2006 Chicago Bears–Arizona Cardinals game

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"Monday Night Comeback" redirects here. For the comeback in 2000 between the Jets and Dolphins, see Monday Night Miracle (American football). For the hockey comeback in 1986 between the Flames and Blues, see The Monday Night Miracle (ice hockey).
Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium - dall'autostrada.jpg
University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of the game
1 2 3 4 Total
CHI 0 0 10 14 24
ARI 14 6 3 0 23
Date October 16, 2006
Stadium University of Phoenix Stadium
Location Glendale, Arizona
Referee Jerome Boger
Attendance 63,977
Network ESPN
Announcers Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Tony Kornheiser and Joe Theismann (color commentators)

On October 16, 2006, during the sixth week of the National Football League regular season, the Chicago Bears American football team defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 24–23, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The undefeated Bears staged the "comeback of the year" against the 1-win Cardinals after trailing by 20 points.[1] This game is the first game in which the Bears won after trailing by 20 since 1987 (they defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27–26), according to the Elias Sports Bureau it was the first win in Bears history in which they trailed by at least 20 points in the second half,[2] and the Cardinals became the first team in NFL history to lose consecutive games in a season after being ahead by over 2 touchdowns at the end of the first quarter in each of their games. The Bears also set an NFL record for the biggest comeback without scoring an offensive touchdown in league history.[3] Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart became the 1st quarterback in history to throw at least 2 touchdown passes in each of his first 2 career starts. The last time a team won after committing 6 turnovers was over 20 years prior.[4]

The postgame press conference was notable for Cardinals head coach Dennis Green's profanity-laced rant, highlighted by the quote "The Bears are who we thought they were". The game was ranked #6 on NFL Top 10 on NFL Network for Top Ten Greatest Comebacks of All Time under the title "Cardinals Blow It"/"Monday Night Meltdown",[5][6][7] as well as Top Ten Meltdowns at #7.

Background[edit]

Prelude[edit]

Before the meeting, the Bears lead the series 56–36, which also includes the Bears as the Decatur Staleys and Chicago Staleys, as well as the Cards as the Chicago Cardinals and St. Louis Cardinals (the team was also briefly known as the Phoenix Cardinals). Earlier in the year, in the preseason, the Cardinals defeated the Bears at Soldier Field 23–16 in a Friday night game.[8]

The Bears[edit]

The Bears were having a great season, being undefeated heading into the game at 5–0, having their best start to the season since 1989, having committed only 5 turnovers all season and averaging an NFL-best 31.2 points per game, and scoring 156 points compared to allowing only 36 points. This was the Bears' first Monday Night Football appearance since 2003. The Bears' 3rd year coach Lovie Smith was having the best season start of his coaching career, going 1–4 in 2004 and 2–3 in 2005 (despite making the playoffs in 2005), and notably defeated four of their first five opponents by more than 3 touchdowns (26–0 win against the Green Bay Packers, 34–7 win over the Detroit Lions, 37–6 win over Seattle, and 40–7 victory against Buffalo; their other game was a 19–16 win over the Vikings). The team was led by talented-yet inconsistent Rex Grossman, Thomas Jones, Muhsin Muhammad, linemen John Tait, Olin Kreutz, and Roberto Garza, defensive linemen Adewale Ogunleye, rookie Mark Anderson, who eventually recorded 12 sacks on the season, linebackers Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Brendon Ayanbadejo, rookie and future record holder for career returns for touchdowns and punt return touchdowns Devin Hester, a cornerbacking tandem in Charles Tillman and former record holder for the longest play in NFL history (broken by San Diego Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie) Nathan Vasher, Chris Harris, Mike Brown, and the 2nd most accurate kicker in NFL history in Robbie Gould.[9]

The Cardinals[edit]

The Cardinals, contrary to the Bears, weren't having the best of seasons, being 1–4 heading into the game, with their lone win being a Week 1 victory over the 49ers, and mustering only 50 points while allowing 92 points. Dennis Green was leading the team, and was hoping for a win to snap their 4-game losing streak, as well as hopefully make the playoffs after going 5–11 the year before. The team's roster featured rookie quarterback and 2004 Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, as well as rookie Leonard Pope, along with serious receiving threats in Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, along with J. J. Arrington, running back Edgerrin James, Obafemi Ayanbadejo, brother of Brendon Ayanbadejo (interestingly, both brothers would play together with the Bears in the preseason in 2007), 3x Pro Bowler Darnell Dockett, Gerald Hayes, Orlando Huff, Calvin Pace, kicker Neil Rackers, as well as Super Bowl XLIII quarterback Kurt Warner at backup.

Game summary[edit]

The Bears won the toss, and elected to receive the kickoff. After the Bears went 3-and-out, the Cardinals scored on their first possession on a Matt Leinart pass to Bryant Johnson, with Leinart completing 9 of his first 10 passes. After the Cardinals threw an interception, which was eventually challenged and reversed before ultimately punting, Bears quarterback Rex Grossman threw an interception to Aaron Francisco. The Cardinals scored on their next possession on a Leinart pass to Anquan Boldin. At the end of the first quarter, the Cards led the Bears, 14–0.

In the second quarter, after exchanging punts, Grossman threw another pick, this time to Gerald Hayes. Neil Rackers missed a field goal on the ensuing possession. The Cardinals would recover two Grossman fumbles in the quarter, and scored field goals on each of the ensuing possessions, making the score 20–0.

In the third quarter, the Bears started their comeback with a Robbie Gould field goal. Neil Rackers responded with a field goal, which turned out to be the final score for the Cardinals. Near the end of the third quarter, Leinart was sacked by rookie Mark Anderson, and fumbled the ball. Safety Mike Brown recovered the fumble and returned it 3 yards for a touchdown with just two seconds left in the quarter, making the score 23–10.

After exchanging punts, Grossman threw an interception to Dockett, who returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. However, the Bears challenged the play, claiming Dockett was down by contact. The touchdown was nullified, though the interception stood. On the Bears' next possession, Grossman threw another interception, this time to Robert Griffith. On the second play of the ensuing possession, Edgerrin James had the ball stripped by Brian Urlacher. Charles Tillman recovered the fumble and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown. With the score 23–17, rookie Devin Hester returned a punt 83-yards for a touchdown to take the lead 24–23.[10] With a few seconds left in the game, Rackers set up for the game-winning field goal with less than a minute. After Arizona got into field goal range, Rackers, who missed only two field goals the season before, and already having made a 41-, 28- and 29-yard field goals, missed the 40-yard field goal, with the kick going wide left, with the ball possibly deflecting off of linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer's fingertips.[11] The Bears took a knee to end the game, giving the Bears a 6–0 record, and dropping the Cardinals to a 1–5 record on the season.[12]

Brian Urlacher[edit]

The game was also notable for featuring one of the best performances of Brian Urlacher's career. He recorded 19 tackles and a forced fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Teammate Devin Hester commented on Urlacher's performance, stating, "We watched the film and everybody was saying that he just turned into the Incredible Hulk the last four minutes of the game, just killing people and running over and tackling whoever had the ball."[13]

Dennis Green post-game tirade[edit]

"My doctor was very happy. He called me, said: 'You know what? That kind of game, with (me) blowing up like that was a very good stress reliever', and my wife agreed."

Dennis Green[5]

After the loss, in the postgame interview, Cardinals coach Dennis Green started angrily yelling in a profane meltdown about the fact that the Cardinals defeated the Bears in the preseason, and because of that, they were confident in beating them again, and that his team blew it after attacking the Bears' weaknesses, and also smacked the microphone before storming out of the room.[14] The rant's popularity led to it being featured in a Coors Light commercial the next season.[15]

The Bears are what we thought they were. They're what we thought they were. We played them in preseason—who the hell takes a third game of the preseason like it's bullshit? Bullshit! We played them in the third game—everybody played three quarters—the Bears are who we thought they were! That's why we took the damn field. Now if you want to crown them, then crown their ass! But they are who we thought they were! And we let 'em off the hook!

—Cardinals head coach Dennis Green

Aftermath[edit]

The Bears would eventually go 13–3, only losing to the Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, and Green Bay Packers, and met the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI but lost, 29–17. The next season, the Bears sputtered to a 7–9 record. The game marked the beginning of the "good Rex/bad Rex" cycle, as quarterback Rex Grossman cycled between good performances vs bad performances.[16] He was eventually benched in 2008 and released in 2009 and signed with the Houston Texans (Coincidentally, Leinart was signed by them a season later).[17] Grossman eventually became the starting quarterback for the Washington Redskins.[18][19] As of the Bears' 2014 season, four players are still on the team that were on the 2006 team (Roberto Garza, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, and Robbie Gould).[20][21]

The Cardinals ultimately dropped to 5–11 at the end of the season, and Dennis Green was fired and was replaced by Ken Whisenhunt, who remained head coach of the team until the end of the 2012 NFL season. Two seasons later, the Cardinals met the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII, but lost, 27–23. In 2010, Matt Leinart was released by the Cardinals and was signed by the Texans,[22] and started a game in 2011 after starting quarterback Matt Schaub was injured. However, Leinart broke his collarbone, and rookie T. J. Yates became the starter.[23] Leinart later joined the Oakland Raiders. As of Arizona's 2014 campaign, only two players are still on the team that played in 2006 (Darnell Dockett and Larry Fitzgerald).[24][25]

The two teams would meet again twice after the game, once in 2009, and another in 2010, in a preseason game. Both times, the Cardinals won, winning the 2009 matchup, 41–21,[26] and the 2010 game 14–9.[27] The Bears and the Cardinals met again in 2012 in Glendale, but this time, Chicago beat Arizona, 28–13.

Starting lineups[edit]

Chicago Position Position Arizona
OFFENSE
Muhsin Muhammad WR Anquan Boldin
John Tait LT Leonard Davis
Ruben Brown LG Reggie Wells
Olin Kreutz C Nick Leckey
Roberto Garza RG Milford Brown
Fred Miller RT Oliver Ross
Desmond Clark TE Eric Edwards
Bernard Berrian WR Larry Fitzgerald
Rex Grossman QB Matt Leinart
Jason McKie FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo
Thomas Jones HB Edgerrin James
DEFENSE
Adewale Ogunleye LE Chike Okeafor
Tommie Harris DT Darnell Dockett
Tank Johnson DT Kendrick Clancy
Alex Brown RE Bertrand Berry
Brian Urlacher MLB Gerald Hayes
Lance Briggs WLB Orlando Huff
Hunter Hillenmeyer SLB Karlos Dansby
Charles Tillman LCB David Macklin
Nathan Vasher RCB Antrel Rolle
Danieal Manning FS Adrian Wilson
Chris Harris SS Robert Griffith
SPECIAL TEAMS
Robbie Gould K Neil Rackers
Brad Maynard P Scott Player
Rashied Davis KR J. J. Arrington
Devin Hester PR Troy Walters
Patrick Mannelly LS Nathan Hodel

Statistics[edit]

Source:[28] Chicago Bears Arizona Cardinals
First downs 9 17
Third down efficiency 4/14 6/20
Fourth down efficiency 0/1 0/0
Total yards 168 286
Passing yards 130 220
Passing – completions/attempts 14/37 24/42
Rushing yards 38 66
Rushing attempts 16 38
Yards per rush 2.4 1.7
Penalties–yards 6–50 9–65
Sacks against–yards 2–14 1–12
Fumbles–lost 2–2 2–2
Interceptions thrown 4 0
Time of possession 20:17 39:43

Individual Stats[edit]

Bears Passing
Player C/ATT* Yds TD INT
Rex Grossman 14/37 144 0 4
Bears Rushing
Player Cara Yds TD LGb
Thomas Jones 11 43 0 11
Cedric Benson 1 4 0 4
Jason McKie 1 −2 0 −2
Rex Grossman 3 −7 0 −1
Bears Receiving
Player Recc Yds TD LGb
Desmond Clark 4 61 0 26
Bernard Berrian 2 31 0 17
Rashied Davis 2 27 0 17
Thomas Jones 3 14 0 16
Cedric Benson 1 8 0 8
Muhsin Muhammad 1 2 0 2
Jason McKie 1 1 0 1
Bears Defense
Player Tak/Ast/Tott Int Ffe Sck
Lance Briggs 13/2/15 0 0 0.0
Brian Urlacher 11/8/19 0 1 0.0
Nathan Vasher 6/3/9 0 0 0.0
Mike Brown 4/1/5 0 0 0.0
Charles Tillman 4/2/6 0 0 0.0
Alfonso Boone 3/1/4 0 0 0.0
Alex Brown 3/0/3 0 0 0.0
Hunter Hillenmeyer 3/1/4 0 0 0.0
Israel Idonije 3/0/3 0 0 0.0
Todd Johnson 2/0/2 0 0 0.0
Tank Johnson 2/0/2 0 0 0.0
Mark Anderson 2/0/2 0 1 1.0
Ricky Manning 2/2/4 0 0 0.0
Tommie Harris 1/2/3 0 0 0.0
Danieal Manning 1/1/2 0 0 0.0
Cameron Worrell 1/0/1 0 0 0.0
Bears Kicking
Player FGA FGM XP LGf
Robbie Gould 1 1 3/3 23
Cardinals Passing
C/ATT* Yds TD INT
Matt Leinart 24/42 232 2 0
Cardinals Rushing
Player Cara Yds TD LGb
Edgerrin James 36 55 0 12
J. J. Arrington 2 11 0 6
Cardinals Receiving
Player Recc Yds TD LGb
Anquan Boldin 12 136 1 26 (TD)
Troy Walters 4 25 0 8
J. J. Arrington 2 22 0 12
Bryant Johnson 2 17 1 11 (TD)
Obafemi Ayanbadejo 2 16 0 13
Leonard Pope 1 9 0 9
Edgerrin James 1 7 0 7
Cardinals Defense
Player Tak/Ast/Totd Int Ffe Sck
Gerald Hayes 6/1/7 1 0 0.0
Adrian Wilson 6/0/6 0 1 1.0
Karlos Dansby 4/0/4 0 0 0.0
Darnell Dockett 3/0/3 1 0 0.0
Eric Green 3/0/3 0 0 0.0
Bertrand Berry 3/0/3 0 01 1.0
Antrel Rolle 2/1/3 0 0 0.0
Orlando Huff 1/0/1 0 0 0.0
David Macklin 1/0/1 0 0 1.0
Gabe Watson 1/0/1 0 0 0.0
Aaron Francisco 1/0/1 0 0 0.0
Robert Griffith 1/1/2 0 0 0.0
Antonio Smith 0/1/1 0 0 0.0
Cardinals Kicking
Player FGA FGM XP LGf
Neil Rackers 5 3 2/2 41


*Completions/Attempts aCarries bLongest play cReceptions dTackles eForced Fumbles fLongest field goal

Scoring summary[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
Bears 0 0 10 14 0 24
Cardinals 14 6 3 0 0 23

at University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona

  • Game time: 8:30 p.m. EST
  • Game weather: 73 °F (23 °C), clear

1ST QUARTER

2ND QUARTER

  • ARI FG: Neil Rackers 41-yard field goal ARI 17–0
  • ARI FG: Rackers 28-yard field goal ARI 20–0

3RD QUARTER

  • CHI FG: Robbie Gould 23-yard field goal ARI 20–3
  • ARI FG: Rackers 29-yard field goal ARI 23–3
  • CHI TD: Mike Brown 3-yard fumble return ARI 23–10

4TH QUARTER

Game Results[edit]

Date Television Visiting Team Score Home Team Score Stadium City
October 16, 2006 ESPN Chicago Bears 24 Arizona Cardinals 23 University of Phoenix Stadium Glendale, Arizona

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mindzak, Andrew (2010-12-23). "Top five NFL comebacks since 2000 – NFL – Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  2. ^ Elias Sports Bureau Inc. (2006-10-17). "Elias Says ...". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  3. ^ Rubenstein, Alan (2013-05-30). "The Ten Greatest Comebacks in Chicago Sports History". Chicagonow.com. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  4. ^ "Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals – Recap – October 16, 2006 – ESPN". Scores.espn.go.com. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  5. ^ a b "Top 10 greatest comebacks in NFL history". Nfl.com. 2009-07-29. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  6. ^ 03:45 (2009-06-04). "NFL Videos: Top Ten Comebacks: Cardinals blow it". Nfl.com. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  7. ^ "Bears' win ranked 7th best comeback". Chicagobears.com. 2011-06-14. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  8. ^ "Mistake-prone Bears struggle in loss to Cardinals". Chicagobears.com. 2006-08-25. Retrieved 2012-02-28. 
  9. ^ Roy Taylor. "2006 Chicago Bears". Bearshistory.com. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  10. ^ 00:23 (2007-08-22). "NFL Videos: Devin Hester Highlight, WK 06 vs. Cardinals 2006". Nfl.com. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  11. ^ "Bears stun Cardinals with improbable rally". Chicagobears.com. October 16, 2006. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  12. ^ "Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals – October 16th, 2006". Pro-Football-Reference.com. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2012-08-19. 
  13. ^ "Roster". Chicago Bears. Retrieved March 1, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Green's 42-second meltdown has made him a commercial icon". ESPN.com. 2007-12-23. Retrieved 2012-02-22. 
  15. ^ "Brewing a beer ad". Azcentral.com. 2007-09-04. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  16. ^ "Good Rex, Bad Rex, and the Chicago Bears". Yahoo. Retrieved 2013-03-23. 
  17. ^ Allen, Kevin (2009-06-12). "It's official: Rex Grossman signs with Houston Texans – Sports Pros(e)". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  18. ^ Maese, Rick (March 17, 2010). "Redskins sign Rex Grossman". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  19. ^ "Redskins Sign Rex Grossman". Redskins.com. 2010-03-17. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  20. ^ "2006 Chicago Bears Roster – The Football Database". Footballdb.com. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  21. ^ "Roster". Chicago Bears. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  22. ^ "Houston Texans agree to one-year deal with QB Matt Leinart". ESPN.com. 2010-09-07. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  23. ^ "news: Texans fear Leinart suffered season-ending broken collarbone". Nfl.com. November 27, 2011. Retrieved 2012-03-08. 
  24. ^ "2006 Arizona Cardinals Roster". Footballdb.com. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  25. ^ "Player Roster". azcardinals.com. Retrieved 2012-07-14. 
  26. ^ "NFL Game Center: Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears – 2009 Week 9". Nfl.com. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  27. ^ "NFL Preseason, Bears Vs. Cardinals: Dan LeFevour Gets His Shot, But Bears Come Up Short – SB Nation Chicago". Chicago.sbnation.com. 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  28. ^ "Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals – Recap – October 16, 2006". ESPN.com. 2006-10-16. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 

External links[edit]