EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The Chicago Bears are still looking for a little more from their offense with a game left in the preseason.
The Super Bowl champion New York Giants think they found something in a 20-17 loss to the Bears on Friday night — a running game.
First-round draft pick David Wilson provided a spark for the Giants’ anemic running game, rushing for 49 yards on five carries and rambling 29 yards with a little dump-off pass from Eli Manning.
“Obviously, you see the potential. You see the playmaking ability,” said Manning, who completed 17 of 21 passes for 148 yards in helping New York take a 17-7 halftime lead. “A couple of the big runs, he ran hard, and got outside, got a good chunk. He had the short pass thrown to him, he got down the sideline for a big gain. So, those are the things you’re looking for.”
Wilson got the start with Ahmad Bradshaw still nursing a bruised hand suffered against the Jets last weekend. The Virginia Tech product made the most of it and gave some encourage to the offense, which was ranked last in the league in rushing in 2011.
“To have the opportunity to make the plays that I made tonight, I want to keep that going and not be a one-time deal,” Wilson said.
The downside for the Giants was getting nothing from their second team in the final 30 minutes.
“Nobody likes to lose and we certainly didn’t like to lose that one,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “Some people that were given some opportunities did well. Some did well, some didn’t so well, so that’s how you put a team together and hopefully we’ll be strong enough in certain areas to go out and play the schedule that we have to play. I didn’t like the way we finished that game. There was no production on offense whatsoever.”
With the regular season a little more than two weeks away, Bears coach Lovie Smith was willing to settle for the win, which was produced on a 12-yard touchdown pass from backup Jason Campbell to Joe Anderson with 8:22 to play.
“We hung in there and found a way to win at the end,” Smith said. “We got some things accomplished. No major injuries. We wanted to see where we are against the Super Bowl champions.”
The truth was the first team was just OK. The Bears (2-1) knocked off the Giants (1-2) because their second team was better than New York’s backups.
“It was hit and miss,” Bears starting quarterback Jay Cutler said. “We did some good things but we missed some communication stuff. We got to get the running game going. We’ve got to get Matt (Forte) going. We’re not going to be a successful offense if we can’t run the ball.”
Cutler had one good series in the first half, hitting Brandon Marshall with a 21-yard, first-quarter touchdown pass along the right sideline to briefly put the Bears ahead 7-3.
“Me and Brandon are working on a few things,” said Cutler, who was 9 of 21 for 96 yards. “Everything is a little bit off a count in the passing game. We made some plays but we missed stuff. It’s easily fixed but it needs to be fixed in the next week.”
Marshall had a team-high five catches for 51 yards.
“The only people that can really stop us is us,” Marshall said. “You’ve got to give respect to that defense, especially that front four. Give respect but tonight it was on our side.”
Robbie Gould kicked two field goals for the Bears and Isaiah Frey intercepted a pass in the end zone with 1:06 to play to preserve the win.
Manning threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Ramses Barden, Andre Brown scored on a 1-yard run and Lawrence Tynes kicked a 32-yard field goal for New York (No. 3 in the AP Pro32).
The Giants threatened in the final minutes with David Carr moving them to the Bears 38. A roughing-the-passer penalty nullified an interception on the ensuing play and a 10-yard pass to Isaiah Stanback got the ball to the Chicago 12. However, Anthony Walters tipped a pass to DePalma in the end zone and Frey made the interception.
“It came down to a play at the end and we were not able to make it,” Carr said. “I should have thrown the ball away.”
Campbell, who came into the game battling Josh McCown for the Bears’ backup job, may have won it, completing 12 of 19 passes for 101 yards and leading two scoring drives.
Down 10 at the half, Cutler took the opening series of the second half for the Bears and led them on a quick, seven-play, 59-yard march that Gould capped with a 30-yard field goal.
Campbell took the Bears 39 yards on the next drive, with Gould hitting from 48. A third-down pass interference penalty against safety Stevie Brown kept the drive alive.
The game-winning drive for Chicago (No. 11) was 11 plays covering 58 yards. Campbell converted on three third-down passes, the last going to Anderson, who broke a tackle by Bruce Johnson to get into the end zone.
Wilson had runs of 20 and 15 yards and went 29 yards with a short pass on consecutive plays to set up Tynes’ 32-yard first-quarter field goal.
Cutler led the Bears on a 59-yard, seven-play scoring drive right after the field goal. A 19-yard run by Devin Hester on an end around got things going and the veteran Bears quarterback finished it off with a perfect throw down the right sideline to Marshall for a 21-yard touchdown.
New York starting cornerback Prince Amukamara sustained a right high ankle sprain on the series and did not return.
Manning and Barden, who is fighting to make the roster, made the big plays for the Giants in a 14-point second quarter that put New York ahead 17-7 at the half.
Manning hit all seven of his passes in a 10-play, 58 yard touchdown drive that ended with an 11-yard pass to Barden, who also had a 13-yard reception on the drive. The Super Bowl MVP also converted two third-down passes to Victor Cruz and new tight end Martellus Bennett to the march alive.
Second-year running back Da’Rel Scott set up the second touchdown, blocking a punt by Ryan Quigley at the Chicago 10. A pass interference on Charles Tillman in the end zone against Barden put the ball at the 1 and Brown scored on the next play.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
Photo caption: Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) runs away from New York Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn (93) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)