Bears
Rams
42 - 27 Final
  for this game

Grossman, Hester each account for two TDs as Bears roll

Dec 12, 2006 - 5:10 AM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Lovie Smith spent the last several days insisting Rex Grossman is his quarterback. This week, the matter needs no discussion.

Grossman threw two touchdown passes and Devin Hester returned a pair of kickoffs for scores as the Chicago Bears posted a 42-27 victory over the St. Louis Rams.

Thomas Jones and Adrian Peterson both ran for TDs as Chicago (11-2) clinched a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Bears, who already secured the NFC North title with a win vs. Minnesota last week, are 8-0 against the conference this season.

"It's big. It means we're going to have a home game in Chicago," Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "We'll get that bye week and get some guys rested up. That was our goal, try and get the first-round bye this week."

Despite the team's overall success, there had been increasing grumblings about Grossman, who had thrown eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions over his previous seven games. He was horrible last week, posting a 1.3 rating after completing just 6-of-19 passes for 34 yards and three interceptions.

The Bears' third-year coach, Smith stuck by his quarterback all week. His confidence was backed up Monday as Grossman completed 13-of-23 passes for 200 yards without a turnover.

Grossman found Bernard Berrian for a 34-yard TD in the second quarter and hooked up with Muhsin Muhammad on a 14-yard score in the third period.

"Rex Grossman went through a lot this past week," Smith said. "His game has been dissected by everyone that knows anything about football. There was a lot of pressure on him and I really think he stepped up to the plate. He played outstanding ball and did exactly what we expect him to do at the quarterback position."

Grossman appeared much more comfortable against the Rams (5-8), who have lost seven of their last eight games. They have surrendered at least 30 points five times in that stretch, due mainly to a porous run defense that entered ranked 31st in the NFL.

"It felt really good to play well again and to get out of the slump," Grossman said. "We ran the ball well and set up a lot of play-action down the field. And that's really our team. Run the ball, play great defense, play-action off of that, be efficient and take care of the football. We were able to execute that in all phases."

St. Louis also had no answer on special teams as Hester gave Chicago a 7-6 lead with a 94-yard return in the second quarter and made it 42-20 with a 92-yard burst in the fourth. The electrifying rookie also has scored on three punt returns and a missed field goal this season, giving him a league-record six return TDs in one season.

"It looks like the gates of heaven just opening up for me," Hester joked. "It's just vision and depending on your teammates to be there for you."

Marc Bulger threw a pair of touchdowns to Torry Holt, and Stephen Jackson accounted for a pair of scores for St. Louis, which was unable to overcome a host of drops and 11 penalties.

Bulger finished 34-of-55 for 356 yards with three touchdowns and one late interception. He was sacked three times and constantly under pressure.

"They're a good team," Bulger said. "We made too many mistakes, and if you're going to beat a team like that, you almost have to play perfect, and we didn't."

Holt caught six passes for 75 yards, while Kevin Curtis had four receptions for 77 yards. Jackson had 10 catches for 58 yards and also rushed 18 times for 81 yards and a score.

After a scoreless first quarter, St. Louis took a 7-0 lead on a one-yard TD pass from Bulger to Holt. However, the momentum did not last long as Hester - who ironically was beaten by Holt on the touchdown - returned the ensuing kickoff for a score.

"There are a lot of offensive rookies right now in the league making big plays, but who's had as much impact as Hester has in the league as a rookie right now?" Smith said. "Just outstanding. We needed the big plays. He stepped up and came through."

The Rams answered on a two-yard scoring plunge by Jackson, giving them a 13-7 lead. But Grossman came right back with a TD strike to Berrian, who caught a slant pass and split a pair of defenders on his way to the end zone.

Midway through the third quarter, Jones broke free on a 30-yard touchdown run through the left side for a 21-13 lead. St. Louis went three-and-out and Chicago came right back as Grossman lofted a fade to Muhammad, who made a nice catch in the left side of the end zone for a 28-13 advantage.

The Bears relied on their running game from there. Jones finished with 76 yards on 11 carries, Cedric Benson rushed 16 times for 64 yards and Peterson added a one-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

Chicago hosts Tampa Bay next week, while St. Louis will try to bounce back against Oakland.

"Hopefully we can turn this around," Jackson said. "We still have three weeks to play and there's no need to throw in the towel. We need to start building for something and we need to do it now."








  • NFL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 14 14 14 42
    ST LOUIS 0 13 0 14 27 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: STL - TD, TORRY HOLT 1 YD PASS FROM MARC
    BULGER (PAT FAILED), 2:14. Drive:
    12 plays, 99 yards in 6:22. Key
    plays: Bulger 13-yard pass to Holt
    to the St. Louis 19; Bulger 16

    Dec 12 12:03 AM


  • NFL
    TD STL
    STEVEN JACKSON 6 YD PASS FROM MARC BULGER
    (JEFF WILKINS KICK)
    CHICAGO 42
    ST LOUIS 27 4:41 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 11:43 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    DEVIN HESTER 96 YD KICKOFF RETURN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    CHICAGO 42
    ST LOUIS 20 7:22 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 11:32 PM


  • NFL
    TD STL
    TORRY HOLT 6 YD PASS FROM MARC BULGER
    (JEFF WILKINS KICK)
    CHICAGO 35
    ST LOUIS 20 7:35 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 11:29 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    ADRIAN PETERSON RECOVERED BLOCKED PUNT IN END ZONE
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    CHICAGO 35
    ST LOUIS 13 13:04 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 11:11 PM


  • NFL
    END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 14 14 28
    ST LOUIS 0 13 0 13 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: STL - TD, TORRY HOLT 1 YD PASS FROM MARC
    BULGER (PAT FAILED), 2:14. Drive:
    12 plays, 99 yards in 6:22. Key
    plays: Bulger 13-yard pass to Holt
    to the St. Louis 19; Bu

    Dec 11 11:03 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    MUHSIN MUHAMMAD 14 YD PASS FROM REX GROSSMAN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    CHICAGO 28
    ST LOUIS 13 3:31 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 10:55 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    THOMAS JONES 30 YD RUN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    CHICAGO 21
    ST LOUIS 13 8:40 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 10:38 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 14 14
    ST LOUIS 0 13 13 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: STL - TD, TORRY HOLT 1 YD PASS FROM MARC
    BULGER (PAT FAILED), 2:14. Drive:
    12 plays, 99 yards in 6:22. Key
    plays: Bulger 13-yard pass to Holt
    to the St. Louis 19; Bulger

    Dec 11 10:13 PM


  • NFL
    HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 14 14
    ST LOUIS 0 13 13 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE
    2ND QUARTER: STL - TD, TORRY HOLT 1 YD PASS FROM MARC
    BULGER (PAT FAILED), 2:14. Drive:
    12 plays, 99 yards in 6:22. Key
    plays: Bulger 13-yard pass to Holt
    to the St. Louis 19; Bulger

    Dec 11 10:12 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    BERNARD BERRIAN 34 YD PASS FROM REX GROSSMAN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    CHICAGO 14
    ST LOUIS 13 3:30 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 9:50 PM


  • NFL
    TD STL
    STEVEN JACKSON 2 YD RUN
    (JEFF WILKINS KICK)
    CHICAGO 7
    ST LOUIS 13 7:43 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 9:40 PM


  • NFL
    TD CHI
    DEVIN HESTER 94 YD KICKOFF RETURN
    (ROBBIE GOULD KICK)
    CHICAGO 7
    ST LOUIS 6 12:46 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 9:32 PM


  • NFL
    TD STL
    TORRY HOLT 1 YD PASS FROM MARC BULGER
    (PAT FAILED)
    CHICAGO 0
    ST LOUIS 6 12:46 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Bears vs. RamsDec 11 9:28 PM


  • NFL
    END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 0
    ST LOUIS 0 0 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: NONE

    Dec 11 9:16 PM