It’s Bradley to the rescuePosted: November 15, 2006
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rex Grossman needed a friend.
A friendly, dependable receiver, that is, to help him emerge from an offensive funk marked by wild throws and careless interceptions.
With injured deep threat Bernard Berrian out of the lineup, Grossman’s list of familiar receivers dwindled.
But second-year man Mark Bradley, who missed most of his rookie season with a serious knee injury, introduced himself as a clutch performer when he latched on to a 29-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds left in the first half.
His second catch of the night kept the Bears within striking distance as they trailed the Giants 13-10 at intermission.
“We got [Bradley] singled up, and it was a streak route at about 10 yards, and he separated and made a great catch on it,” Grossman said.
Bradley had been inactive for five games this season with an ankle injury but kept working in case he was needed.
“We had been practicing giving double moves against their secondary,” Bradley said. “They play very aggressive. We took a shot at it and got six points.”
Grossman later found his favorite target, Muhsin Muhammad, on a 10-yard TD pass in the third quarter as well as tight end Desmond Clark on a 2-yard hookup. Muhammad had a game-high seven catches for 123 yards.
Bradley came through again in the fourth quarter with his fourth catch of the night, a 38-yarder, to set up a 2-yard TD run by Thomas Jones for a 38-20 Bears advantage.
“When you get anxious, you overthink things and you overprocess things,” Bradley said of his long-awaited return to the playing field. “You just have to let the game come to you, have poise and go out and make plays.
“I feel like I have gained trust from Rex, not just in games but in practice. That’s where it starts. You get your timing down with your quarterback in practice.”
Said offensive coordinator Ron Turner said: “It was great seeing Mark in there making some plays.”
Grossman was intercepted three times and lost a fumble against Miami, but he rebounded Sunday to complete 18 of 30 passes for 246 yards after a shaky start.
“Things couldn’t have started worse for Rex,” Turner said. “But I’m not surprised how he handled it. I’m not worried about his mental toughness and his confidence.”