EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Bears will look to win their second straight primetime road game Monday night when they battle the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Last Sunday night the Bears (1-1) outscored the 49ers 21-0 in the fourth quarter to turn a 20-7 deficit into a stunning 28-20 victory in the inaugural game at Levi's Stadium. The Jets (1-1) opened the season by beating the Raiders 17-14 before losing to the Packers 31-24.
The Jets entered Week 3 ranked first in the NFL in both run offense (179.0 yards per game) and run defense (52.5), the first team to do so after any week since the Minnesota Vikings at the end of the 2007 season.
Offensively, the Bears are 30th in the NFL in rushing, averaging just 66 yards per game. Jay Cutler threw touchdown passes on four straight possessions in last Sunday night's comeback win over the 49ers, but Kyle Long was limited to 21 yards on 12 carries.
"I was embarrassed," said right guard Kyle Long. "We need to run the ball. I know we got the win on the road and it was big. I'm sure everybody else in our room will echo that. So will Matt. You need to run the ball in the National Football League. We'll be better at that."
The Jets run defense hasn't allowed an opposing running back to gain more than 43 yards this season.
"It won't be easy," said coach Marc Trestman. "What we try to do is move the football and score touchdowns, and we're not opinionated in how we get that done. The fact of the matter is this is historically and I think will be one of the better run defenses in the league that we're going to face."
Defensively, the Bears rank 27th against the run. After yielding 193 yards on the ground in a Week 1 loss to the Buffalo Bills, they were much better against the 49ers, permitting 129 yards.
The Jets feature a strong 1-2 punch in running backs Chris Ivory (23 carries for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns) and Chris Johnson (25-89). Ivory runs with strength and power, while Johnson is faster and more elusive. Quarterback Geno Smith is also a threat as a runner on read-option plays. The second-year pro has rushed for 64 yards on 17 carries, including a 1-yard TD last Sunday in Green Bay.
"These guys take pride in running the football," said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. "They've got a number of really good players that they can give the ball to and get production in the run game. They have a very physical offensive line, a hard-nosed, ground-and-pound-type of mentality. You can see that on tape with these guys."
With five opening-day starters slated to miss Monday night's game due to injuries, the Bears' depth will be tested on both sides of the ball.
Linebacker Shea McClellin (hand), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion), center Roberto Garza (ankle) and left guard Matt Slauson (ankle) have been ruled out of the contest. Special teams standout Sherrick McManis (quad) also will not play.
They join cornerback Kyle Fuller, who was placed on injured reserve last Monday after suffering a torn right triceps against the 49ers.
The Bears lead the series with the Jets 7-3 and have won three in a row. In the last meeting between the teams on Dec. 26, 2010 at Soldier Field, the Bears rallied from a 21-10 second-quarter deficit as Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes in a 7:14 span in the third period en route to a 38-34 win. The Bears are 3-1 all-time on the road against the Jets.
In two career games against the Jets, Cutler has completed 40 of 68 passes for 572 yards with five touchdowns, two interceptions and a 98.4 rating. In five contests versus the Jets, receiver Brandon Marshall has 28 receptions for 396 yards and two TDs.