Bears

Three Bears necessities to a win over the Rams

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Three Bears necessities to a win over the Rams

ROOKIE RUNNER RESPONSE

This Rams team is pretty much a one-trick pony, but Todd Gurley's a pretty impressive thoroughbred. Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of his torn ACL at Georgia, and the rookie and his teammates will want to celebrate his recuperative powers accordingly. The Bears defense that hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown the last six games will certainly be tested to keep that streak going. It'll be up to the patched-up offensive line to continue holding up against its toughest test yet. The Rams are second in the NFL in sacks (27 from 14 different players) so in order to minimize those possibilities, establishing Jeremy Langford and having his numbers counter the potential Gurley damage, to a degree, can take yet another game into the fourth quarter, and keep giving these Bears a fighting chance.

MAKE THEIR QUARTERBACK BEAT YOU

Remember when Nick Foles came to the rescue for the Eagles two years ago, throwing 27 touchdowns to just two interceptions. The Tom Petty lookalike's touchdown-to-interception ratio has been Free Fallin' since: 13/10 last year and 7/5 this season. After throwing for 297 yards in a season-opening overtime win against Seattle, he hasn't reached 200 yards passing since. Kenny Britt is second in the league in yards-per-reception (20.7), but has caught just 15 passes. Tight end Jared Cook has 20 catches. It's uncertain whether Wes Welker plays after signing on Monday, hoping he'll help keep the offense on the field with their league-worst third down conversion rate (23.8), including 4-for-the-last-37.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

AUSTIN LIMITS

The most dangerous weapon outside of Gurley is Tavon Austin, who's finally getting used as he should be after being drafted eighth overall two years ago. His rushing/receiving splits are almost the middle on those 53 touches, combining for over 500 yards and six touchdowns. He scored on a reverse when the Bears lost in St. Louis in 2013. But the biggest danger this time around is Austin's punt return abilities. He took one to the house against the Seahawks, and we know the Bears' coverage struggles all too well, as they look to avoid becoming just the 16th team to allow four kick return touchdowns in a season.

Get ready for Sunday's game at 11 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet when Dan Jiggetts, Lance Briggs, Jim Miller and Chris Boden set you up on Bears Pregame Live. As soon as the second quarter ends, log on to CSNChicago.com as Miller and Boden break down the first half and go over adjustments on Bears Halftime Live. Then as soon as the game goes final on CBS, flip back to CSN as the three ex-Bears and Boden bring you 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, live press conferences and locker room interviews on Bears Postgame Live.

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

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USA TODAY

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.

Bears

The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.

Bulls

The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.

Blackhawks

Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”