Bears, Jets meet after opposite fates last weekend

Bears, Jets meet after opposite fates last weekend

By Dennis Waszak Jr., Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 18, 2014 at 5:40 p.m.


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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Chicago Bears and New York Jets were on opposite ends of impressive comebacks last weekend.

A 17-point deficit at San Francisco was no big deal for Jay Cutler and the Bears. An 18-point lead at Green Bay wasn't enough for Geno Smith and the Jets.

"For the most part, we played a clean game," Smith said, "but just didn't come away with enough big plays to win the game."

The Jets (1-1) were up 21-3 in the second quarter last Sunday, but they missed opportunities to put Green Bay away. Jordy Nelson's 80-yard touchdown catch put the Packers ahead to stay 31-24 — but not before the Jets had a chance to pull off a comeback of their own.

With the game on the line and New York facing a fourth down late in the fourth quarter, Smith connected with a leaping Jeremy Kerley for a tying 36-yard touchdown. Or, so it seemed.

It was wiped out by an ill-timed timeout called by the Jets from the sideline just before the play.

"It didn't count," said Smith, who needed two days to get over the loss. "That's all I can say about it."

Meanwhile, the Bears (1-1) were looking at a dismal 0-2 start as they fell behind 17-0 in the second quarter in the San Francisco 49ers' brand-new Levi's Stadium.

The more than 70,000 fans were thrilled — until, of course, Cutler led the Bears back by outscoring the 49ers 28-3 the rest of the way for a 28-20 victory.

"We've got to utilize those moments of adversity to say that we've been through this and it helps build some backbone for our football team, some confidence," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "It doesn't guarantee that, but it certainly is a good sign that we can work toward that direction."

Here are a few things to watch as the Bears and Jets meet on Monday night:

ON THE RUN: New York enters as the first team since Minnesota at the end of the 2007 season to lead the NFL in both rushing offense and rushing defense at the end of any week.

The Jets lead the league with 179 yards per game to start the season, with the handoffs spread out in the backfield. Chris Ivory has 145 yards and two TDs on 23 carries, Chris Johnson has 89 yards on 25 runs and Bilal Powell has carried five times for 20 yards. Smith has been more mobile this season, already running 17 times for 64 yards and a score.

PEANUT FREE: Chicago's secondary took a big hit when it lost veteran cornerback Charles Tillman to a torn right triceps for the second straight year.

Without the man the Bears call "Peanut," rookie Kyle Fuller will see a lot more action. The 14th overall draft pick in May was impressive last week, getting interceptions on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter.

COVER THREE: With the Jets still working through issues in their secondary, the Bears will provide a huge challenge with their two big wide receivers.

The 6-foot-4 Brandon Marshall has 13 catches for 119 yards with four touchdowns, including three at San Francisco. The 6-foot-3 Alshon Jeffery has eight catches for 118 yards. Both were productive against the 49ers despite being question marks because of injuries: Marshall with an ankle injury; Jeffery with an ailing hamstring.

The Jets will also have to be aware of 6-6 playmaking tight end Martellus Bennett, who leads the Bears with 15 catches and has two TDs.

HOLMES-COMING: The game marks the return of wide receiver Santonio Holmes to MetLife Stadium against his former team.

Holmes played the last four seasons with the Jets, a span that was marked by injuries and questions about his attitude. Jets coach Rex Ryan disagreed with the notion that Holmes was a divisive presence in the locker room at times.

"You know what? He's not perfect, OK? But nobody is," Ryan said. "I appreciated Tone for being who he is. He means well and he plays his butt off. I appreciated it."

Holmes signed with the Bears in the offseason, and has four catches for 41 yards in a limited role so far.

MARSHALL CASE: With off-field issues dominating the news around the league, a case involving Marshall a few years ago resurfaced during the week.

The father of a woman who once dated Marshall recounted abuse allegations in a news conference, and claimed he wrote the NFL about his daughter's case but never got a response. Marshall, playing for Denver at the time, served a one-game suspension in the case in 2008.

"Brandon has the full support of the Chicago Bears," general manager Phil Emery said in a statement.

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AP Sports Writer Andrew Seligman in Lake Forest, Illinois, contributed.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP\_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Dennis Waszak Jr.

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