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.
It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.
Sosa is heating up, but even a red-hot Sosa doesn't automatically equal wins for the Cubs.
Slammin' Sammy notched his first multi-homer game in 1998 in a 9-5 loss to Kevin Millwood and the Atlanta Braves. Sosa drove in 4 of the Cubs' 5 runs on a solo shot in the 4th inning and a three-run shot in the 8th.
Sosa tallied 830 feet of homers in the game, with his first blast going 410 feet and the second shot measured at 420 feet.
The big game bumped Sosa's overall season slash line to .337/.411/.551 (.962 OPS) with 11 homers and 35 RBI.
Fun fact: Mickey Morandini hit second for the Cubs in this game and went 4-for-4, but somehow only scored one run despite hitting just in front of Sosa all game. That's because Morandini was caught stealing to end the 3rd inning, leaving Sosa to lead off the 4th inning with a solo blast.
Anyone who lived through the Michael Jordan Bulls remembers those games when he was putting up tons of points, but the Bulls were still struggling overall.
Steve Kerr referenced one of those games to give advice to Kevin Durant during Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The TNT broadcast caught the conversation and aired it late in the third quarter.
"When MJ was with the Bulls, we had a playoff game," Kerr began the story. "He kept trying to score and he was scoring, but we weren't getting anything going. Phil Jackson said 'Who's open?' He said, 'John Paxson.'"
Paxson famously hit the game-winning shot in Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals to clinch the series. Kerr, who later hit his own championship-winning shot on an assist from Jordan in 1997, was trying to get to get his teammates involved.
"I want to trust your teammates early," Kerr said. "What you're doing is you're getting to the rim and then you're trying to hit him. I want you to trust the first guy and then move. Still attack, still look to score, but trust these guys, OK?"
Watch the video above to see the interaction.
Durant scored 29 points in Game 5 to lead the Warriors, but Houston took a 3-2 series lead with a 98-94 win.