Howard leads the way for punishing Chicago Bears ground game

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard makes a move and scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Jets at Solder Field in Chicago.

    Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard makes a move and scores a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game against the Jets at Solder Field in Chicago.

 
 
Updated 10/28/2018 7:11 PM

The Chicago Bears rolled up a season-high 179 rushing yards Sunday in the 24-10 victory over the New York Jets and, unlike the previous week, they didn't need quarterback Mitch Trubisky to lead the way.

Jordan Howard got 22 carries, his heaviest workload in more than a month, and he contributed a game-best 81 yards (3.7-yard average), the same total Trubisky had last week.

 

Trubisky added 51 more rushing yards on 6 carries Sunday (8.5-yard average), and Tarik Cohen had 40 yards on 5 attempts.

Howard got 10 of his carries in the game's final 10 minutes. After the Jets closed to within 17-10, Howard scored his third rushing touchdown of the year on a 2-yard burst that was set up by his season-long 24-yard scamper.

"It meant a lot because I've been waiting to break loose," he said. "I've been bottled up a little bit, so it felt good to finally get a big run."

The Bears then used Howard to pound the ball six times down the stretch to take time off the clock.

"I like being in that spot, even though they know you're running the ball," Howard said. "They couldn't really stop us because the O-line was getting a good push."

Ahead for good:

The Bears got a lead they never relinquished just 9:36 into the game when Tarik Cohen took a perfectly executed screen pass from Mitch Trubisky and sprinted 70 yards untouched for a touchdown, the Bears' longest play of the season.

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It was the perfect play call for the Bears, who caught the Jets in a blitz, with no safeties deep.

"They brought Cover-zero there, so having a screen vs. Cover-zero, usually they work out pretty well," Bears coach and offensive playcaller Matt Nagy said, although he noted there was a difficulty factor involved.

"When you bring Cover-zero, they have a bunch of safeties and linebackers that are blitzing, and it's hard to get through the weeds to get to the flat. He did that. He has a good knack for that."

Nagy also credited 5-foot-8, 165-pound wide receiver Taylor Gabriel with a block along the sideline that turned a "30-yard gain into a 70-yard touchdown."

That TD was Cohen's only catch, but he also ran five times for 40 yards and returned 4 punts for 36 yards.

Sitting it out:

Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack (ankle) and wide receiver Allen Robinson (groin) did not play because of the injuries that have kept them from practicing for most of the past two weeks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Both played last week but were far from 100 percent. Aaron Lynch, tied for third on the team with 2 sacks, started in place of Mack. Josh Bellamy got his second start of the season and tied for the game high with 4 catches for 37 yards.

Wide receiver Kevin White saw his most extensive playing time of the season but had just 1 catch for 6 yards.

Offensive left guard Eric Kush (neck) also was inactive for the Bears, so rookie second-round draft pick James Daniels got his first NFL start.

Kush and Daniels had shared the left-guard spot for the previous three games, alternating series. Among the Bears' other inactives were cornerback Marcus Cooper (groin), who missed his fifth straight game even though he was removed from the injury report after returning to full practice last week.

Fullback Michael Burton also was inactive, as were offensive lineman Rashaad Coward and defensive tackle Nick Williams.

The Jets were without their top two wide receivers, Robby Anderson and Quincy Enunwa, both out with ankle injuries. Starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson (quad) and backup cornerback Derrick Jones also were out for the Jets, as were linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis, offensive guard Dakota Dozier and defensive lineman Folorunso Fatukasi.

Minds and bodies

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said the defense came into the Jets game with the proper mindset, focused on stopping the run first and foremost, which it did, allowing just 57 yards on 24 attempts for a 2.4-yard average. Other than quarterback Sam Darnold's 13-yard scramble, the Jets didn't have a run longer than 7 yards.

"It was our front seven just being aggressive, attacking, getting after it," Hicks said. "That was our mindset going in.

"Honestly, that's our mindset going into every game, that we want to abuse you at the line of scrimmage every way we can, and I think we accomplished that."

• Bob LeGere is a senior writer at Pro Football Weekly. Follow Bob's Bears reports on Twitter @BobLeGere or @PFWeekly.

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