Running game wears down Bears

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Ahmad Bradshaw, who finished with 129 yards on 23 carries, scored the game's first TD on Sunday.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Chicago Bears' run defense came into the new Meadowlands on Sunday night with quite a resume. They’d allowed the fewest total rushing yards in the NFL and were giving up a league-low 2.1 yards per carry.

But Brandon Jacobs wasn’t impressed.

“It’s early in the season. To become the No. 1 rushing defense this week doesn’t mean anything,” he said.

The Giants' 1-2 punch of Ahmad Bradshaw and Jacobs proved just that as they wore Chicago down in the second half and piled up 191 yards on 29 carries in a 17-3 win.

Bradshaw ran for 129 yards on 23 carries on a defense that allowed 119 total rushing yards in the first three weeks. Jacobs added 62 yards on six carries and a fourth-quarter touchdown.

Their performance is bound to be overshadowed by the defense’s nine first-half sacks -- and deservedly so -- but the ground game was critical to getting the Giants’ stagnant offense going in the second half.

Late in the third quarter, Bradshaw shot through a seam created by the left side of the Giants line and cut up the middle for a 25-yard run to put the Giants at the Bears’ three-yard line. Bradshaw ran it in on the next play to put the Giants up by two scores with 2:58 to go in the quarter.

Jacobs put the game away with a two-yard touchdown plunge with 4:38 to go in the fourth, helping the Giants bounce back from an awful performance at home last week against Tennessee. Jacobs and Bradshaw combined for 142 yards rushing in the second half.

But the backs weren’t perfect on Sunday night.

Jacobs had a costly fumble on the Giants’ 29 that led to Robbie Gould’s 40-yard field goal, which cut the score to 10-3 with 11:03 to go in the fourth.

On the Giants’ next drive, Bradshaw broke through the Bears’ front seven and appeared to be on his way to the end zone until he had the ball punched out from behind at the Chicago six-yard line by Zach Bowman.

It was the second time in two weeks that Bradshaw fumbled inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.

But the defense, as it did all night, overcame the offense's mistakes by forcing Chicago to punt after a three-and-out. Two plays later, Jacobs scored from two yards out to seal the win.

“We knew we were wearing them down and we were able to get the edge on them and execute,” Bradshaw said.

In the process, they ruined Chicago’s reputation as the top rushing defense in the league.

“That didn’t mean anything,” Jacobs said. “Especially to a football team that believes that they can run the ball on anybody in the National Football League. And we proved that."