CHICAGO – It was turnover city in the Windy City on Sunday night.
In a matchup of 7-1 teams, the Texans forced four turnovers and committed two of their own – all in the first half – against the Chicago Bears. Both teams had less than 250 yards of offense on a rainy, windy night at Soldier Field, but the Texans did just enough to emerge with a 13-6 victory. At 8-1, they're now tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the NFL.
"I've been doing this a long time, and I don't know if I've ever been more proud of a team," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said. "It was obviously a very, very difficult night for offensive football, and we were going to have to find ways to win, just battling and playing great defense and do our jobs special teams-wise. I'm just very proud of our team... We were able to muster it up and win the way we had to tonight."
Texans strong safety Danieal Manning had an interception and forced fumble in his return to Chicago, where he spent the first five seasons of his career. Free safety Glover Quin forced another fumble and cornerback Kareem Jackson had an interception. The Bears' defense had forced an NFL-best 28 turnovers heading into the game.
"They obviously are really good on defense and (have) been doing a great job of turning the ball over," Texans defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "We wanted to get in that race, too. Our guys played well also."
The Texans had a season-low 215 yards of offense. Quarterback Matt Schaub threw for a season-low 95 yards and season-high two interceptions, but he was perfectly happy with the end result.
"This is a big one, given where the two teams were at in our seasons, both at 7-1 going in, the weather we were dealt today, on the road," Schaub said. "It was a huge win for us. It just shows our team can win in many different ways."
Running back Arian Foster scored the game's only touchdown on a two-yard catch in the second quarter. Foster ran for 102 yards on 29 carries and had five catches for 15 yards, accounting for more than half of the Texans' offensive yardage.
"He was exceptional," Kubiak said. "He kept battling. He came to me there with about eight minutes left in the game, and he said, 'Just give it to me.' They had nine or 10 guys in the box, and he said to just keep giving it to him."
The Texans knocked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler out of the game with a concussion in the second quarter. He went 7-of-14 for 40 yards, two interceptions and a 16.7 passer rating in the first half. Jason Campbell played the second half and was 11-of-19 for 94 yards.
Manning forced a fumble on the Bears' first play from scrimmage. Bears tight end Kellen Davis gained six yards on a catch over the middle before Manning hit him with a jarring tackle, popping the ball loose. It was recovered by linebacker Tim Dobbins and returned 28 yards to the Chicago 28-yard line. The Texans wound up with a 20-yard field goal by kicker Shayne Graham.
The next four possessions ended with turnovers. First, Quin fored a fumble at the Houston 32-yard line after Bears running back Michael Bush ran for 11 yards up the middle on fourth-and-one. Linebacker Bradie James recovered at the 27-yard line.
Schaub was picked off by Bears cornerback Tim Jennings six plays later on a pass intended for rookie receiver Keshawn Martin, who appeared to slip on the play. The Bears drove to the Houston 30-yard line, but Manning got the ball back for the Texans with an interception at the six-yard line on a deep pass intended for Brandon Marshall.
Four plays later, Schaub was picked off by Jennings again, this time on a pass that sailed over Andre Johnson. The Bears converted the turnover into three points with a 51-yard field goal by Robbie Gould with 12:57 remaining in the second quarter.
Midway through the second quarter, the Texans put together a seven-play, 66-yard scoring drive, capped by Foster's touchdown catch. The score was set up by a 21-yard run by Foster and a 25-yard run by Justin Forsett that got the Texans into the red zone.
Cutler was picked off by Jackson at the Texans' 27-yard line with 1:23 remaining in the first half, securing a 10-3 halftime lead for the Texans.
The Texans had only 54 yards of offense in the second half. They didn't pick up a first down until the final minute of the third quarter on a 23-yard pass from Schaub to Kevin Walter. That came two plays after the Bears made it 10-6 with a 24-yard field goal.
The Bears almost made it a one-point game early in the fourth quarter, but Gould missed a 48-yard field goal off the left upright. The Texans then handed off to Foster five times for 17 yards, and Schaub hit tight end Garrett Graham for an 11-yard catch to set up Shayne Graham for a 42-yard field goal. That put the Texans up 13-6, which proved to be the final margin.
"It was ugly in the second half," Kubiak said. "We did not move the ball well at all, but we mustered up the field goal and hung on to the ball, and that was the difference."
The Texans' 13 points were their second-fewest ever scored in a victory.
"This is a huge win for us, on the road, in a tough environment, tough weather conditions," defensive end J.J. Watt said. "A grind-it-out, pound-it-out game shows that we can win in any environment, any situation.
"It wasn't pretty, it wasn't clean, but we came out with a win, and that's all that matters."