The Chicago Bears aren't ready to be written off just yet.
A stunning 28-20 victory over San Francisco on Sunday breathed life into the Bears after a dismal overtime loss at home to Buffalo loss to start the season. Chicago is 1-1 with some major momentum after pulling out a win against a top team on the road.
"It is kind of like when you think your girlfriend is about to break up with you, and then she changes her mind," tight end Martellus Bennett said. "That is what it feels like. These guys worked hard all week. I'm super excited to see guys have the chance to make plays and step up when we needed them to step up. That was a hard fought game."
The Bears will try to make it back-to-back wins when they visit the New York Jets on Monday night. Against San Francisco, the Bears trailed 17-0 in the first half and looked like they were on their way to another loss.
But they turned it around. Jay Cutler threw four touchdown passes — three to Brandon Marshall — and the defense came through with four takeaways.
"As I told the team, as you go on this marathon of a football season, you're going to have opportunities to gain some backbone, and I think this really helped us and will help us," coach Marc Trestman said.
One sour note for Chicago: The injuries continued to mount.
The defense suffered losses across the board with cornerback Charles Tillman and four other key players getting hurt. That added to an already long list, with center Roberto Garza and left guard Matt Slauson sitting out with ankle injuries and Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) playing through pain.
Tillman left the game with an injury to his right triceps after shoving Michael Crabtree out of bounds in the third quarter and wept on the sideline. It was the same muscle he tore last season, requiring surgery, and losing the two-time Pro Bowl pick again would be a significant blow.
"I hated it," linebacker Lance Briggs said. "I told him that I really hope for the best once he gets his tests done. We had a lot of guys go down today, hopefully they are minor and we can move on from there."
It wasn't just Tillman who went down.
A lunging safety Chris Conte picked off a pass by Colin Kaepernick intended for Anquan Boldin, but he banged his left shoulder and left the game. He sat out the offseason program as well as the first two preseason games after having surgery on his right shoulder. Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), Sherrick McManis (quadriceps) and defensive end Trevor Scott (foot) also got banged up.
But along with the injuries, there were some promising developments for the Bears.
There were two late interceptions by rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller. Defensive end Willie Young had two sacks to give him three on the season, and Cutler came through in a huge spot.
He threw three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to lift Chicago after throwing a big interception down the stretch against Buffalo. That doesn't erase the ill-advised across-the-body pass that got picked off by the Bills, but at least he delivered this time in a big spot.
"It's hard to win every week, especially on the road. We knew they were going to be amped up with opening up the new stadium and all of the Hall-of-Fame guys coming back," Cutler said. "We just kind of had to weather the storm and we have to take a look at this film on Tuesday, break it down, and then we have to move on. We can't really dwell on this. There's a lot of football left, so we just have to kind of keep building on this and get better and better each week."
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