EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Bears left MetLife Stadium with a stirring 27-19 victory over the New York Jets Monday night thanks in large part to their stingy red-zone defense.
They allowed a season-high 414 total yards, but the Bears permitted the Jets to score only one touchdown on six trips inside Chicago's 20-yard line.
"Our red-zone defense was excellent," coach Marc Trestman said after his team improved to 2-1. "We were able to make plays down there and hold them to three points. It was certainly significant defense in the outcome of the game."
The Jets settled for field goals after advancing to the Bears' 15, 10 and 2, threw an interception after reaching the 18 and turned the ball over on downs at the 9 in the game's final minute.
"That's one of our keys on defense; keep them out of the end zone and hold them to three,," said linebacker Jon Bostic. "We don't want them to score. Really we don't want them to get in the red zone so we can get good field position for our offense."
Bears rookies made four key plays in the red zone. Tackle Ego Ferguson forced the Jets to settle for a field goal when he recorded his first NFL sack, tackling Geno Smith for a 13-yard loss.
Cornerback Kyle Fuller stepped in front of receiver David Nelson to intercept a Smith pass in the back of the end zone in the third quarter. It was Fuller's third pick in the last two games.
Tackle Will Sutton later teamed with safety Danny McCray to drop Smith for a two-yard loss on third-and-goal from the 2, leading to another Jets field goal.
On the Jets' final play, tight coverage by safety Brock Vereen helped result in an incomplete pass on fourth-and-five from the 9, preserving the Bears' victory.
Ferguson, Fuller, Sutton and Vereen all saw expanded playing time Monday night due to injuries to veterans at their positions: tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), cornerback Kyle Fuller (triceps) and safeties Ryan Mundy (shoulder) and Chris Conte (shoulder).
"It's a credit to our coaches," Trestman said. "We went through this whole training camp saying that we were going to rotate guys around. We had a plan that we were going to work all these guys in. It's a credit to [defensive coordinator] Mel [Tucker] and our staff.
"You look out there and we're playing with Ego and Kyle and Brock Vereen on Monday Night Football three games into September. Our coaches have done a very good job getting them ready and our veteran players have certainly been a part of that preparation teaching them what it takes to play in this league, And there's no better way to learn than at 11 o'clock on Monday night. Sometimes that's where you get your best learning in."