Mullin: 1934 'Sneakers Game' repeat?


Mullin: 1934 'Sneakers Game' repeat?

Saturday, Dec. 18, 2010
3:33 p.m.

By John Mullin

Now that it appears the Bears will indeed be playing outside at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis against the Vikings, it is time to turn to matters of true import.


The Bears have been on the wrong end of icy conditions in big games at memorable times in the past. They are planning on a different outcome this time, with the field at expected at worst to be nothing short of a sheet of ice by the second half next Monday night, possibly sooner.

I just dont want to be on Skating with the Stars, said defensive tackle Anthony Adams.

A number of players told that they indeed are preparing for the Minnesota game with non-cleated, sneakers-style footwear.

Some are considering more extreme measures, if only in fun.

Snow boots, said linebacker Lance Briggs. You know, the boots with the tennis rackets on the bottom. Those are the ones right there. Cross country skis, yeah.

Bears players wore sneakers in the Green Bay game last Dec. 13 in Soldier Field. Cleats wont dig into the grass, the surface, Adams said. Its like being on skates.

Footwear is the individual players choice and a key is understanding that what feels OK in warmups may not work once the play begins in earnest.

Its going to be different once the double-team hits you. Its different from just running around, when two O-linemen are trying to press you out of the gap.

The Bears were victimized in the famous 1934 Sneakers Game, the NFL Championship game in New York. With both teams sliding around on an icy field during the first half, the Giants equipment man went to nearby Manhattan College, borrowed nine pairs of sneakers. The Giants went from trailing 13-3 to a 30-13 victory.

The Bears dont envision that scenario for themselves.

Well have the proper shoe on, coach Lovie Smith said, clearly not unhappy to see a week of talk about cold, indoorsoutdoors, ice and now shoes is winding down. I think were too deep into this now. Every surface we have, well have the proper shoe on for that. We have guys looking for that. You work through to find the perfect shoe each week and this is no different than that.
Sick bay

Linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who practiced fully on Friday, was limited on Saturdays work at Northwestern Universitys practice field and is listed as questionable.

All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson will miss his third straight game with a broken thumb and hell have a seat next to the man he helped persuade come back for the 2010 season, Brett Favre. The quarterback is officially out with his shoulder injury, as is safety Tyrell Johnson (concussion).

Hutchinson is an all-pro lineman for them, Lovie Smith said. But he hasnt played in a few games so they have moved on a little bit without him. But I dont think youre ever as good a football team as you would be with a player like that. Seems like this time of year except for maybe the Chicago Bears were not missing a lot of guys most teams are missing some of their players.

Running back Adrian Peterson practiced for the first time this week, albeit on a limited basis, and is listed as questionable, although no one expects the franchise running back to miss the game. Defensive end Ray Edwards (ankle) also practiced on a limited basis and is questionable, as is safety Jamarca Sanford (concussion).

Defensive end Corey Wootton had to endure some good-natured ribbing Saturday as Bears buses pulled up and delivered players to Northwestern Universitys outdoors practice fields. The Bears moved practice there in order to get a days orientation to artificial turf similar to that in TCF Bank Stadium and also to work on it outdoors rather than just another day on artificial turf but indoors at the Walter Payton Center.

It was fun being back where I played for five years, said Wootton, a Northwestern grad selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Guys were kidding me, though: Oh, Coreys homecoming. But it was nice.

John "Moon" Mullin is'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.

Trubisky has been “texting all week” with his old college roomie on the Redskins

USA Today

Trubisky has been “texting all week” with his old college roomie on the Redskins

Mitch Trubisky probably didn’t think his college reunion would go quite like this. Already with immense pressure on his shoulders to show he’s starting QB material for the Bears, Monday night’s matchup will be personal for Trubisky for another reason—he used to live with Redskins linebacker Cole Holcomb. And Cole is already getting ready for the face off.

Holcomb, a rookie for Washington, roomed with Trubisky at North Carolina for two years. Holcomb is second on the Redskins in tackles this year and he recently spoke on NBCSports Washington’s Redskins Talk Podcast about how his relationship with Trubisky will come into play on Monday.

"He's a competitor," Holcomb said. "He hates losing. He's one of those perfectionist people. Maybe if we can rattle him up a little bit, get him nervous back there, we'll be able to make some things happen with him."

"We've been texting all week," Holcomb explained. "We've got a group chat with a bunch of the teammates. They're all like, 'Oh, it's Mitch vs. Cole this week. It's Mitch vs. Cole this week. What's going to happen?'"

It’ll be interesting to see if Holcomb and the Redskins will ‘rattle’ Trubisky or if Trubisky will pull through and lead the offense to victory in Week 3.


Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Three keys and prediction: Bears vs. Redskins

Three keys and prediction: Bears vs. Redskins

1. Don’t let it come down to a kick. Eddy Pineiro’s surprise inclusion on Saturday’s injury report, and official “questionable” status, does leave open the possibility the Bears don’t have a kicker on Monday night. Matt Nagy sounded optimistic about Pineiro’s injury being "minor" and having him available at FedEx Field, but the best thing the Bears can do is make sure they don’t desperately need their kicker to win (as they did last week).

Maybe Pineiro plays, maybe he doesn’t. But this is more of a general key: The Bears need roster talent advantage to take over on Monday night. Pineiro proved he can make the big kick last week, but if he’s at all banged up, it would be best to make sure he doesn’t need to make a kick to win at the end.

2. Hit intermediate throws and downfield shots. The Bears’ offensive line righted itself last week in Denver after a rough beginning of the season, and should provide ample time for Mitch Trubisky to push the ball downfield. Washington only has two sacks and 20 total pressures this year, and doesn’t have the talent in its secondary — even with big names like Josh Norman and Landon Collins — to make plays downfield. 

To wit: Carson Wentz completed six of eight intermediate throws (traveling 10-20 yards beyond the line of scrimmage) and threw two touchdowns on passes traveling 20 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage. A week later, Dak Prescott completed all six of his intermediate throws and hucked a touchdown on a deep ball.

Prescott and Wentz have, of course, looked much better than Trubisky over the first two weeks of the season. But at the very least, the opportunities for Trubisky to push the ball downfield should be there. The 2017 No. 2 overall pick needs to take advantage of those openings when they present themselves.

Succeeding here will require a good run-pass balance, though, because while Washington hasn’t got much out of their pass rush it does feature four former first-round picks (Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen — provided Allen plays) who can still get after a quarterback if a passing play becomes obvious.

3. Don’t get beat on play action. While Washington has one of the NFL’s worst rushing offenses (ranking 30th in yards per rush and rushing yards per game), Case Keenum has been one of the NFL’s most effective quarterbacks when using play action. Rookie receiver Terry McLaurin is a legitimate deep threat of whom Eddie Jackson and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will need to be aware. 

But the Bears’ defense is outstanding, and should be able to generate pressure on Keenum against an offensive line missing holdout left tackle Trent Williams. That could help keep a lid on Washington's offense, which ranks fifth in DVOA, just as effectively as Jackson and Clinton-Dix could. 

Prediction: Bears 20, Redskins 17. For those hoping Monday night will be the breakout game for the Bears’ offense, they’ll still be waiting. Washington’s defense isn’t very good, and the crowd atmosphere at FedEx Field won’t intimidate anyone on the Bears’ sideline. But this is still a road game, and the Bears only won one road game by more than a touchdown in 2018 (against a Buffalo Bills team quarterbacked by Nathan Peterman).

The expectation, though, is for the Bears’ offense to be better than it was in Weeks 1 and 2. That may not lead to a 2018-Week-4 level of explosion, but merely getting to 20 points would represent progress for this offense. What’ll be key, though: The Bears’ defense will force multiple takeaways, offsetting a handful of big plays made by Case Keenum and helping secure a narrow victory in Maryland.