SAN DIEGO — The familiar formula traveled west with the Bears: the special teams gaffes, pick-six touchdowns and defensive ineptitude.
And then, amazingly, they won.
Tight end Zach Miller’s leaping 25-yard touchdown catch gave the Bears a one-point lead with 3:19 to play Monday night, and rookie Jeremy Langford’s two-point conversion put the Bears up by three. A rare defensive stop — including two Lamarr Houston sacks — gave the Bears a 22-19 win against the Chargers, obscuring a series of mistakes, including two field goal misses by Robbie Gould.
“Jay (Cutler) made a great throw,” Miller said. “I had to go get it. And after that I went unconscious.”
Miller smiled. He had every reason to. After injuries kept him from playing a regular-season game in three-straight years, the tight end was the “Monday Night Football” star, catching a missile down the seam with one hand.
“Helluva catch,” wide receiver Alshon Jeffery said.
Jeffery would know. He caught 10 passes for 151 yards, and saved his best for after the game’s biggest disaster.
Two plays after the Bears’ Christian Jones recovered a fumble to give them the ball at the San Diego 41, Cutler threw to the right sideline looking for Jeffery.
The receiver was turned the wrong way, though, and Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett intercepted the pass with 68 yards of green grass in front of him. A missed extra point later, the Chargers led, 13-0, five minutes into the second quarter.
Jeffery said “I’d probably blame myself” for the miscue. After it, though, he pleaded to Cutler: throw me a deep ball.
Cutler did — on the first play — and Jeffery chalked up 47 yards.
“This is what I do,” he said. “Catch the ball.”
Cutler said Jeffery has been “unreal” yet consistent.
“Huge numbers,” he said.
The Bears capped the 80-yard drive with a one-yard pass to Martellus Bennett. The Chargers’ Josh Lambo made a 31-yard field goal with five seconds left in the first half to take a 16-7 lead into halftime.
The Bears orchestrated a 93-yard drive that lasted 8:16, scoring on a 1-yard Langford plunge about one minute into the fourth quarter. Langford’s run was the fourth third-down conversion of the possession.
After the Bears’ rushing touchdown, the Chargers had first and goal at the 4-yard line that was moved back when receiver Stevie Johnson was flagged for delay of game for spiking the football. When Philip Rivers threw a touchdown on third-and-goal from the 8, it came back because a lineman was illegally downfield.
They had to settle for a Lambo field goal, giving them a 19-14 lead.
Then, after failing to do so in the last two games, the Bears came back.
“We’ve had a couple frustrating weeks,” Miller said. “Haven’t finished the way we wanted … for it to come together now, and really finish.
“That’s been the talk. We’ve been preaching it. Finish on offense? Did that. Defense gotta finish a two-minute drill? Did that.
“It’s fulfilling for that to work out.”
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