EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears needed to claw back from a big deficit last week.
On Sept. 22, they had to hang on against the New York Jets.
“It was quite a game,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said after a 27-19 victory that wasn’t sealed until the final moments.
Even after spotting the Bears a 14-0 lead with early mistakes, the Jets had one last opportunity to tie, getting into Bears territory on Geno Smith’s 51-yard pass to Greg Salas.
But Jeremy Kerley came down out of bounds in the back of the end zone after making a leaping grab of Smith’s desperation fourth-down heave from the Bears 9.
Cutler then took a knee three times to seal the victory for the Bears (2-1). “We just have to ride this momentum,” Cutler said.
Last weekend, the Bears rallied from a 17-point deficit to beat the 49ers in Green Bay. They never trailed in this one, but they had a hard time putting away the Jets (1-2).
“It’s not so much that teams are beating us,” Jets linebacker Demario Davis said. “We’re beating ourselves, and you can’t do that in this league.”
New York was coming off a disappointing 31-24 loss at Green Bay in which it blew an 18-point lead. Smith was 26 of 43 for 316 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions — and nearly had a few others in this one.
Kerley finished with seven catches for 81 yards, and almost came up with a diving grab off a tipped pass in the end zone on the final drive.
“There were some plays you wish you could have back,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said. The Jets also scored just one touchdown in six trips into the red zone.
Cutler threw two touchdown passes to Martellus Bennett and Ryan Mundy returned an interception 45 yards for a score. Cutler finished 23 of 38 for 225 yards and Alshon Jeffery caught eight passes for 105 yards for the Bears, who got a 45-yard field goal from Robbie Gould to make it an eight-point game with 3:10 remaining.
(DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer)