Bears

Was this the craziest game of the MLB season?

833387.jpg

Was this the craziest game of the MLB season?

From Comcast SportsNet
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Elvis Andrus and the Texas Rangers were not going to let the Angels beat them again -- even if they needed two improbable comebacks to win. Andrus had a game-ending two-run single in the 10th inning, and the Rangers rallied from six runs down to beat Los Angeles 11-10 on Wednesday night. "Our mentality was to win no matter what," said Andrus, who went 4 for 6 with three RBIs. "It was a great game for us." The Rangers came into this four-game series leading the Angels by five games in the American League West. Los Angeles won the first two games of the series by a combined 21-10 and were on its way to three in a row. Texas was down 7-1 in the fifth before rallying to force extra innings. The Angels scored three in the 10th inning to take a 10-7 lead before the wild finish to a game that lasted 4 hours, 1 minute. The Rangers extended their lead in the American League West to four games over the Angels and 4 12 over third-place Oakland. "We kept battling, we kept grinding and we got blessed," Texas manager Ron Washington said. Nelson Cruz homered, and Mitch Moreland singled off Jason Isringhausen (3-1) to bring the Rangers to 10-9. With the bases loaded, Andrus drove a single past third baseman Alberto Callaspo to set off a wild celebration near second base. "It was a crazy game in Texas," Isringhausen said. "I've seen a lot of them. A six-run lead is not safe." The comebacks seemed unlikely because the Texas offense struggled mightily during a 9-14 July. The Rangers scored 81 runs in the month, last in the American League. It was only the second time in Texas history the club has rallied to win after trailing by at least three in extra innings. The Rangers also did it May 18, 1975, against Detroit. "It was great to break out like this," said Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler, who homered in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 7. "Hopefully we can take that into (Thursday)." Albert Pujols connected twice for his second straight multihomer game. His second home run, a two-run shot in the 10th, was one of four long balls hit between the two teams in the final two innings. Chris Iannetta also homered in the 10th for the Angels. Joe Nathan (2-3) gave up Iannetta's homer on a full-count pitch and Pujols' two-run drive but still earned the win. It was Pujols' 44th multihomer run of his career, third-most among active players. He had never had consecutive multihomer games in the regular season. Kinsler's solo shot off Ernesto Frieri with one out in the ninth forced extra innings. It was Frieri's first blown save in 13 chances. "It was a great, great game on both sides," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "We got their closer, and they got our closer. It was a lot of fun. But at the same time, it broke my heart." Cruz kept the Rangers within a run in the top of the ninth when he threw out Kendrys Morales trying to score on a single to right. New acquisition Ryan Dempster will take the mound for the Rangers on Thursday night as they look to split the series against their rivals. He will face left-hander C.J. Wilson, who left Texas as a free agent in the offseason. "It was a great team effort from top to bottom," Texas' Michael Young said. "It was definitely a great win for us." Pujols had four RBIs to give him 1,400 for his career. Hunter and Callaspo each added two RBIs for Los Angeles. Yu Darvish started for the Rangers and equaled his season-high by allowing seven runs and walking six over five innings. Garrett Richards, who was starting in place of an ailing Dan Haren, gave up five runs and nine hits before he was chased with two outs in the sixth. The Angels led 7-1 before the Rangers rallied with four in the fifth and one in the eighth. David Murphy, who was 3 for 3 and reached base five times, had an RBI single in the eighth that closed the gap to 7-6. This was Texas' largest comeback since a six-run rally Aug. 13, 2010, against the Red Sox. The Angels scored six runs on only two hits in their third-inning outburst. They benefited from four walks, an error and Darvish's poor throw on a fielder's choice as 10 men came to the plate. Pujols lined a 1-1 pitch from Darvish into the Angels bullpen -- the first hit for Los Angeles in the game -- to make it 4-0. After two more walks in the third, Callaspo doubled in a pair to make it 6-0. NOTES: Rangers right-hander Neftali Feliz underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Wednesday. Team physician Dr. Keith Meister performed the operation. .... With temperatures over 100 degrees, the Angels limited their pregame work outside. Manager Mike Scioscia said his players only spent about 25 minutes outside taking fielding and batting practice, which is about 20 minutes less than average. ... After three games batting fifth, Rangers CF Josh Hamilton was moved in the third slot Wednesday and went 0 for 5 with two strikeouts.

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.”

For an improving Bears offense vs. Dolphins, a day of maddening extremes

For an improving Bears offense vs. Dolphins, a day of maddening extremes

Their points production in the 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday marked the fourth time in five games under coach Matt Nagy that the Bears have scored 23 or more points. All of the 28 were heaped on the Dolphins by the offense, which churned for 467 yards one game after amassing 483 and 48 points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But the Bears did in fact lose, and not all of the reasons can be laid at the feet of the defense. Not nearly all of them.

In great position to put the game virtually out of reach for the struggling Dolphins, the Bears offense failed. The yardage total gave the Bears consecutive 400-yard games for the first time since games 14-15 in 2016, and well could have represented a statement that the offense of Nagy and coordinator Mark Helfrich was indeed hitting a potent stride.

It may be. But a combination of troubling factors gave Sunday’s output a hollow ring.

Against the Dolphins, 149 of the yards came on possessions ending in turnovers, including an interception thrown by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and fumble by running back Jordan Howard both occurring in the red zone with points well within reach.

The offense hurt itself with a handful of pre-snap penalties, and the overarching sense is that the belief in Nagy and the overall offense is growing amid mistakes that clearly rest with players themselves.

“For sure, 100 percent trust in Coach Nagy and what he believes is best for this team,” Trubisky said. “What he believes is what I believe is best for this team. Whatever he calls, we're going to run it to the best of our ability. We put ourselves in a great chance, and I have faith in our guys that next time we get the opportunity we make it.”

Opportunities taken and opportunities missed

For Trubisky, the linchpin of the evolving offense, it was a day of extremes.

His production (316 yards) gave him consecutive 300-yard games for the first time in his 17-game career. His passer rating (122.5) was the seond-highest of his career, behind only the stratospheric 154.6 of the Tampa Bay game. His three TD passes are second only to his six against the Buccaneers. Trubisky’s yardage outputs this season are pointing in a decidedly upward arc: 171 at Green Bay, followed by 200-220-354-316.

But decision-making proved costly at tipping points against the Dolphins. From the Miami 13 with a 21-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, and holding a chance to create potentially decisive breathing room on the scoreboard, Trubisky forced a throw toward tight end Ben Braunecker, who was double-covered in the Miami end zone. The ball was intercepted by safety T.J. McDonald, and the Dolphins went from the touchback to a touchdown and subsequent game-tying two-point conversion.

“I just thought the safety went with the ‘over’ route,” Trubisky said. “He made a good play. I lost him when I was stepping up [in the pocket], and I forced one in the red zone when I shouldn't have… . I forced it and I put my team in a bad position, and I shouldn't have thrown that pass.”

The second-year quarterback started poorly, with an overthrow of a wide-open Anthony Miller on the third play from scrimmage, resulting in a three-and-out and a concerning start for what would be only scoreless Bears first half this season. A failed fourth-and-2 conversion gave Miami the football at its 41 later in the quarter.

Trubisky badly overthrew an open Miller in the second quarter, creating a third-and-long on which the Dolphins broke down his protection for a second sack in the span of just 11 plays. After a 47-yard completion to Taylor Gabriel, Trubisky threw an checkdown pass nowhere near running back Jordan Howard.

Fatigue factor overlooked?

Running back Tarik Cohen totaled 121 yards for the second straight game and the second time in his career. For the second straight week Cohen led or co-led the Bears with seven pass receptions.

But the last of the seven came with a disastrous finish. Cohen was hit by Miami linebacker Kiko Alonso after taking a swing pass and picking up 11 yards, fumbled and had the ball recovered by cornerback Xavien Howard at the Chicago 45. The defense did manage a stop, leading to the overtime, but the result was devastating.

“Personally for me, it’s [frustrating] because I know I took my team out of position to win the game late in the ball game,’ Cohen said. “So personally, that’s frustrating for me… . I feel like I had an opportunity to get ourselves down in scoring position. I let fatigue get the best of me, and I forgot about the fundamentals.”

That Cohen mentioned “fatigue” is perhaps noteworthy. A question was raised to Helfrich last week as to whether there was an optimal or max number of snaps for the diminutive Cohen, who had five carries and was targeted nine times – not including one punt return and plays on which he ran pass routes but was not thrown to in the south Florida heat.

“It was hot,” said defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. “It was hot out there.”

Weapons rising

Last offseason and millions in contracts were spent upgrading offensive weaponry. The investments produced in Miami.

Touchdown passes were caught by wide receivers Anthony Miller (drafted) and Allen Robinson (free agent) plus tight end Trey Burton (free agent). Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (free agent) caught the five passes thrown to him for a team-high 110 yards, his second straight 100-yard game after none in his previous four NFL seasons.

Five different players posted plays of 20 yards or longer, including pass plays of 54 and 47 yards by Gabriel and a run of 21 yards and reception of 59 yards by Cohen.

Uncharacteristically for the normally fast-starting Bears offense, the group followed the scoreless first half with 21 points in the third quarter and 343 yards of combined offense in the second half and overtime.

“We came out with more energy and had the attitude that we were going to go down and score the ball,” Trubisky said, “and we played a lot better the second half.”