OAKLAND (AP) – With one perfect deep pass, Rex Grossman just might have won back his starting quarterback job and saved the Chicago Bears' season.
Grossman replaced an injured Brian Griese and threw a 59-yard pass to Bernard Berrian for the go-ahead score with 3:11 remaining, leading the Bears to a 17-6 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
Sebastian Janikowski's 52-yard field goal with 4:04 remaining gave Oakland (2-7) a 6-3 lead that looked as if it could be enough on a day when neither offense could move the ball.
Then Grossman, who had struggled in his first game since Sept. 23, turned back into Good Rex, the quarterback who helped lead the Bears (4-5) to the Super Bowl last season instead of the one whose turnovers cost him his job earlier this season.
After the Bears almost botched a kickoff, Grossman hit Cedric Benson on an 11-yard pass over the middle.
On the next play, Berrian sprinted past Chris Carr, who was forced into a starting role at cornerback because of injuries to Nnamdi Asomugha and Fabian Washington. He caught the deep pass in stride and went into the end zone with the eventual game-winning score.
Grossman, who had been 5-of-12 for 72 yards before the winning drive, leaped into teammate John Tait's arms and flashed a smile that hadn't been seen in a long while.
The Bears won in their first game after the bye, but still have plenty more to do if they want to make it back to the playoffs. It just might be Grossman who has to lead them there now after leading this comeback and with Griese dealing with an injured shoulder.
The Raiders went three-and-out on their next drive after Grossman's TD pass.
WR Bernard Berrian
Paul Sakuma/AP Images
After a Chicago punt, Adewale Ogunleye then forced a fumble by Josh McCown that Israel Idonije recovered at the 3-yard line with 1:39 remaining. Benson ran it in on the next play to seal the victory. Benson finished with 76 yards on 29 carries.
Grossman was benched after throwing six interceptions and only one touchdown pass in Chicago's first three games. Combined with his 23 interceptions in 19 games last season, the Bears had grown tired of all of Grossman's mistakes and decided to go with the veteran Griese.
The move back to Grossman didn't look like it would pay off when he fumbled the first center exchange with Olin Kreutz. He did little positive until that one big pass to Berrian. Grossman finished 7-of-14 for 142 yards and, most importantly, no turnovers.
McCown was booed during pregame introductions by the fans eager for top pick JaMarcus Russell to play. McCown didn't silence the critics, going 1-of-13 in a stretch that began late in the first half and ended after Benson's touchdown put the game away.
Justin Fargas ran for 81 yards on 23 carries in his second straight start, but also lost a key fumble in the second half. Oakland finished with a season-low 193 yards of offense and lost its fifth straight game.
Raiders coach Lane Kiffin backed up his bold talk during the week and did kick the ball to Chicago's dangerous returner Devin Hester almost every time. Despite getting more chances than usual to add to his nine return touchdowns in less than two seasons, Hester found little room to run against Oakland's coverage units.
He returned one kickoff from eight yards deep in the end zone and only managed to make it out to the 11. He also twice lost four yards on punt returns. Hester's one big play, a 64-yard punt return, was wiped out by a holding call on Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Oakland scored on its opening drive when McCown's 24-yard run on the opening play helped set up Janikowski's 37-yard field goal. Robbie Gould answered with a 32-yard field goal in the second quarter.
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