Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/12/12
CHICAGO -- The Houston Texans not only beat the Chicago Bears at their own game Sunday night, but they did it with a lead performance -- both on and off the field -- from a former member of the Bears. Cornerback Danieal Manning, who switched teams before the 2011 season, fired up the Texans in a pregame speech and then forced two first-quarter turnovers in a 13-6 victory that left the Texans tied with Atlanta for the NFL's best record (8-1). "It was a special game for him, coming back, but it was a special game for all of us," Houston defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. The game was played in a steady downpour that contributed to sloppy play. The Bears (7-2), who had the league's best turnover margin, lost the ball three times in the first quarter and four times in the first half overall. Texans running back Arian Foster scored the game's only touchdown -- his league-leading 12th of the year -- on a diving, 2-yard catch of a Matt Schaub pass in the second quarter. All of the other scoring came on field goals -- two apiece by the Texans' Shayne Graham and the Bears' Robbie Gould. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was knocked out of the game with a concussion sustained on a second-quarter hit by linebacker Tim Dobbins, although the Texans were flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play. Foster rushed for 102 yards on 29 carries, most of it in the first half. In fact, the Texans managed only 54 yards on offense and three first downs after halftime, but their defense -- normally the trademark of the Bears -- maintained control of the game even though Chicago penetrated Houston's 40-yard line three times. "I don't know if I've ever been more proud of a team," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "It was obviously a very, very difficult night for offensive football. ... It was such a difficult night just to hang onto the ball." Manning insisted the game wasn't personal against his old teammates, but it clearly was a game the Texans wanted badly -- to establish, on a national TV stage, that they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. "When you talk about playoff ramifications, you defensively have to go through (the Bears) ... to win the Super Bowl," he said. "At the same time, I think we are one of the top teams in the AFC. I told (some of the former teammates), 'I'll see you in the playoffs.'" Of course, the only way that could happen would be in the Super Bowl. And for that to occur, Cutler would have to play better than he did before he was knocked out of the game. He had nearly as many rushing yards (37) as passing yards (40), and he got no help from his running backs. Matt Forte had 11 yards on seven first-half carries, and Michael Bush fumbled on his only run before the break. The Bears did slightly better in the second half, and backup quarterback Jason Campbell got them to the 10-yard line in the third quarter on a 45-yard completion to Brandon Marshall. However, the Texans tightened, forcing a field goal. "It's not like we were playing against the 31st-ranked defense or anything," Campbell said. "The Texans are a tremendous football team. They were doing some good things and taking away the deep balls." Cutler was lost on a bizarre play. On third-and-9 from midfield, he was across the line of scrimmage when he completed a 42-yard pass to Devin Hester. Cutler then was slammed down by Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins. After the offsetting penalties, Cutler scrambled for 11 yards on the next play, but two plays later, he threw his second interception of the game. He returned for one more brief series before halftime but did not play in the second half. Cutler wound up 7-for-14 with two interceptions. Campbell completed 11 of 19 passes for 94 yards. Schaub finished 14-for-26 for 95 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. NOTES: There was just one sack in the game, by Chicago, in part because the muddy field made it tough for pass rushers to gain footing. ... Houston defensive end J.J. Watt, the league sack leader (10.5), was limited to a single quarterback hit and two tackles. ... Chicago's Tim Jennings had two first-half interceptions, raising his league-leading total to eight. He had just seven interceptions in six previous NFL seasons. ... The Bears played most of the game without backup rookie defensive end Shea McClellin, their first-round draft pick who suffered a concussion in the first quarter. McClellin has 2.5 sacks in spot play this year. ... Going into the game, Chicago's defense ranked No. 6 in the NFL against the run, allowing 88 rushing yards a game, but Houston rushed for 112 yards in the first half and 127 total. ... Houston played without tight end Owen Daniels, the team's second-leading receiver and its leader in touchdown catches, due to a back injury. Texans nose tackle Shaun Cody (ribs) also missed the game.
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