Bears

Bears Grades: Gould's heroics don't mask poor special teams play

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Bears Grades: Gould's heroics don't mask poor special teams play

Robbie Gould booted the Bears to a desperately needed first win under John Fox, one of the few special-teams highlights, albeit a huge one, from 49 yards in one of the NFL’s most difficult kicking venues. It was the 12th game-winner of Gould’s career and ties his previous longest for a winning kick.

Gould had converted from 54 yards earlier in the fourth quarter, pushing his success rate from 50 yards or longer to 76 percent (19 for 25, a franchise record). His three successful boots Sunday moved him to 9-for-9 on the season. Gould also is four points from tying Kevin Butler’s franchise scoring mark (1,116 points).

“I love that [south] end zone, because that’s the wind I’m used to,” Gould said. “I think I’ve hit all my game-winners at that end. The last one I remember at that distance was the Seahawks. You kind of bring yourself back to certain kicks.

“I knew if I hit it to the right upright and everyone else did their job – which they did all game – I knew we were going to have a chance to win it. Just trust your lines. It’s the same old end zone down there for me. It’s just something I’m comfortable with.”

[MORE: Wild finish propels Bears to first win of the year]

Despite Gould’s game-saving efforts, special teams continued to be a glaring weakness in the Bears’ game, going from the breakdowns in the loss to Seattle to different forms of poor execution and focus vs. Oakland.

‘Teams started against Oakland nearly as bad as they were against the Seattle Seahawks. Gould’s first PAT, attempted with new holder and punter Spencer Lanning, was blocked. On the ensuing kickoff, Gould’s pooch kickoff went out of bounds without a Bear getting to it, forcing the defense to face the Raiders from the Oakland 40. The defense forced a three-and-out but Oakland was able from that range to drop a punt at the Chicago 6.

Grade: C

Watch Cordarrelle Patterson take a kickoff 102 yards to the house for a Bears touchdown

Watch Cordarrelle Patterson take a kickoff 102 yards to the house for a Bears touchdown

Hold off on those panic tweets! 

Down 9-0 (safeties, lol), things were looking bleak in Chicago. Then, in the span of like 10 seconds and 102 yards, Cordarrelle Patterson single-handedly reminded Bears fans all over the country that the game was not, in fact, over yet: 

It had been a while since the Bears had a kickoff return TD at Soldier, too: 

Bears Week 7 Inactives: Mitch Trubisky and Bilal Nichols are both playing against the Saints

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USA Today

Bears Week 7 Inactives: Mitch Trubisky and Bilal Nichols are both playing against the Saints

The Bears just announced their inactive list, and as expected, Mitch Trubisky is ready to go: 

Trubisky and defensive lineman Bilal Nichols will both return after missing time with a dislocated shoulder and broken hand, respectively. Trubisky has been out since Week 4's game against the Vikings and Nichols hasn't played since breaking his hand against the Broncos. 

Reserve offensive lineman Ted Larsen will also return, his first game since hurting his knee against the Vikings as well. It'll up to Larsen and Rashaad Coward to fill in at guard, especially with Alex Bars being a healthy scratch. Long was put on IR earlier in the week, and while Coward took most of the first-team reps in practice, head coach Matt Nagy didn't rule out the possibility of rotating the two early in the game.