Sep 22 (Reuters) - The Chicago Bears struck early and never trailed as they rode two Martellus Bennett touchdowns to a 27-19 win over the New York Jets on Monday.
The Jets trailed 14-0 early on and while the home side battled hard to come back, getting within five points in the fourth quarter, the Bears were able to hold them out.
The Jets had marched into the red zone in the final minute and at fourth and five from the nine-yard-line, quarterback Geno Smith connected with Jeremy Kerley at the back of the end zone, but the wide receiver failed to keep his feet in bounds.
Bears’ tight end Bennett’s two touchdown grabs were from quarterback Jay Cutler, who passed for 225 yards. Wide receiver Alshon Jeffery had 105 yards from eight receptions.
Jets quarterback Smith threw for 316 yards and a touchdown but was left to rue two interceptions.
The Bears had a fast start when Ryan Mundy intercepted Smith on just the second play in the game, running it back 45 yards for an early 7-0 lead.
Chicago then took advantage of a muffed punt return by Jalen Saunders that gave them superb field position for Cutler to connect with Bennett four plays later for a seven yard score and 14-0 lead inside the opening six minutes.
Two Nick Folk field goals for New York sandwiched a three-pointer from Robbie Gould before Smith connected with wide receiver Jeremy Kerley for 19 yards and a Jets touchdown to narrow the gap to 17-13 by halftime.
Bennett’s second touchdown early in the third period opened up a 24-13 Bears lead before two Folk field goals pulled the Jets within five at 24-19.
Gould then extended the lead with a 45-yard field goal with three and half minutes remaining to ensure the Jets could not come back.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury