Bears 24

(6-0, 3-0 away)

Cardinals 23

(1-5, 1-3 home)

Coverage: ESPN/WatchESPN

8:30 PM ET, October 16, 2006

U of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ 

1 2 3 4 T
CHI 0 0 10 1424
ARI 14 6 3 023

Top Performers

Passing: M. Leinart (ARI) - 232 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: E. James (ARI) - 36 CAR, 55 YDS

Receiving: A. Boldin (ARI) - 12 REC, 136 YDS, 1 TD

Bears do-it-all defense keys epic comeback vs. Cards

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) -- Six turnovers, 3 points on offense, and somehow the Chicago Bears are still unbeaten.

Elias Says
The Chicago Bears' amazing win over the Arizona Cardinals was a statistician's dream. A sampling of some of Monday's oddities:

• It was the first win in Bears history in which they trailed by at least 20 points in the second half.

• The Cardinals are the first team in NFL history to lose consecutive games in one season after leading by at least 14 points at the end of the first quarter in each game.

• In Monday's loss to the Bears, Matt Leinart became the first player in NFL history to throw at least two first-quarter touchdown passes in each of his first two career starts.

• Rex Grossman completed only 14 of 37 passes (38%), threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles on Monday and the Bears still won.

• The last time a team won on the road while committing as many as six turnovers was almost 20 years ago: on Dec. 21, 1986.

And that's not all. To read more on this game and the rest of Elias Says, click here

Somehow, some way, the Bears rallied from 20 points down at halftime and escaped with a 24-23 victory in Arizona on Monday night, leaving the shellshocked Cardinals to ponder yet another excruciating late-game collapse.

"Sometimes, when you're a team of destiny, things like that happen," Chicago coach Lovie Smith said.

The Bears are off to their best start in 20 years at 6-0. For that, they can thank their defense, punt returner Devin Hester and Arizona kicker Neil Rackers.

Rex Grossman gets no credit for this one.

"I've never played so bad and won a game like that," said the Bears quarterback, who threw four interceptions and lost two fumbles. "It was unbelievable."

Down 20-0 at halftime, Chicago returned two fumbles for touchdowns in the second half. Then Hester returned a punt 83 yards for a score with 2:58 remaining to take the lead.

Matt Leinart, who threw two first-quarter touchdowns and finished 24-for-42 for 232 yards, coolly directed Arizona downfield at the finish for a chance to claim a victory that appeared to be the Cardinals' all night.

But Rackers, a Pro Bowl kicker last season who connected from 41, 28 and 29 yards earlier in the evening, missed a 41-yarder to the left with 53 seconds left for what would have been the game winner for Arizona (1-5).

"I was ready to hit it," he said. "Unfortunately I hit the ground first, then I felt extremely sick to my stomach for my teammates and coaches and everybody else who deserved to win this game."

Just last week, he missed a 51-yard attempt at the finish that would have sent the game against Kansas City into overtime.

Arizona coach Dennis Green was seething. Judging by his comments, he clearly didn't believe the Bears lived up to the hype -- or deserved to win.

"The Bears are who we thought they were!" he said, yelling at the top of his lungs and pounding on the podium at his postgame press conference. "Now, if you want to crown them, then crown [them]! But they are who [we] thought they were! And we let them off the hook!"

Green then stormed away.

Anquan Boldin caught 12 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown for the Cardinals, who blew a late lead at home for the third time this season. Similar collapses occurred against St. Louis and Kansas City.

"The way things have turned out is just unreal," Edgerrin James said. "This is some of the weirdest stuff I have ever seen in these past six weeks."

Scouts Inc.'s Take
Chicago Bears
Brian Urlacher refused to lose. Overcoming the horrific effort of Chicago QB Rex Grossman, a 20-point second-half deficit and an excellent performance by Arizona rookie quarterback Matt Leinart, Chicago's defense absolutely took over in the fourth quarter.

Arizona, again, found a way to lose. Leinart was outstanding and in total control, and the Cardinals' defense totally dominated the Bears. After the amazing Chicago comeback, Leinart showed excellent leadership, leading the Cardinals down the field to set up the potential winning field goal that Neil Rackers missed for the second consecutive week.

Dennis Green has Arizona playing well, but the Cardinals must find a way to overcome the mentality of not finishing games. Great teams find a way to win and the Bears did just that tonight.

James carried 36 times for only 55 yards, an average of 1.5 yards. It was the most carries in an NFL game by a player while averaging less than 2 yards per attempt, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

James also had one very costly fumble.

After Grossman threw his fourth interception, the Cardinals were trying to use up time. But Brian Urlacher stripped the ball from James and Charles Tillman scooped it up for a 40-yard return to cut Arizona's lead to 23-17 with five minutes left.

Urlacher finished with 11 tackles, seeming to find his way to the ball on nearly every play as the Cardinals were making their final drives.

"First of all they weren't blocking me, so that was easy," Urlacher said.

On their next possession, the Cardinals were forced to punt. Hester caught the ball, broke a few arm tackles and weaved around hapless defenders as he sprinted upfield, scoring his second punt return for a touchdown this season and giving Chicago the lead for the first time all night.

In addition to his four picks, Grossman fumbled the ball away twice and struggled to hit receivers when he did manage to get the ball cleanly away, going 14-for-37 for 148 yards. With their offense suddenly punchless, the Bears' defense provided the points.

The first came when defensive end Mark Anderson broke through untouched and blindsided Leinart, forcing a fumble that Mike Brown returned 3 yards for a touchdown that cut the lead to 23-10 with two seconds left in the third quarter.

Chicago entered the game with five turnovers in five games, 10 fewer than its foes. But it was evident early that this would be a frightful night with the roof open for the first time in Arizona's extravagant new stadium.

"In the NFL, when you have six turnovers, you lose," Bears defensive end Alex Brown said. "If you're fortunate enough to win, somebody upstairs is looking out for you."

Four of the turnovers helped the Cardinals to a 20-0 halftime lead in Arizona's first Monday night appearance since 1999.

"We have a lot of character in that locker room," Smith said. "We just got together at halftime and just said 'We're not going to go out like that. We're a lot better football team.'"

The Bears steamrolled into town with a fierce defense and an efficient offense that had blown out Seattle and Buffalo by a combined 77-13 score their previous two games.

But Leinart, in his second NFL start, ran the offense with precision and poise at the start, becoming the first rookie to throw a pair of first-quarter TD passes in his first two starts. This time, he did it without Pro Bowl receiver Larry Fitzgerald, sidelined with a hamstring injury, against a Chicago defense that had allowed two touchdowns all season.

Accustomed to the bright lights that came with three national championship game appearances at USC, Leinart was anything but intimidated. He was 5-for-5 on a 12-play, 77-yard touchdown drive on Arizona's opening attack.

"He's a good quarterback," Urlacher said. "He's young, we tried to throw a lot of stuff at him. He took care of the football, didn't have any interceptions. But we made the plays when we had to."

Game notes

Ex-Cardinal and CBS analyst Dan Dierdorf was added to the team's ring of honor before the game. ... The Cardinals are 12-26 in Green's three seasons with the team. ... Chicago's Thomas Jones managed just 39 yards in 11 carries.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


Team Stat Comparison

1st Downs917
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
Total Plays5581
Total Yards168286
Yards per play3.13.5
Total Drives1718
Yards per pass
Interceptions thrown
Sacks-Yards Lost
Rushing Attempts
Yards per rush
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-11-4
Fumbles lost
Interceptions thrown
Defensive / Special Teams TDs30

Passing Leaders


Rushing Leaders


Receiving Leaders


Scoring Summary

ariTD7:12Bryant Johnson, 11 yd pass from Matt Leinart (Neil Rackers kick is good)
Drive info: 12 plays, 77 yds, 6:52
ariTD1:02Anquan Boldin, 26 yd pass from Matt Leinart (Neil Rackers kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 25 yds, 1:32
ariFG4:25Neil Rackers 41 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 10 yds, 3:50
ariFG0:02Neil Rackers 28 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 22 yds, 2:10
chiFG7:24Robbie Gould 23 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 64 yds, 5:49
ariFG1:52Neil Rackers 29 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 13 plays, 49 yds, 5:35
chiTD0:08Mike Brown, 3 yd fumble return (Robbie Gould kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 3 yds, 0:42
chiTD5:11Charles Tillman, 40 yd fumble return (Robbie Gould kick is good)
Drive info: 1 plays, 42 yds, 0:42
chiTD3:17Devin Hester, 83 yd punt return (Robbie Gould kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 14 yds, 2:02