“Every receiver loves a one-on-one situation,” the Chicago Bears’ second-year standout said. “It’s just you and the DB on the island, and may the best man win.”
On this play, it was no contest. Coleman slipped and Bradley turned the completion into a 57-yard touchdown 10 seconds into the final quarter, and the Bears beat the Jets 10-0 on Sunday.
“He threw the ball based on where the corner was,” Bradley said. “I turned up inside and there was a lot of daylight. The safeties came down and rolled back to the strong side. That’s why it was wide open.”
The Jets blitzed on the play in an attempt to fluster Grossman, but it backfired.
“He made a good move,” Coleman said of Bradley. “It hurt, but we were still in the game.”
Well, not really. Chicago (9-1) notched its second shutout this season—the Bears blanked the Packers at Green Bay on Sept. 10. The Bears, coming off a 38-20 victory over the New York Giants, also became the first road team since the 1999 Washington Redskins to win two straight at the Meadowlands.
“New York has been good to us,” Bears coach Lovie Smith said. “Coming here, a tough place to play, and getting two wins is big.”
Next up is another tough road matchup against New England.
“Three weeks ago, we had a three-game stretch that looked pretty tough,” Smith said. “Now we’re down to one game and we’re anxious to play a good New England Patriots team next.”
Thomas Jones had 121 yards on 23 carries, and Grossman overcame an unproductive first half to go 11-of-22 for 119 yards and a touchdown.
“I never felt like we got into a rhythm,” Grossman said. “But we didn’t let them score, we ran the football well and we are going to win a lot of games doing that.”
The Jets (5-5), who came in off a big win against New England last week, had two long drives end on interceptions thrown by Chad Pennington against the NFL’s top-rated defense. The Bears entered having caused a league-leading 27 turnovers.
“We knew going into the game that we couldn’t turn the ball over,” Pennington said. “That was key, and we ended up having two turnovers that set us back a bit.”
The game was supposed to be a measuring stick of whether the Jets are real playoff contenders. They might have to think twice about making postseason plans if this performance—their second shutout of the season—was any indication.
“None of us are shaking,” receiver Laveranues Coles said. “We feel good about what we’ve been doing all year.”
“We kind of had a hunch that they might do something,” Harris said. “That’s this coach. That’s his style. He does trick plays. We were kind of prepared for it.”
Jones ran the ball on the next seven plays, setting up Robbie Gould’s 20-yard field goal that gave Chicago a 3-0 lead 4:21 into the third quarter.
The teams were scoreless through the first half, but the Jets had the best scoring chance early in the second quarter.
After starting on their own 24, the Jets marched down the field and got down to the Bears 6. On New York’s 13th play of the drive, Brian Urlacher stepped in front of a throw by Pennington in the end zone and returned the interception 36 yards.
“I was just reading his eyes,” Urlacher said. “I don’t think he saw me.”
It was the second interception of Pennington’s career in the red zone, and the first of two poor decisions that resulted in turnovers.
“Where he came from, I don’t know,” said Pennington, who wanted to throw it away.
Pennington finished 19-of-35 for 162 yards passing and the two interceptions.
The Jets nearly doubled the Bears in first-half yardage—156-80—and Grossman had just 7 yards on 5-of-12 passing. The Bears quarterback didn’t complete another pass until he connected with Muhsin Muhammad for a 28-yard gain on third down with 4:31 left in the third quarter.
Chicago DE Odewale Ogunleye left late with an apparent injury, but Smith said it wasn’t serious. … WR Tim Dwight had a 28-yard run off a reverse on New York’s third play from scrimmage, the Jets’ longest rushing play of the season. … RB Cedric Houston led the Jets with 50 yards rushing after missing the last five games with a knee injury.