.0
yards on two kickoff returns.
Hester finally broke loose late in the third quarter, returning
Shane Lechler’s 59-yard punt 64 yards to the Oakland 26. But a holding
penalty on Brendon Ayanbadejo wiped out the return, costing the Bears
69 yards in field position.
After Janikowski’s early field goal, the Bears tied the score 3-3 on
Robbie Gould’s 32-yard field goal with 6:51 left in the first half. The
drive was highlighted by Griese passes of 24 yards to Muhsin Muhammad
on a crossing route and 14 yards to Desmond Clark in the right flat.
On the Bears’ first possession of the second half, Grossman
completed a 33-yard pass to Muhammad to the Oakland 36. But after three
plays netted just one yard, Gould’s 53-yard field goal attempt into the
wind was well short.
The Bears later forced their first turnover of the game when Idonije
stripped running back Antonio Fargas and rookie Trumaine McBride
recovered at the Chicago 44.
The Chicago defense held the NFL’s fourth-ranked run offense to 113
yards, 27 below its average. Fargas rushed for 81 yards on 23 carries,
while McCown completed 14 of 27 passes for 108 yards and a 46.5 passer
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