A blocked punt and accompanying score is a good way to start any game. The Bears did that with Sherrick McManis block and Corey Woottons score off that and never let the Titans into the game. Coverage units were well prepared and the group mindset was reaching the point that the kickoff team was hoping the Titans would try to run back Robbie Gould kicks.
Robbie Gould converted all three field goal tries, from 40, 21 and 22, when the offense was not able to get into the end zone. Gould also forced four touchbacks from a returner (Dariius Reynaud) who routinely brings kicks out from deep in his end zone. Adam Podlesh was serviceable with a 31.7 net on three punts, one inside the 20, and he added a stop on a return.
The first-quarter punt block by Sherrick McManis was taken in for a TD by Corey Wootton to put the Titans immediately on their heels at a time when the offense was having real difficulty getting anything underway on the first two possessions. Devin Hester broke a punt return for 44 yards, his longest of any kind this season, and he brought his one kickoff back 26 yards.
Reynaud returned seven kickoffs for a modest 20.7-yard average (vs. 25.8, one TD for the season) as Bears cover teamers made a mission out of getting to him and expecting him to return anything not kicked out of the end zone. Blake Costanzo, Sherrick McManis and Anthony Walters each was in on two tackles and Podlesh, Armando Allen and Eric Weems each had one.
Coordinator Dave Toub had the Bears thoroughly prepared for the Tennessee formation on the punt blockTD. He also challenged the coverage units all week to deal with one of the top-ranked special-teams group in the NFL and had assignments established without dialing down any of the energy needed to take away Reynaud.