Bears

Bears hang on to top Lions, earn first win of the year

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Bears hang on to top Lions, earn first win of the year

The countdown has ended at 364 days.

In danger of going a full calendar year without a victory at Soldier Field, the Bears mercifully put an end to that streak as they defeated the Detroit Lions, 17-14, on Sunday afternoon. The win also snapped a a six-game losing streak to their NFC North rival with the previous win coming in Lovie Smith's final game as head coach of the Bears on Dec. 30, 2012.

Starting at quarterback for the second-straight game due to Jay Cutler's sprained thumb, Brian Hoyer (28/36, 302 yards, two touchdowns) had the Bears offense clicking on all cylinders from the outset. In their second series, Hoyer engineered a 10-play, 83-yard scoring drive as he completed passes to three different wide receivers. Hoyer capped off the drive when he escaped the pocket and kept the play alive with his mobility before setting his feet and finding Eddie Royal for a four-yard touchdown score.

The Bears defense forced the Lions to go three-and-out on three of their first four possessions before a Matt Prater 50-yard field goal gave the Lions their first score of contest midway through the first half. Despite being dominated in the first half, the Lions stole some momentum after Bears kicker Connor Barth missed a 50-yard field goal attempt wide right — ironically on the same day former Bears kicker Robbie Gould's picture was featured on the gameday ticket — late in the second quarter. Following Barth's miss, the Lions marched deep into Bears territory for a possible go-ahead score, but Matt Stafford was picked off by Jacoby Glenn to close out the first half. 

Coming out of the break, the Lions quickly moved the ball down to the Bears' one-yard line, but were stuffed on consecutive running attempts before having to settle for a Prater chip shot, 21-yard field goal. 

The Bears responded immediately when Hoyer connected with Royal for a 64-yard reception to put the Bears in scoring position. Just three plays later, Hoyer found tight end Zack Miller for a six-yard touchdown reception to give the Bears a 14-6 lead.

Bears rookie cornerback Deiondre' Hall all but sealed the victory when he picked off Stafford with under five minutes remaining with the Lions deep in Bears territory,

The Bears offense got a boost from rookie running back Jordan Howard, who made his first career NFL start. Howard finished the game with 111 yards on 23 carries and also hauled in three receptions for 21 yards. 

Royal notched his first career 100-yard receiving game with the Bears as he had seven receptions for 111 yards and a touchdown.

Hoyer, who moved his record to 16-12 as a starting quarterback, completed passes to seven different wide receivers. 

Wide receiver Kevin White left Sunday's game with a left ankle injury. Before departing, White had six receptions for 55 yards.

The Bears will look for consecutive victories when they travel to Indianapolis to take on the Colts in Week 5.

It sounds like Jay Cutler is bored in retirement

It sounds like Jay Cutler is bored in retirement

After a week off the air, “Very Cavallari” was back with a new episode, which meant more Jay Cutler in retirement.

This week we were treated to Cutler being as sarcastic as ever and sulking about having nothing to do. Cutler’s first scene involved him and his wife, Kristin Cavallari, talking about their relationship and spending time with each other. Cavallari is going to do another pop-up shop for her fashion store, which means more travel. Jay, your thoughts?

“Oh, great,” Cutler said with his trademark sarcasm.

Later in the conversation we get a bleak look into Jay Cutler post-football.

“I just hang out and clean up,” Cutler said.

Sounds like he may want to hit up the announcing gig he had lined up before coming out of retirement and heading to the Dolphins for the 2017 season.

Next, we got Cutler shopping for birthday presents for their 3-year-old daughter. If nothing else, this was amusing to see Cutler shopping for gifts for little girls.

Watch the video above to see all of the best of Cutty, which also features him designing jewelry for some reason.

Recalling Chet Coppock – snapshots of a character, who also had character

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NBC Sports Chicago

Recalling Chet Coppock – snapshots of a character, who also had character

The news that came out Thursday, that Chet Coppock had died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident earlier this month in Florida, was sad on so many levels. That you didn’t have a chance to say “good-bye,” that you didn’t have a chance to say “thank you,” that you won’t have more of “those” kinds of Chet moments.

But one of my favorite movie moments is at the end of “The Last Samurai” when Tom Cruise, the wounded ex-U.S. soldier who’d fought with the Samurai, is asked by the young Japanese emperor about the death of Ken Watanabe’s Samurai character Katsumoto, “Tell me how he died.” To which Cruise says, “I will tell you, how he lived.”

Somehow that’s the feeling thinking about Chet – little fun snapshots of how he lived.

Snapshots like listening to Coppock on Sports, and appreciating that Chet deserves a spot in the pantheon of those who created a genre.

Like how we in the media laughed imitating Chet’s questions, which routinely went on long enough for you to run out for a sandwich and be back before he was finished. But the chuckle was how Chet wouldn’t directly ask a guest, “So why did you make THAT idiotic play?” No, Chester had this tack of, “So, what would you say to those who would say, ‘You’re an idiot?’” Of course, it would take a minimum of two minutes for him to wend his way through the question, but the results were always worth waiting for.

Like “Your dime, your dance floor.” 

Like grabbing lunches with Chet while I was working on the ’85 Bears book, but in particular while I was writing “100 Greatest Chicago Sports Arguments.” The specific in the latter told me a lot about Chet, far beyond just the information he was sharing.

The “argument” was over who was the greatest Chicago play-by-play broadcaster. Now, Chet of course suggested tongue-in-cheek that he belonged in the discussion; after all, as he pointed out, a high school kid at New Trier games, sitting by himself in the stands, doing play-by-play into a “microphone” that was one of those cardboard rollers from bathroom tissue, oughta be worth something.

Chet’s nomination for the actual No. 1 was Jack Brickhouse, the WGN legend who Chet noted had done play-by for every conceivable sport.

But the reason for Chet’s vote for Brickhouse wasn’t about any of that. It was, Chet said, because Brickhouse beginning back in the mid-‘50s, when the Cubs were integrating with Gene Baker and Ernie Banks, had very intentionally made it clear with his broadcasting and behavior that Baker and Banks were “Cubs,” not “black Cubs.” Brickhouse’s principles had left an impression on a then-young Chet.

I hadn’t known any of that. But Chet did, and that he had taken a lasting impression from what he’d heard growing up said something about Chet as well as Jack. That impressed me, and frankly has always been my favorite Chet story.

So losing an institution like Chet is sad; Chet did say that, no, he wasn’t an institution, but rather that he belonged IN one. But at least he came our way.