Bears take first in the NFC North as they rally to beat the Cardinals 16-14

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GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 23: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals carries the ball against linebacker Roquan Smith #58 of the Chicago Bears in the first half of the NFL game at State Farm Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – Once again, a team from Arizona let the team from Chicago off the hook.

Fans might remember the epic Monday night comeback the Bears made in 2006 against the Cardinals, rallying from a 20-0 deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Arizona 24-23. It was a signature win in the Bears’ NFC Championship season, and led to the “They Are Who We Thought They Were” rant by the late Dennis Green.

While the halftime deficit wasn’t quite as severe in 2018, the Bears once again rode their defense to erase a Cardinals’ lead for a memorable victory at State Farm Stadium.

Oh, and it puts them in first place in the NFC North too.

The Bears rallied from 14-0 down in the first half and an 11-point deficit in the second half to beat Arizona 16-14 on Sunday night. A ferocious second half defense from Matt Nagy’s squad forced four turnovers that led directly to 13 Bears’ points that improved them to 2-1 on the season.

That record is good enough to leap both the Packers and the Vikings for first place in the division, the first time the Bears have been in that spot since December of 2013.

The finish certainly cleans up an ugly start for the Bears, which included Danny Trevathan getting his feet tangled up with Ricky Seals-Jones, which left him wide open for an easy touchdown pass from Sam Bradford on the first drive to make it 3-0. A promising first drive for the Bears was for nothing after Mitchell Trubisky took a 15-yard loss on a third down sack, which backed up a Cody Parkey field goal attempt to 46 yards, which he missed.

Trubisky’s struggles continued later in the quarter when he had the ball stripped by Robert Nkemdiche, which was recovered by Corey Peters at the Bears’ 21-yard line. Bradford found running back David Johnson for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.

Arizona penalties helped the Bears get on the board in the second as the Cardinals were twice whistled for roughing the passer fouls. The drive would stall at the Arizona 2-yard line, so the Bears settled for a short Parkey field goal to make it 14-0.

Like that 2006 game, the defense woke up after that. Eddie Jackson came up with an interception on a bad overthrow by Bradford to give the Bears the ball. For the only time all day, Trubisky would lead the offense to paydirt, going 67 yards in nine plays to set up a short Jordan Howard touchdown to make it 14-10.

On the next drive it was Sherrick McManis that came up with the interception on Bradford which led to a 41-yard kick by Parkey to get the Bears within one. Khalil Mack would make it three-in-a-row in the nick of time in the fourth quarter, as he stripped a diving Bradford of the football at the Bears’ 21-yard line to end another drive.

Yet again the Bears would drive into Cardinals’ territory but again settled with a Parkey field goal – this time from 43-yards out – to get their first lead of the day.

Injured on the previous drive, Bradford was lifted with 4:31 to go in favor of rookie Josh Rosen, who couldn’t crack the Bears’ defense. He was able to pick up two first downs to get into Bears’ territory, but the defense stiffened and Bryce Callahan’s interception on fourth down ended the drive.

Arizona got it back one more with 43 seconds left at their own 20 but the unit turned them back again. Eddie Jackson had a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown, put it was called back due to an offside call on Mack. No worry, McManis’ sack in the final seconds sealed yet another memorable win for the Bears in the desert.


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