Bears hold off Jets 27-19

EAST RUTHERFORD—Bears coach Marc Trestman needed a few extra minutes to clear his head.His team took advantage of mistakes by the New York Jets to jump to an early lead, but then things got a little too close for comfort in a 27-19 win Monday night.

”It was quite a game,” Trestman said. ”I thought we played an excellent football team. They have the ability to run it and they play terrific defense. I’m just proud of our football team. It was a team win.”

Jay 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.The Jets (1-2) had one last opportunity to tie, getting into Bears territory on Geno Smith’s 51-yard pass to Greg Salas. But Jeremy Kerley was out of bounds in the back of the end zone when he made a leaping grab of Smith’s desperation fourth-down heave from the Bears 9.Cutler took a knee three times to seal the victory for the Bears (2-1).

”We just have to ride this momentum,” Cutler said.

Smith was 26 of 43 for 316 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions – and nearly had a few others. 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 lost wide receiver Eric Decker in the first half to a hamstring injury; he was questionable for the game with tightness in the hamstring. Decker said he pulled himself out when he couldn’t get it loosened up. Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson also left with an injured right knee, but Ryan didn’t think it was serious.The Bears went up 14-0 just over five minutes into the game.On New York’s second play from scrimmage, Smith didn’t see Mundy lurking in the flat as he floated a screen pass to Chris Johnson. Mundy stepped in front of the toss and ran untouched into the end zone for a 45-yard score.

”I put ourselves in a hole with the interception for a touchdown,” Smith said. ”We definitely chipped away and had a chance to win at the end.”

After the Jets stopped the Bears on three plays on their first offensive series, rookie Jalen Saunders dropped Patrick O’Donnell’s punt at his 40 and it was recovered by Ahmad Dixon. Cutler threw deep down the right sideline to Jeffery one play later, and cornerback Darrin Walls was called for pass interference to put the ball at the Jets 7.Three plays later, Cutler rolled right and found Bennett in the back of the end zone to make it 14-0 – and get the MetLife Stadium crowd booing.

”There is a little lack of respect for me as a tight end,” Bennett said. ”It’s kind of like a chip on my shoulder. They never really mention me.”

The Jets got on the scoreboard on their next possession, capping an 11-play, 55-drive with Nick Folk’s 43-yard field goal.The Bears answered with a 15-play, 79-yard drive helped by cornerback Antonio Allen’s holding penalty on a third-down incompletion by Cutler. Gould’s 24-yard field goal gave the Bears a 17-3 lead 66 seconds into the second quarter.New York cut the deficit to 17-13 with a 77-yard drive on which Kerley accounted for 51 – including a 19-yard touchdown.A video review reversed a call late in the half on which the Jets might have taken the lead. Cutler was sacked by David Harris and lost the ball, but was declared down by contact. A review showed Cutler had fumbled, but Demario Davis’ return to the end zone was negated because the whistle had blown.The Jets then went three-and-out.The Bears opened the second half aggressively, marching 80 yards on six plays and capping the drive with Bennett’s 13-yard touchdown catch to make it 24-13. The Bears nearly had a 12-yard TD by Brandon Marshall earlier in the drive, but it was wiped out by a hands-to-the-face penalty on left guard Michael Ola.The Jets also blew a possible scoring drive when Smith was intercepted by Kyle Fuller on a poorly thrown pass to David Nelson in the end zone on first-and-10 from the Bears 18.

”You can’t force it in that situation,” Ryan said. ”You learn from it.”

NOTES—Bears fullback Tony Fiammetta injured a hamstring and safety Chris Conte hurt his left shoulder. Neither returned. … Mundy also sat out portions of the game with a shoulder injury. … The Jets announced that late owner Leon Hess and former wide receiver Wayne Chrebet will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor on Dec. 1.

Hogs rout NIU 52-14 to end Huskies Regular Season wnning streak.

 

FAYETTEVILLE—Arkansas is flat out having fun with its sudden turnaround at this point.Korliss Marshall returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and Brandon Allen accounted for three touchdowns as Arkansas won its third straight game with a 52-14 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday night.The win for the Razorbacks (3-1) snapped a 17-game road winning streak for the Huskies, whose last road loss came at Central Michigan in 2011.After extending a school-worst losing streak to 10 games to open the season, Arkansas has outscored its last three opponents by a combined 125 points, 174-49.Allen was 15-of-22 passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns for the Razorbacks; he also ran for a score.Drew Hare threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns for Northern Illinois (3-1), which lost its first regular season game since 2012.Arkansas earned its first win over a power five conference team under second-year coach Bret Bielema with a 49-28 win at Texas Tech last week.Marshall wasted little time in carrying that momentum forward against the two-time defending Mid-American Conference champion on Saturday, following the blocks of Khalia Hackett and Keon Hatcher before sprinting for the opening touchdown.The kickoff return for a score to open the game was Arkansas’ first since Dennis Johnson did the same against Missouri State in 2009.The outcome was rarely in doubt after that, thanks in large part to the rejuvenated Allen – who played much of last season with a shoulder injury that limited his practice time and effectiveness.The junior connected for touchdown passes to Jared Cornelius and Hatcher, and his 2-yard touchdown scramble in the third quarter put the Razorbacks up 35-7. Allen now has eight touchdown passes and only one interception this season.Hatcher capped the Arkansas fun early in the fourth quarter, catching a 44-yard touchdown pass from Allen to put the Razorbacks up 45-14. The junior finished with six catches for 107 yards and the score.Northern Illinois entered the game no stranger to playing some of the top teams in the country, having defeated three Big Ten Conference teams during its road winning streak and playing in the Orange Bowl following the 2012 season. The Huskies, however, were overmatched by their Southeastern Conference opponent – with their rushing offense, which ranked 7th nationally (325.3 yards per game) entering the week, held to 123 yards by Arkansas.Defensive end Trey Flowers had nine tackles in the win, including a sack and forced fumble for the Razorbacks.Hare had touchdown throws to Aregeros Turner and Joel Bouagnon, but NI U trailed 28-7 at halftime and never threatened in the second half.

Illini rally past Texas State 42-35

CHAMPAIGN—Illinois combined two touchdowns and 190 yards rushing from Josh Ferguson with the kind of desperate, second-half comeback the Illini have relied on all season to escape Texas State on Saturday, 42-35.All three Illinois (3-1) wins this season have come after trailing in the second half.The game was delayed for almost two hours by lightning that started in the second quarter. Before the delay the game was almost all Texas State (1-2). And after, the Illini clawed back.Texas State built a 21-6 second-quarter lead.But the Illini scored 17 fourth-quarter points to put the game away.Wes Lunt threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns for the Illini.Tyler Jones threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns. He ran for another score.Texas State didn’t make many mistakes Saturday. But two in the fourth quarter cost the Bobcats dearly.Illinois trailed 28-25 and was faced with a fourth down at the Bobcats 16. Backup kicker David Reisner converted the field goal but Texas State’s David Mims knocked him down, giving Illinois an automatic first down.Four plays later Lunt hit receiver Mike Dudek on the run in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown and a 32-28 lead with 7:42 left in the game.Even then, Texas State wasn’t done.An Illini field goal made the lead 35-28 but the Bobcats got the ball back with 3 minutes left.Jones had been on so much of the day, making all the right decisions in the Bobcats’ option offense.But on a first down at his own 39, he threw left and found no one but Illini cornerback V’Angelo Bentley. The speedy Bentley covered the 45 yards between him and the end zone in a hurry and Illinois had breathing room at 42-28.Jones was the reason a struggling Illinois team found itself down early.On the Bobcats’ first scoring drive on a third-and-12 at the Illini 28 yard line, the sophomore quarterback turned what was about to be a big sack by linebacker Mason Monheim into a first-and-goal at the 4. Monheim sprinted through on a screen and hit Jones, but the quarterback just managed to flip the ball to running back Robert Lowe who ran for the first down.Two plays later, Jones looked ready to hand the ball off but instead pulled up and threw to a wide-open Ben Ijah in the back of the end zone. The Bobcats were up 7-6.On the Bobcats’ next scoring drive, Jones turned a likely loss into an 8-yard run, reversing field away from three would-be tacklers. Three plays later he hit Jafus Gaines on an 11-yard scoring pass. With the extra point, Texas State was up 14-6 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.With 13:35 left in the second quarter, officials delayed the game, sending teams to their locker rooms fans into the stadium concourses just ahead of a driving rain and lightning storm.And after the break, the Illini offense woke up.Ferguson finished off a quick Illinois drive with a badly needed 2-yard touchdown that pulled Illinois to within 21-13.After the abbreviated 12-minute halftime, Illinois picked up where it left off.First, the defense forced a three-and-out against a Bobcats offense that had been piling up yards.Then Bentley gave the Illini terrific field position with a 40-yard punt return to the Texas State 33.And finally Ferguson barreled all 33 of those yards to the goal line after a short pass from Lunt, diving into the end for a touchdown that pulled the Illini back to within two points, 21-19.The Illini went for two and failed, but after trailing by 15 – and it could have been more – they were back in the game.

NU finally gets win, 24-7 over underwhelming Western Illinois

EVANSTON—Solomon Vault rushed for two touchdowns, Justin Jackson had 92 yards rushing and a score, and Northwestern snapped a six-game home losing streak with a 24-7 victory over Western Illinois on Saturday.Vault and Jackson, both freshmen running backs, led the way as the Wildcats amassed 166 yards on the ground. Jackson had 21 carries for an average of 4.4 yards, while Vault had 31 yards on six carries, an average of 5.2.Quarterback Trevor Siemian was 15 of 25 for 117 yards.Northwestern (2-1) had lost nine of 10 games going back to last season. The Wildcats began last season with four straight wins and finished at 5-7.Northwestern opened this season with losses against California (31-24) and Northern Illinois (23-15).Western Illinois (2-2) lost despite having a 376-283 advantage in total yards.Quarterback Trenton Norvell was 29 of 50 for 292 yards with a touchdown and an interception for WIU. Wide receiver Lance Lenoir had 11 receptions for 115 yards.Defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo had three forced fumbles and one recovery to lead an NU defense that gave up yards but didn’t allow the Fighting Leathernecks to score after their first offensive possession.Northwestern took a 7-0 lead on its first possession on a 1-yard run by Vault to cap a nine-play, 70-yard drive. But Western Illinois answered on its first possession with a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped by a 4-yard scoring pass from Norvell to Joey Borsellino for a 7-7 tie.Vault then put the Wildcats back on top 14-7 with an 11-yard touchdown run with 10:54 remaining in the first half. That drive covered just 17 yards and was set up by a sack and fumble recovery by Odenigbo.The Leathernecks racked up 243 yards of total offense (compared with 147 for NU), but couldn’t complete drives. They had a 40-yard field-goal attempt blocked with 6 seconds remaining in the half.The momentum of the blocked field goal seemed to carry over into the second half. NU forced a punt after WIU received the second-half kickoff and stretched its lead to 21-7 with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive capped by a 21-yard TD run by Jackson.Western maintained its edge in total yards in the second half, but three turnovers – two fumbles and an interception by NU cornerback Nick VanHoose – helped keep the Leathernecks scoreless.

GROBBER’S WEEK THREE NFL PICK

Devin Hester was handing out hugs after breaking an NFL record on Thursday. (CBS)
Devin Hester was handing out hugs after breaking an NFL record on Thursday. (CBS)

Thur Night: ATLANTA over Tampa Bay
Sunday afternoon:
BUFFALO over San Diego
CINCINNATI over Tennessee
CLEVELAND over Baltimore
Indianapolis over JACKSONVILLE
NEW ENGLAND over Oakland
MIAMI over Kansas City
PHILADELPHIA over Washington
Dallas over ST.LOUIS
ARIZONA over San Francisco
NY GIANTS over Houston
SEATTLE over Denver
Sun Night: CAROLINA over Pittsburgh
NFC North Games:
DETROIT over Green Bay
NEW ORLEANS over Minnesota
Bears over NY JETS
HOME TEAMS in ALL CAPS
Last Week: 7-9, Through 2 weeks: 19-13

Peanut Tillman on season ending I.R.

Charles Tillman was fighting back tears after being injured on Sunday. (NBC)
Charles Tillman fights back tears after being injured Sunday against San Francisco. 

LAKE FOREST—For the second straight season, a triceps injury is going to end Charles “Peanut” Tillman’s season. Tillman, who re-injured his right triceps Sunday night against San Francisco, has been placed on season-ending injured reserve, the Bears announced on Monday.Tillman was injured in the third quarter of the Bears 28-20 win over the 49ers. Tillman appeared to be in considerable pain and seemed to know that his season might be over as he fought back tears on the sideline.The 33-year-old missed the final eight games of 2013 after tearing his triceps in Week 9 against the Lions. The Bears placed Tillman on IR-return last season, but they couldn’t do that this year because the designation can only be used once and the team used it on wide receiver Marquess Wilson.Tillman has been with the Bears since they selected him in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft, but the cornerback’s time here could be coming to an end.The 12-year-veteran was playing this season on a one-year deal. It’s hard to imagine the Bears bringing back an aging corner who has dealt with two devastating injuries the last two years.The two-time Pro Bowler has started 156 games in his career, the third-most in Bears history.

Bears wake up late in first half, stun Niners 28-20 in opening game of Levi’s Stadium

SANTA CLARA—Brandon Marshall walked up to Jay Cutler and planted a congratulatory kiss on his quarterback’s head.No doubt the admiration and appreciation – relief, too – went both ways. Down big, Cutler kept his poise on the road. Marshall relied on adrenaline to carry him on a bum ankle, cleared to play just 90 minutes before kickoff.Cutler found Marshall for two of his three fourth-quarter touchdown passes after much of the Bears starting defense went down, and they beat the San Francisco 49ers 28-20 Sunday night to spoil their Levi’s Stadium debut.

”The defense did a great job giving us short fields, causing turnovers and keeping it close enough so that we could get back in it,” Cutler said.

Cutler and Marshall clicked as the Bears erased a late 13-point deficit and quieted the sellout crowd. Cutler threw for two scores in a 27-second span early in the final period, aided by the gutsy play of a backup cornerback.Kyle Fuller made two late interceptions for the depleted  secondary, and the first set up the go-ahead score.

”We all still had confidence, we knew we were going to pull it out,” said Fuller, the Bears’ first-round pick in this year’s draft.

Kaepernick was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for ”inappropriate language” following Fuller’s first big play. That gave the Bears first-and-goal on the 3, and Cutler threw a 3-yard TD pass to Martellus Bennett for a 21-20 lead.Kaepernick threw three interceptions in all, lost a fumble and his cool, a far cry from his breakout start on the Monday night stage nearly two years ago in a rout of the Bears. Cutler sat out that night with a concussion.

”We hurt ourselves,” Kaepernick said, insisting he didn’t say anything wrong.

A sloppy game filled with 26 penalties – 16 by the Niners – and a crazy collapse overshadowed the fanfare of the regular-season debut for the sparkling $1.2 billion stadium.The Bears (1-1), in a stretch with six of eight games on the road, go home with some serious momentum despite injuries on both sides of the ball. Cutler finished 23 of 34 for 176 yards and four TDs.

”Jay has had an excellent start to the season minus one play,” coach Marc Trestman said. ”He led the way this whole week.”

Five key defenders are hurt: cornerbacks Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) and Charles Tillman (triceps), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion). Trestman had no updates on the injured players.The 49ers (1-1) had a 17-7 halftime lead, but missed an opportunity to grab an early lead in the NFC West after the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks lost earlier in the day at San Diego.

”This is very disappointing, our first game in the new stadium,” linebacker Patrick Willis said. ”We put the loss on us as a football team. … We have to cut down on the penalties.”

Michael Crabtree caught a touchdown pass on his 27th birthday for one of his seven receptions, and Frank Gore ran for a score but also had his 54-yard TD burst negated by Anquan Boldin‘s costly holding penalty.Cutler helped the Bears get on the board with a 25-yard run late in the first half. He took a jarring hit from Quinton Dial with 56 seconds remaining, but stayed in the game and threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Marshall, who made a leaping, one-handed catch to pull the ball into his body as he fell into the end zone.

”I just threw my hand out there and it stuck,” Marshall cracked.

What a way for the Bears to forget that bitter 23-20 overtime loss to the Bills at home in Week 1.San Francisco didn’t give the ball away once in a season-opening win at Dallas.In the first half, the 49ers outgained the Bears 197-93 and out-penalized them 10-7 for 85 lost yards. The much-scrutinized field featured visible chunks of loose sod after new grass was laid for a third time since April.Kaepernick made his first career start against the Bears in November 2012, and then held onto the No. 1 job over Alex Smith.A concussion to now-Chiefs QB Smith thrust Kaepernick into the spotlight that night, and he threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns as the Niners pounded the Bears 32-7.The 49ers were embarrassed at home for the second time in a month. They lost 34-0 in a rout by Denver in the first preseason game in the new stadium.The Bears patchwork offensive line looked shaky early with center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson each sidelined by ankle injuries.

”We played four quarters tonight,” Trestman said. ”The guys gathered themselves and went back to work.”

NOTES—San Francisco TEs Vance McDonald (knee) and Vernon Davis (ankle) were hurt. … The 49ers lost a home opener for the first time under fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh.

Irish pull away from Purdue in Shamrock Series game.

INDIANAPOLIS—Everett Golson was quick on his feet Saturday night.He had to be. With Amir Carlisle out with an injured right knee, the offense struggling, an already short-handed defense getting even thinner, and an uncharacteristic series of miscues, Golson did what he does best – tucked the ball and improvised.The senior quarterback scrambled for a 15-yard touchdown just before halftime to erase Notre Dame’s first deficit of the season, kept a second-half TD drive going with a 17-yard completion on the run and helped the 11th-ranked Fighting Irish score the final 20 points to pull away from rival Purdue 30-14. ”He just understands the game,” coach Brian Kelly said. ”The game is slower for him than it was when he was here in his first year. The game has slowed down. He sees the field better. He can see it better. He’s not there yet. We missed some things tonight that would have changed the complexion of the game.” No, it wasn’t easy for the Irish to get to 3-0 for the second time in three years, the first time Notre Dame has done that since four straight years from 1987-90. And there wasn’t much celebrating, either.Carlisle left in the first quarter with a sprained medical collateral ligament in his right knee and did not return. Safety Max Redfield was ejected in the second quarter after being called for targeting, safety Nicky Baratti re-injured his shoulder on the next play and starting cornerback Cole Luke left later with a neck injury.So Golson put the burden to do more on his shoulders – and legs – and the guy who led the Fighting Irish to the national championship game two seasons ago took control as one of the few offensive players in sync.Golson finished 25 of 40 for 259 yards with two touchdown passes and ran 18 times for a season-high 56 yards and one touchdown, the nifty scramble that gave Notre Dame the lead for good.The combination was good enough to send the Shillelagh Trophy back to South Bend, Indiana, for a seventh consecutive year, where it will stay until these teams resume the rivalry in 2020 following a five-year hiatus. The Shamrock Series has been played every year since 1946.With No. 6 Georgia losing to No. 24 South Carolina earlier Saturday, Notre Dame could crack the Top 10 for the first time this season – though Kelly isn’t convinced his team is playing that well yet. ”We’re still not a finished product by any means, we’re still such a young team,” Kelly said. ”At 3-0, we’re extremely pleased with where we are, but we know we’re nowhere close to where we need to be.” That may partially explain why this game again failed to follow the expected script.Purdue (1-2), which has traditionally played some of its best football against the Irish, delivered another strong performance exactly one week after a poor showing in a loss to Central Michigan.Quarterback Danny Etling kept the starting job and rewarded coach Darrell Hazell by going 27 of 40 for 234 yards with two touchdowns. He also had two interceptions.Brandon Cottom scored on a 7-yard TD pass in the first quarter to tie the score at 7, and Etling somehow managed to fit in a 19-yard TD pass to DeAngelo Yancey, who tip-toed the end line despite drawing a pass interference call, to give the Boilermakers a 14-10 lead with 3 minutes left in the first half.But against Golson’s improv act, it wasn’t enough.

Washington starts fast, blows out Illini 44-19

SEATTLE—Linebacker Shaq Thompson returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown, picked up a fumble and rumbled 52 yards for another score, and Washington routed Illinois 44-19 on Saturday, improving to 3-0 under Chris Petersen.Thompson became the first Washington player to score via fumble and interception in the same game since at least 1978, according to the school’s records. Thompson was on the verge of adding a TD on offense but stumbled on a 13-yard run when it looked like he had a clear path to the end zone.Washington quarterback Cyler Miles threw a 75-yard touchdown to John Ross as part of a 21-point blitz that took less than six minutes of the first half. Dwayne Washington’s 12-yard TD run gave the Huskies a 28-3 lead on the first play of the second quarter.Wes Lunt threw for 230 yards for the Fighting Illini (2-1), but was unable to take advantage of Washington’s depleted secondary. Illinois was trying for just the fifth 3-0 start in the past 25 years.Washington played without starting cornerbacks Marcus Peters (suspension) and Jermaine Kelly (injury) and it didn’t matter. After two shaky outings in squeaking past Hawaii and FCS power Eastern Washington, the Huskies put together a complete performance.Thompson was the catalyst. A week after racing 57 yards for a touchdown on offense, Thompson’s two defensive TDs were part of a 28-2 scoring run by the Huskies. Thompson stepped in front of Lunt’s pass and ran untouched for his first score, just four plays after Miles and Ross hooked up for their long touchdown.Then early in the second quarter, Lunt was stripped by Andrew Hudson as he attempted to move in the pocket. Washington’s John Timu shielded an Illinois player so Thompson had a clear path to scoop up the loose ball and run for his second touchdown and a 35-5 Washington lead.Miles was 15 of 20 passing for 191 yards and added another 55 yards rushing. If there is a complaint for Washington it might be the run game. Collectively, the Huskies finished with 245 yards rushing – most of those coming in the fourth quarter – but there was no standout ball carrier. Dwayne Washington had 58 yards rushing on 11 carries while Jesse Callier ran for 53 yards and had a 3-yard TD run for Washington’s first score.The effort was what Petersen was hoping to see after offense struggles in the opening win at Hawaii and the defensive concerns that arose after last week’s narrow victory over Eastern Washington.Cameron Van Winkle added field goals of 20, 25 and 51 yards.Geronimo Allison had six catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns, but was the bulk of the Illini offense. After throwing for 456 yards in last week’s win over Western Kentucky, Lunt was sacked five times and when he did have time missed open receivers. Illinois was 1 of 11 on third downs and committed 11 penalties.

GROBBER’S NFL WEEK TWO PICKS

Thurs: Pittsburgh over BALTIMORE
Sunday:BUFFALO over Miami
OAKLAND over Houston
DENVER over Kansas City
Arizona over NY GIANTS
TAMPA BAY over St.Louis
CINCINNATI over Atlanta
Jacksonville over WASHINGTON
New Orleans over CLEVELAND
Seattle over SAN DIEGO
TENNESSEE over Dallas
Mon Nite: INDIANAPOLIS over Philadelphia
NFC NORTH GAMES:
New England over MINNESOTA
CAROLINA over Detroit
GREEN BAY over NY Jets
SAN FRANCISCO over Bears

WEEK ONE: 12-4
HOME TEAMS in ALL CAPS.