It's happened far too infrequently this season, but the Bears could produce a guidebook on how to play complementary football based on their performance Sunday at Soldier Field.
With their offense and defense working together, the Bears jumped to a quick 14-0 lead and cruised to a 29-3 drubbing of the Giants.
The defense generated takeaways on New York's first two possessions and the offense converted those turnovers into TDs.
"They didn't let up all day," said quarterback Andy Dalton, who passed for 173 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a 63.2 passer rating in his first start since Dec. 5 against the Cardinals. "Our defense played unbelievable all day. They kept giving us great field position, kept giving us good opportunities."
On the first play of Sunday's game, an unblocked Trevis Gipson sacked quarterback Mike Glennon, forcing a fumble that Bilal Nichols scooped up and returned 12 yards to the Giants' 2. On the next snap, David Montgomery's 2-yard touchdown run gave the Bears a 7-0 lead.
Montgomery's TD just :18 into the game was the fastest by the Bears since Dec. 11, 2008 when Danieal Manning returned the opening kickoff 83 yards for a score in :12 in a 27-24 win over the Saints at Soldier Field.
The Bears defense generated a second straight takeaway when Artie Burns deflected a Glennon pass that was intercepted by Tashaun Gipson Sr., who returned it 31 yards to the Giants' 24.
The Bears converted the turnover into Dalton's 4-yard touchdown pass to Darnell Mooney on fourth-and-2, increasing their lead to 14-0 with 8:08 remaining in the first quarter.
The Giants closed the gap to 14-3, but the Bears scored the game's final 15 points, recording their most lopsided win since a 36-7 victory over the Texans Dec. 13, 2020 at Soldier Field. The Bears (6-10) have now won two straight games after dropping eight of nine contests.
"I appreciated it for the players to be able to have this because they deserve it and it's nice," said coach Matt Nagy. "It's nice to have one where you're able to be in control from the first play to the last play."
The defense on Sunday did not allow a touchdown for the first time this year, permitted a season-low 151 yards, registered a safety and generated four takeaways and four sacks. In addition, the unit held the Giants to 1-of-11 on third down and 0-of-1 on fourth down.
"That defense just balled out," Nagy said. "They played hard. The effort from these guys is what really jumps out to me, and we appreciate that."
"Defense played an outstanding game," Mooney said. "Interceptions, sacks, fumble recoveries, everything. I give it all to the defense, for sure."
Facing his former team, Glennon completed just 4 of 11 passes for 24 yards and a 5.3 passer rating. He committed four turnovers, with two interceptions and two lost fumbles both on sacks by Trevis Gipson.
After the teams traded field goals, the Bears extended their lead to 19-3 when Angelo Blackson tackled running back Devontae Booker in the end zone for a safety with :52 left in the first half. The officials initially ruled that Booker had gotten out of the end zone. But the call was reversed following a replay review, much to the delight of the crowd.
After the Bears received the free kick, Dalton completed passes of 18 and 17 yards to Mooney, setting up Cairo Santos' 44-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, increasing their lead to 22-3.
The Bears opened the second half with an 11-play, 75-yard drive capped by Montgomery's 2-yard touchdown run, widening the margin to 29-3.
The rest of the second half was fairly uneventful—with one exception. With a sack of Glennon midway through the fourth quarter, Robert Quinn set the Bears' single-season sack record. With his 18th sack of the season, he eclipsed the 17.5 that Hall of Famer Richard Dent compiled in 1984.
"For Robert to be able to get the sack record was neat," Nagy said. "He hasn't and doesn't talk about it very often. That's who he is, but to see him get it was cool."
The Bears generated their fourth takeaway of the game with 3:36 to play when Deon Bush intercepted a Glennon pass that was deflected by Nichols and returned it 15 yards to the Giants' 15.
On fourth-and-4 from the 8, Montgomery took the shotgun snap out of the Wildcat formation, took a step forward and threw a jump pass intended for Cole Kmet. But Montgomery didn't put enough air under the ball and it was picked off at the goal line by linebacker Tae Crowder.
It was a rare miscue by the Bears—and one that came long after Sunday's one-sided game had been decided in their favor.
"It's nice to have one of these happen, for sure," Dalton said. "You know how this league is. You never know how it's going to go. Games are won a lot of different ways. It's just kind of where we've been at and kind of everything that's gone on this year, this one felt good to have this one go like this."
Follow the Bears' Week 17 matchup against the New York Giants from the sidelines as our photographers capture the best moments from Soldier Field.