Bears

Moon: Forte reaches a Payton milestone

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Moon: Forte reaches a Payton milestone

Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011
Posted 8:27 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

GREEN BAY Running back Matt Forte began the day needing 22 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the second time in three NFL seasons and he had that before the game was one-quarter over.

Forte circled his left end behind blocks by left tackle Frank Omiyale and pulling right guard Roberto Garza and streaked 25 yards to top the 1,000-yard target. He then immediately went after 1,100 with 21 more yards on the next play.

That run and his 54 total for the first half, plus 41 more on 4 pass receptions, made Forte the first Bear since Walter Payton to rush for 1,000 yards and total 500 receiving yards in the same season. In a strong show of consistency, Forte netted 961 yards of total offense over his last nine games.

For him to get 1,000 yards is our goal, said guard Roberto Garza. Hes without a doubt one of the best backs in the league and he makes us look good.

Forte will be entering the final year of his rookie contract in 2011 so as far as any lavish gifts right now for his offensive linemen, I cant, he said. I dont have any money.
To play or not to play

Bears players were very unhappy with the outcome Sunday but not with the situation in which no starters were given the day off. Indeed, the unmistakable feeling was that playing was a good thing.

I think it was good coaching to let us play the whole game, said linebacker Lance Briggs.

The Packers, going after the No. 6 seed for the playoffs, gave the Bears an early look at playoff football. It was definitely a playoff atmosphere and they were coming after us, said center Olin Kreutz.

To Brian Urlacher, it was nice to play the whole game. It keeps us in shape because were off next week. We have a bye, then weve got to come back and play a game that counts for something.
Nice gesture

Julius Peppers took time out Sunday morning to reach out to John Fox, the embattled Carolina Panthers coach who was Peppers coach since the defensive end came into the league in 2002 and until this year.

I textd him this morning and told him I was proud of him, Pepper said. Hes been through a lot there and I really wish him the best always.

Peppers isnt likely to send as nice a message to Sundays officials after he was called for roughing the passer. Peppers hit Aaron Rodgers with his shoulder just after Rodgers got rid of a pass on a scramble and the yellow flag came out.

I thought it was a bogus call, Peppers said. I thought it was for helmet-to-helmet contact but the official said I didnt have to hit him.
Pick it

The defense went into Sunday looking for turnovers and got one early when cornerback D.J. Moore punched the ball out of receiver Donald Drivers hands in the first quarter, a fumble recovered by Charles Tillman.

Tillman put the offense in scoring position with a third-quarter interception and return of 42 yards to the Green Bay 15. The interception gave the Bears two players (Tillman, Chris Harris) with 5 interceptions for the first time since Tillman and Ricky Manning each had 5 in the 2006 Super Bowl season.

Tillmans twisting return confirmed the informal consensus that all defensive backs are secretly running backs and wide receivers at heart. Im a big Devin Hester fan, Tillman said. Im just not as successful as he is.

Sick bay

Safety Major Wrights run of first-year injuries continued Sunday with a leg injury in the first quarter that took him out of the remainder of the game. Wright was injured during training camp, in the Bears second game and again on Sunday, a surprise for a player who missed not so much as a practice while playing at Florida.

Safety Chris Harris suffered a stinger making a tackle on the next-to-last series Sunday but said afterwards he will be ready to practice this week.
Duly noted

Wide receiver Johnny Knox needed 40 yards to reach 1,000 for the season but was thoroughly throttled by the Green Bay secondary. Knox caught none of four passes thrown to him through three quarters.

Creepy: Strong-side linebacker Nick Roach was injured on the first play Sunday. A year ago when the Bears played the Packers, Pisa Tinoisamoa injured his knee on the first play of the game.
Zackary Bowman, a starting cornerback to open the season but replaced by Tim Jennings after breakdowns in coverage, did his chances of regaining the job no good when he was beaten for a 47-yard completion to set up a go-ahead Green Bay touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Restful Sunday

The Bears placed wide receiver Earl Bennett on their inactive list to give his injured ankle a game day off to heal. Otherwise the Bears made no changes in their lineups or game-day roster for a game that carried little meaning with Atlanta blowing out Carolina to clinch the No. 1 seed.
Welcome back

Tight end Desmond Clark was active for the first time since the Seattle game and responded with a special-teams tackle on Brad Maynards first punt.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears film breakdown: Mitch Trubisky's amazing scramble, Marcus Cooper's soft coverage mistake

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Bears film breakdown: Mitch Trubisky's amazing scramble, Marcus Cooper's soft coverage mistake

Had Connor Barth not missed a 46-yard field goal that would've sent Sunday's Bears-Lions game into overtime, Mitchell Trubisky's 19-yard scramble on fourth-and-13 would've gone down as the biggest play the rookie quarterback made in 2017. Instead, Barth missed the kick, and the Bears couldn't force an opportunity for Trubisky to win the game in overtime.

But that scramble was incredible in its own right, even if it didn't lead to a tie ballgame and/or eventual victory. Here's how it happened:

The Lions rush three, with linebacker Tahir Whitehead (labeled No. 3 here) defending Benny Cunningham, who initially sticks in the backfield in pass protection. Detroit has four defenders playing man coverage against the Bears' four pass-catchers -- wide receiver Markus Wheaton and tight end Daniel Brown are at the top of the image, while wide receivers Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman are at the bottom. The Lions have three safeties playing deep with the Bears needing 13 yards to gain a first down. 

Trubisky drops back and doesn't spy anyone open. The yellow line is where the Bears have to get to for a first down, and instead of forcing a throw, Trubisky opts for a scramble drill. 

It doesn't start very well. Trubisky is pursued by defensive linemen Anthony Zettel and A'Shawn Robinson (blue arrows) and has no chance to scramble outside. There's a window created by Wheaton at the top of the screen (purple arrow) but there's no chance Trubisky could set and make that throw across his body now. Scramble it is. 

Trubisky stops on a dime and is able to avoid Zettel and Robinson, and cuts back to the middle of the field. Defensive end Cornelius Washington (red arrow) identifies where Trubisky is going and begins pursuing him. 

A hole opens up! But Washington is now quickly closing on Trubisky, who at this point still has to run about 17 yards to get the first down. It's not looking good. 

Somehow, Trubisky sheds Washington's tackle around the 42-yard line. He still has 10 yards to go, and now safety Miles Killebrew (red arrow) is closing on him. 

Killebrew overpursues to the boundary, and Trubisky is able to cut back to the middle of the field.

"He ran to my side and cut back and then made another guy miss, and I was like, oh s***, he’s really about to get this," Inman said. 

Killebrew whiffs, and Trubisky picks up the first down. 

"That’s his mentality," running back Tarik Cohen said. "Y’all got to see his mentality. That situation, fourth and 13, he’s not going down, not taking a sack, not throwing the ball away — he’s going to find a way to make a play, and he’s going to lead us to where we need to be." 

***

One of the game's most critical plays for the Bears' defense came midway through the second quarter. The Lions were backed up near their own goal line, and Leonard Floyd had just forced a Matthew Stafford incompletion with an excellent speed rush to the quarterback's blind side. The Bears defense seemed to be locking down on Detroit, and with a 10-point lead, forcing a punt here could've turned into more points by an offense that was having success in the first half. 

The Bears rush Floyd, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks and Pernell McPhee (red circle), and have cornerback Marcus Cooper playing off Lions wide receiver T.J. Jones (orange line). Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (blue arrow) is going to sit in the flat. 

Jones gets to the sticks and sits down (orange circle), with Cooper still backpedaling. Kwiatkoski, perhaps, could've been a little deeper, but it doesn't appear that he's in the wrong spot. Also, tight end Eric Ebron has some open space just before the first-down line with safeties Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson (purple arrows) keying on him. 

The ball is in the air, and Cooper is about six yards off Jones, who's right at the first down marker. Kwiatkoski can't get to the ball, and Jones and Stafford easily converts the first down. Credit needs to be given to Jones for a savvy route and knowing exactly where he needed to go to pick up the first down. 

And this was a heck of a throw by Stafford, who in this frame is about to get hit by Goldman while Floyd is leaping to try to disrupt the throw. A good route, a great throw and poor coverage led to the Lions picking up a first down. This throw sparked something in the Lions' offense, too: Including it, Stafford had a run of nine completions in 10 attempts for 153 yards and two touchdowns before halftime. For the Bears' defense, this play was the beginning of one of the "siestas" coach John Fox said have plagued his team this year. 

***

One of the Bears' best designed and executed offensive plays on Sunday came midway through the fourth quarter in the red zone down by a touchdown.

Tre McBride was motioned to the hashmarks from the outside, and the Bears have fullback Michael Burton and tight end Adam Shaheen lined up to the field side (red circles). Zettel (yellow circle) is lined up well off left tackle Charles Leno's left shoulder. 

Trubisky sold this play well, planting his right foot and sort of turning his body toward the field. Zettel (orange arrow) bites hard on that fake and loses contain, while Shaheen, Burton and McBride (red arrows) all disguise the play as a stretch/toss to the field. Cohen (purple arrow) now has some open space to the boundary. 

In the top left corner, another player does his job to set up the play: Inman carries cornerback D.J. Hayden (blue circle) into the end zone, freeing up plenty of green grass for Cohen. Safety Quin Glover (gray arrow) now has to pursue Cohen toward the pylon. 

"(Inman) ran the DB off, so I knew I had to get to the pylon or if he’s going to meet me there first, I had to stop his feet," Cohen said. "So I gave him a hesitation move." 

That hesitation froze Glover just enough for Cohen to tee up this:

Wheeee! "I felt like I had a 44-inch vert," Cohen said. He's able to dive in the end zone and tie the game up in a critical spot. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times) and Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) join Kap on the panel.  Kap is happy that Mitch Trubisky played ok and John Fox’s team lost again.  The panel disagrees.

Plus Leonard Floyd doesn’t have an ACL tear…. Yet. Should the Bears shut him down even if he gets good news?