Texans vanquish Bears in gritty defensive clash at Soldier Field
The Houston Texans overcame bitterly cold conditions and driving rain to beat the Chicago Bears 13-6 on Sunday in a gritty clash between two of the top defences in the NFL.
Playing through the cold conditions at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the Texans (8-1) traded hard-hitting blows with the Bears and prevailed to remain top of the AFC while confirming their title credentials.
Arian Foster fought for 102 yards rushing and caught a two-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter for a 10-3 Texans lead that stood out in a game that featured little offence.
Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler was knocked out of the game with concussion late in the second quarter but his replacement Jason Campbell could only lead the home team to a third-quarter field goal against the determined Houston defence. The Texans added a field goal in the fourth from Shayne Graham, his second of the game. Chicago’s final drive attempt to tie the game stalled at their own 40-yard line.
The Atlanta Falcons’ unbeaten run was ended by the New Orleans Saints on Sunday with a 31-27 loss at the Superdome, while defending Super Bowl champions the New York Giants suffered a shock 31-13 loss at the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Giants (6-4) suffered their second successive loss and their defeat to the unheralded Bengals, who had lost their last four games, will cause much more concern than last week’s loss to Pittsburgh.
The Buffalo Bills came close to producing another upset against the New England Patriots, but quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick threw a late interception as the Patriots hung on for a 37-31 win. Questions remain about the Patriots’ defence despite their win over AFC East rivals Buffalo.
The San Francisco 49s tied 24-24 with the Rams, the first tie in almost four years.
The Baltimore Ravens move to 7-2 after crushing the Oakland Raiders 55-20 while Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos also enjoyed a comfortable win with a 36-14 victory at the Carolina Panthers.
The Minnesota Vikings’ (6-4) impressive season continued with a 34-24 win over the Detroit Lions. The Dallas Cowboys beat Philadelphia Eagles 38-23 and in an unusual fourth quarter scored touchdowns on a punt return, interception return and fumble recovery.