Bears

Will RG3 be able to play Sunday?

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Will RG3 be able to play Sunday?

From Comcast SportsNetLANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Robert Griffin III walked gingerly through the Washington Redskins locker room, his sprained right knee in a big black brace.Teammates stood at their lockers, mixing the emotions of an improbable 31-28 overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens with the fear that their franchise player could be seriously hurt."We're happy that we won, obviously," left tackle Trent Williams said. "But that is concerning, knowing he went down. Everyone wants to know how he's doing."Griffin went down during Washington's final drive of regulation Sunday, with the Redskins trailing by eight. Fellow rookie Kirk Cousins, who had played in only one other game this season, stepped in and hit Pierre Garcon for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds remaining, then ran the quarterback draw for the 2-point conversion to tie the game.Yet another rookie, Richard Crawford, returned a punt 64 yards in overtime to set up Kai Forbath's 34-yard game-winning field goal. The Redskins (7-6) have a four-game winning streak -- remaining one game behind the New York Giants in the race for the NFC East title -- but the day's most important result was still to come. About three hours after the game ended, the Redskins said an MRI exam showed no major ligament damage.The worst-case scenario would have been a season-ending ACL tear, like the one Griffin had on the same knee while playing for Baylor in 2009. But team spokesman Tony Wyllie said the MRI showed "everything is clear" and ruled out that sort of significant injury.At about the same time as Wyllie's announcement, Griffin tweeted: "Your positive vibes and prayers worked people!!!! To God be the Glory!"Griffin had been confident that his injury wasn't serious."I'm not a doctor, but I know what an ACL feels like," Griffin said immediately after the game. "And it doesn't feel like an ACL. ... If I felt that, I'd be pretty nervous. But we won the game, everybody's praying for me, I feel pretty good right now about the whole situation."With the Redskins trailing 28-20 after Ray Rice's 7-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to play, Griffin started moving his team before he was tackled by Haloti Ngata at the end of a 13-yard scramble."I knew as soon as I got hit. I screamed. Like a man, of course," Griffin added with a laugh. "It hurt really bad."Griffin left for one play, then returned for four more, completing two passes to get the Redskins deep into Ravens territory. But he was also hopping on one leg. Eventually, he fell to the turf and could no longer continue."I knew I needed to get out at that point," Griffin said. "I couldn't move. At some point you have to do what's right for the team. And if I'm playing the rest of that game, I probably would have hurt myself even more."In came fourth-round pick Cousins, who was a clutch 2 for 2 -- back-to-back to Leonard Hankerson for 15 yards and 11 yards to Garcon."He's ice. Like they used to say about Larry Bird, he got ice water in his veins. That's the best thing you can say about Kirk," receiver Joshua Morgan said. "He was coming like nothing was even going on."Then came some Bird-level audaciousness -- the quarterback draw on the 2-point try, a call that Griffin heard through his headphones while getting treatment on the sideline."It was awesome," Griffin said.The Ravens got the ball to start overtime but went three-and-out. Seventh-round pick Crawford, getting a chance to handle punts for the first time after a disappointing set of games from Brandon Banks, had the big return to Baltimore's 24-yard line, putting the Redskins easily within the range of Forbath, who hasn't missed in 14 attempts in his debut NFL season.It was all part of a day of big-time contributions from first-year Redskins: Sixth-rounder Alfred Morris ran for 122 yards on 23 carries with a touchdown.While the Redskins have been in must-win mode since dropping to 3-6, the Ravens (9-4) would have clinched the AFC North with a win. Instead, they ended a 15-game winning streak following a loss, dropping back-to-back games for the first time since 2009. They are 2-2 in their last four -- all decided by three points."As a leader on this team I like to finish teams out," said Rice, who ran for 121 yards on 20 carries. "I don't want to be known as Yeah, we get them close in the fourth quarter, and the Ravens are going to give it away.' That's never been us. That's not going to be us."Joe Flacco completed 16 of 21 passes for 182 yards and three first-half touchdowns for the Ravens, and third-round pick Bernard Pierce ran for a season-high 53 yards. Anquan Boldin, who passed the 10,000-yard receiving mark, caught two touchdown passes and set up a third with a 28-yard catch-and-tiptoe-run down the sideline.The big accomplishment for the Ravens defense was getting RG3 out of the game -- and they still couldn't win. After sweeping their three NFC East rivals in three weeks, the Redskins now have bragging rights over their neighbor to the north."We knew if we didn't get the win today, obviously those other three didn't mean a whole lot," Washington coach Mike Shanahan said. "I'm really proud of how the guys played."NOTES:Ravens RG Marshal Yanda sprained his right ankle and wore a black walking boot on his foot in the locker room. LB Jameel McClain had a neck injury, but X-rays were negative. FB Vonta Leach sprained his ankle. Rice had a left hip pointer. ... The Redskins have their first four-game winning streak since 2008 and have six 30-point games, their most since 1996. ... Washington became the first team since the 1970 merger to have two rookie quarterbacks lead fourth-quarter comebacks in the same season.

Bears offense opens up in 24-23 comeback win over Denver Broncos

Bears offense opens up in 24-23 comeback win over Denver Broncos

Preseason games are about isolated goods and bads, snapshots really, rather than sweeping overalls. All in the eye of the beholder. And for the Bears, after losses to Baltimore and Cincinnati in Matt Nagy’s first efforts as a head coach, getting out of Denver with a 24-23 win over the Broncos looked pretty good in the eyes of any Bears beholder.

Saturday’s preseason game three was a collection of snapshots for the Bears, playing their third “practice” game but the first with enough of the starters on offense and defense to matter, or at least as much as these can matter.

The Bears achieved their first win under Nagy on the right arm of No. 2 quarterback Chase Daniel, pressed into extra duty when Tyler Bray was hurt in the third quarter, and who completed 19 of 28 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns, including the game-winner just inside the 2-minute warning on a 12-yard throw to tight end Ben Braunecker. The win was preserved when cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc punched the ball out of the hands of Denver receiver Isaiah McKenzie and linebacker Isaiah Irving gathered in the loose football to end a potential Denver comeback drive at the Chicago 38.

Before all of that, in his longest appearance of the presesason, quarterback Mitch Trubisky started and directed a pair of sustained drives, the first covering 51 yards to a missed field-goal attempt, and a second going 75 yards and culminating in a touchdown. Combined with the work by Daniel, the Bears put up five drives 50 yards or longer. Trubisky completed 9 of 14 passes for 90 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and the No. 1 offense produced 10 first downs.

Notably perhaps, the Trubisky score came in a fashion that was previewed more than a few times throughout camp, and that projects as a template for a staple in the offense under Nagy:

A high-percentage flip going to tight end Trey Burton cutting across the field and going seven yards for Trubisky’s first TD pass of the preseason. The design of the play forced the Denver secondary to drop in coverage of Bears wide receivers and left rush linebacker Von Miller needing to choose between dropping into a short zone or going after Trubisky. Miller did the latter and Burton, who caught 4 of 5 passes directed to him for 45 yards, was alone in the underneath zone.

“I’m just trying to be who I am, do what the coaches ask me to do and go wherever that leads,” Burton told the FOX 32 broadcast. “Obviously, every week and every game is different so whatever my role is, I’m down for it.”

Trubisky did suffer his first interception over the span of two preseasons and 71 pass attempts, but appeared to be victimized when running back Tarik Cohen broke off the route on a short in-cut and failed to break back toward Trubisky. The throw was to where Cohen was supposed to be but was instead an easy pick for Denver safety Justin Simmons.

“I think [Cohen] learned he can’t do that,” Nagy said.

But the passing offense overall was functional under Trubisky, not insignificant in the context of the quarterback in a new offense with a complement of receivers largely unfamiliar with him. And some who hadn’t graced stat sheets to date.

Kevin White came up with his first two catches of the preseason and followed each with some nifty running after the catches. White also drew a 37-yard pass interference penalty that accounted for about half the yardage on the Trubisky touchdown drive.

Rookie Anthony Miller caught 3 passes for 33 yards, with a long of 19 yards. Allen Robinson started by played sparingly in the first half in the first test of his surgically repaired left ACL and was not targeted. Taylor Gabriel, with a foot injury, did not play for the third straight game.

Thoughts from Bears-Broncos: Injury absences, special teams woes and a world of confusion over new helmet rule

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USA TODAY

Thoughts from Bears-Broncos: Injury absences, special teams woes and a world of confusion over new helmet rule

No Roquan Smith but Bears injury absences vs. Broncos far more troubling
 
No real surprise that coaches decided to hold linebacker Roquan Smith out, given that the rookie had exactly one practice in pad and two without pads last week after signing his contract on Monday. But it was not Smith’s absence that was concerning coming out of the Bears ____ loss to the Denver Broncos.
 
Linebacker Leonard Floyd, who has been hampered by injuries in each of this first two Bears seasons, went out midway through the first half with an unspecified hand injury and did not return. Tight end Adam Shaheen, starting his second straight game after three catches for 53 yards at Cincinnati, caught a first-quarter pass from Mitchell Trubisky but left the field on a cart after injuring his ankle during the ensuing tackle.
 
Along with Floyd’s absence, the pass rush was again without outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who hasn’t been on the field since the first practice of training camp, that after missing play time with ankle twisted in the first April minicamp practice and with a hamstring strain in a June minicamp practice.
 
The Bears did get a sack from Roy Robertson-Harris, his third in as many games and likely establishing him as the starting defensive end opposite Akiem Hick in the Bears’ base 3-4.
 
First quarter not-so-special teams
 
Repeating a pattern from some years past, Bears kick returns did the offense no favors early, with multiple mistakes in first quarter alone:
 
Recently signed running back Knile Davis took the opening kickoff six yards deep in the end zone and got it only to the Chicago 15;
 
After the first Denver three-and-out, Cre’Von LeBlanc fair-caught a punt at the Chicago 5 instead of gambling on a touchback. Three plays later Mitch Trubisky mishandled a high snap and was sacked in the end zone for a safety.
 
On the free kick, reserve tight end Ben Braunecker lost contain and contributed to a 17-yard return by Isaiah McKenzie, setting the Broncos up at their 40, from where they moved for a first-quarter field goal. After that field goal, Davis returned the Denver kickoff 43 yards but the runback was nullified by a holding penalty.
 
Throw in Cody Parkey’s missed field goal from 52 yards and Bears special teams combined for one of the poorer possible quarters short of allowing a touchdown return.
 
 
Helmet hi-jinks
 
And the league thought it had problems with the catch rule?
 
The NFL’s leading-with-the-helmet prohibition and its enforcement bordering on the bizarre reared its ugly head early  flag on Denver cornerback Isaac Yiadom for his tackle of Bears tight end Adam Shaheen defies explanation. Yiadom got his head in front of Shaheen’s quads in a textbook go-low tackle with minimal risk to either player but was hit with a 15-yard penalty. Not sure what Yiadom was supposed to lead with? His feet?
 
Then Bears cornerback Kyle Fuller drew a leading-with-the-helmet when he went shoulder-first into tight end Andy Janovich, while Denver left tackle Garrett Bolles went helmet-first into a basic cut block on linebacker Leonard Floyd and drew no flag.
 
 
Duly noted
 
Quirky rules and their enforcement don’t account for a worrisome spate of penalties (eight through three quarters) that cost the Bears more than 100 yards. 
 
In the first half alone, besides the Fuller flag, tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie drew holding penalties, and a holding penalty on the kickoff-return team negated a 43-yard return by Knile Davis. Tight end Ben Braunecker was tagged for pass interference.