The New York Giants finally got it right.
Last week they almost came back in the second half before losing to Dallas 34-28. This time, they not only took charge but dominated the third quarter Monday night on their way to a 27-14 victory over the Chicago Bears."We needed to pick up where we had left off last week and build on it," said coach Ray Handley. "It seemed like we responded with big plays when we needed to tonight."
It was New York's first victory of the season after losses to San Francisco and Dallas, and it also left the Bears with a 1-2 record.
"We were outcoached, we were outplayed and we were outhit," said Chicago coach Mike Ditka, who took the blame for an option pass by fullback Brad Muster that was intercepted by Greg Jackson in a key situation. The Bears had a 14-7 lead in the second quarter when Trace Armstrong stripped Jarrod Bunch and recovered the fumble on the New York 25. On the first play, Muster's pass was intercepted and the game seemed to turn around.
"It was an ill-designed play that was my fault. I take the blame for that," said Ditka.
More important, the Giants seemed to take charge after that.
The Bears took a 7-0 lead on Jim Harbaugh's 8-yard touchdown pass to Neal Anderson in the first quarter. The Giants responded with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Phil Simms to Howard Cross.
The Bears made it 14-7 when Muster "picked off" a Harbaugh pass that was designated for Wendell Davis. Muster slapped the ball into the air, caught it and turned it into a 44-yard touchdown play and a 14-7 lead.
Moments later came the Muster option pass and the momentum swung.
Another interception, by Everson Walls of a Harbaugh pass, led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Rodney Hampton and a 14-14 halftime tie.
The Giants took the second-half kickoff and marched 80 yards in 11 plays, with Simms hitting Stephen Baker with a 13-yard touchdown pass for a 21-14 lead. It was their first lead of the season.