Bears sit ‘everyone’, reserves beat KC 27-20

Bears coach Matt Nagy decided to rest his starters for the next-to-last preseason game rather than use it as the customary regular-season tuneup.And the backups proved that they’re also ready for the regular season. Backup quarterback Chase Daniel directed touchdown drives on the first three possessions and the Bears defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 on Saturday.The Bears played in the Hall of Fame Game and have been practicing since July 20, and Nagy liked what he’d seen in practices.So he decided Friday to keep starters out of what normally would be a dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener at Green Bay on Sept. 9.

”This was, for me, more of just knowing the pulse of our team,” Nagy said. ”I know this team better than anybody right now.”

Daniel replaced Mitchell Trubisky against the Chiefs, the team Nagy last year served as offensive coordinator. Nagy didn’t think Trubisky, who is in his second year as a starter, would have benefited greatly after about 2,000 preseason and training camp snaps.

”We’ve had some grueling practices against Denver, some live reps in our past couple preseason games,” Nagy said.

Playing against Chiefs defensive starters and then the backups, Daniel led the Bears to a 24-10 halftime lead.Daniel, a Chiefs backup quarterback from 2013-15, finished 15 of 18 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The first two Bears touchdown drives came against Kansas City’s starting defense, minus injured safety Eric Berry and four other injured players.Wide-open receiver Kevin White caught Daniel’s 29-yard TD pass in the first quarter to break a 7-7 tie, and Daniel then found Javon Wims for a 7-yard TD pass in the back corner of the end zone and a 21-10 lead.Benny Cunningham ran in from 13 yards for the Bear’s first TD and Cody Parkey added a 48-yard field goal just before halftime.Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II and the starting offense played into the third quarter against the backup Bears defense, and showed inconsistency.Mahomes flipped a short pass to the right side and Kareem Hunt turned it into a 19-yard TD for a 7-7 tie. Then he led a 49-yard drive ending in Harrison Butker’s second-quarter 47-yard field goal.Mahomes didn’t produce a big play on Saturday, and finished 18 of 24 for 196 yards. He left the game with the Chiefs down 24-10 in the third quarter.

 

NOTES—Bears wide receiver Kevin White’s 29-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter was the first touchdown he has scored since coming into the NFL as the seventh pick in the 2015 draft. White missed 2015 and much of 2016 with leg injuries, and played one game last year before suffering a shoulder injury. He is vying for a roster spot in a crowded wide receiver competition and has Nagy’s eye.

”I root for underdogs, I love underdogs,” Nagy said. ”And so when you have an underdog that fights his tail off to improve and when people don’t believe in him and he proves the people who do believe in him right, then there’s nothing better to me.”

Nagy and his mentor, Reid, shared a hug and a few moments after the game.Nagy also had a long talk after the game with Mahomes, who started a game for the Chiefs last year as a rookie.

”I told him good luck,” Mahomes said. ”He was someone that I really got to know last year and really built a great relationship with him. I’m excited for him and his future with Chicago.”

Chiefs linebacker Tanoh Kpassagnon was flagged for roughing Daniel in the second quarter, even though Daniel was tackled with the ball still in his hand. Daniel said it was because Kpassagnon drove him into the ground with the full force of his body.

”I got crushed,” Daniel said. ”I’m glad I was wearing full pads out there.”

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers last year suffered a broken collarbone on a similar hit…..There were no protests during the anthem….Bears wide receiver Marlon Brown left in the second quarter with a possible concussion and did not return. … Bears reserve tackle Bradley Sowell was assisted from the field in the fourth quarter with a leg injury….The Chiefs close the preseason Thursday by hosting Green Bay.The Bears ene the preseason Thursday by hosting the Buffalo Bills.The Brears again will rest most starters.

Bears rally late to edge Broncos with two late TD’s.

DENVER—Mitch Trubisky and Denver QB Case Keenum feel better about their respective offenses after starting out faster and finally moving the chains Saturday night.

”Scoring points always feels better,” said Keenum, who led two scoring drives in three possessions one week after his dud of a Denver debut.

Trubisky also bounced back from a dismal debut last week by connecting with Trey Burton for his first score of the summer.

”We can find answers in this offense,” said Trubisky, who’s learning first-year coach Matt Nagy’s philosophies. ”The playmakers are going to get open. It’s my job to get them the ball.”

Keenum’s new backup Chad Kelly threw another touchdown pass after leapfrogging Paxton Lynch, but it was Bears backup Chase Daniel who had the best night of all.He led a fantastic finish by throwing for a pair of touchdowns in the final five minutes Saturday night to spark the Bears come-from-behind 24-23 win.With the Broncos in control at 23-10, Lynch entered the game to a thunderclap of boos, which only increased through three drives that went nowhere.

”Well, I feel bad for Paxton, but our fans want to win,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. ”That’s what it’s about, it’s about passion, I should say. But I feel bad for Paxton. But he has to ignore it and go play. It’s professional football. No one’s going to hold your hand, so he has to go out there and perform.”

Lynch played poorly again.A week after his 24-yard performance led to his demotion, he threw for just 39 yards on 5-of-11 passing with a pair of sacks.He nevertheless had the Broncos (0-2) in field goal range when he hit Isaiah McKenzie on a short slant route and the speedy receiver who fumbled six times as a rookie, coughed up the football on second effort at the Bears 37 and linebacker Isaiah Irving recovered it with 58 seconds left.Daniel threw a 2-yard TD pass to running back Taquan Mizzell with 4:38 left and then hit tight end Ben Braunecker with 1:53 remaining to tie it. Pat O’Donnell’s extra point gave the Bears (1-2) their first lead.After a pair of three-and-outs last week, Keenum rebounded from another three-and-out to lead two scoring drives on his final two possessions, finishing 8 for 13 for 78 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.Kelly had his second straight strong showing, this one just 48 hours after general manager John Elway indicated he might have to go in search of a veteran backup quarterback if he can’t trust either Kelly or Lynch to come in and win games should Keenum get hurt.Even though Kelly’s three TDs are the only ones thrown by Denver’s quarterbacks so far, Joseph’s not ready to say he can trust him to be one play away from starting when the regular season begins.Trubisky threw for 90 yards and a touchdown on 9-of-14 passing. He also threw an interception and was tackled by first-round pick Bradley Chubb for a safety after the shotgun snap from the 1 went off his hands.Trubisky said he’s feeling more and more comfortable in the Bears new offense.Von Miller , who was held out at the last minute a week earlier, made his preseason debut for Denver and played a couple of series. Miller said he wasn’t upset by the decision last week to sit him against the Vikings but said he did want to play.

Bears fall short to Bengals, 0-2 in Exhibitions

CINCINNATI—Andy Dalton made the Bengals’ new offense look like a comfortable fit.Working out of Cincinnati’s reconfigured playbook, Dalton threw a pair of touchdown passes during a 30-27 victory over the Bears on Thursday night at half-empty Paul Brown Stadium.The Bengals (1-0) were last in the league on offense last season, the worst finish in franchise history. They overhauled their leaky offensive line, and coordinator Bill Lazor injected more diversity into the playbook. It showed the first time out.

”That’s what we wanted to do,” Dalton said. ”If we go out and play like we’re supposed to play, it can look like that.”

Dalton went 6 of 8 for 103 yards, completing four passes of at least 20 yards. He also had an interception that wasn’t his fault – John Ross fell on his route and Kyle Fuller returned the pickoff 47 yards to the end zone.The Bengals are hoping that Ross and running back Joe Mixon – their top two picks last season – emerge in the redesigned offense during their second seasons.Ross had a 20-yard catch. Mixon – moved into the starring role with Jeremy Hill gone – made the game’s most impressive play. He caught a short pass, stiff-armed one defender and spun away from another for a 24-yard touchdown .The Bears (0-2) rested most of their starters during a 17-16 loss to the Ravens in the Hall of Fame Game, including quarterback Mitchell Trubisky . His preseason debut Thursday didn’t go very well.

”We expect to be better,” Trubisky said. ”We were sloppy and that’s not how we want to play.”

Trubisky was in for two series that netted minus-1 yard on eight plays. The Bears’ only first down on those series came on Carlos Dunlap’s penalty for roughing the quarterback, a late hit on Trubisky. He missed on a deep sideline pass to Kevin White on his opening throw and finished 2 of 4 for 4 yards.

”There was nothing extraordinary, but nothing bad,” first-year coach Matt Nagy said. ”This is so early for him right now. It’ll be fun to get him more snaps and get him into a rhythm.”

Attendance was 35,633, slightly more than half-capacity at the 65,535-seat stadium. Last year, the Bengals drew 44,495 for their first home preseason game. They’re coming off two straight losing seasons.Tyler Bray had a 56-yard completion to Daniel Brown during a 92-yard touchdown drive that put the Bears ahead in the fourth quarter. Bray finished 18 of 27 for 219 yards. The Bears signed him from Kansas City, where he was familiar with Nagy’s offense.Nagy decided to try for a tying field goal with 45 seconds left. Cody Parkey missed a 52-yard try.

NOTES—There were no protests. Bears players, coaches and staff stood with arms linked for the anthem. Bengals players stood by themselves on the sideline…..Demarcus Ayers and Fejedelem drew personal fouls for lowering their heads during tackles…..The Bears play at Denver on Saturday, Aug. 18.

Stan Mikita dies after long illness

Blackhawks legend Stan Mikita died on Tuesday at 78, according to his family, after a long battle with illness. Mikita is one of the most prominent names in Blackhawks lore. He holds Blackhawks records for games played, points, assists and plus/minus. He trails only one-time teammate Bobby Hull for the team record for goals scored at 541.Mikita played 22 NHL seasons, every one with the Blackhawks. He won the Hart Trophy as league MVP twice, in 1966 and 1967, and he won the Art Ross Trophy four times.In the family’s statement, they asked for privacy as they mourned the passing of Mikita.

“With great sorrow, the Mikita family announces that Stan passed away on Tuesday August 7, 2018 at the age of 78,” the statement said, per the NHL’s website. “He was surrounded by his loving family whom he fiercely loved. Details of planned services will be released when they become available. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time.”

Blackhawks chairman Rocky Wirtz also had a statement released on his behalf, which read:

Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks. His excellence is illustrated by the team records he still holds today. His passion for the game was proved by the longevity of his playing career. The impact he had on the franchise is proved by fact that Blackhawks fans still wear his jersey to the United Center. On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks organization and our fans, we express our deepest condolences to the Mikita family and all who mourn Stan’s passing.

“Stan Mikita will be always remembered as a champion, an innovator and a master of the game. He embodied the Chicago Blackhawks.” #ForeverABlackhawk

Mikita was the inspiration for a diner in “Wayne’s World,” the famous “Stan Mikita’s Donuts,” run by an extremely curmudgeony Ed O’Neill. About a year and a half ago, “Stan Mikita’s Donuts” opened up for real for a weekend in Los Angeles.Mikita was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1983. The Blackhawks also retired his No. 21 after his retirement in 1980.Mikita was diagnosed with suspected dementia with Lewy Body in 2015, and his health took a turn for the worse. While robbed of his memories, Mikita’s family said in June 2015 that it wouldn’t join any of the concussion and CTE lawsuits being brought against the NHL at the time.

Most regulars watch as Ravens edge Bears in Hall of Fame Event

Image result for 2018 pro football hall of Fame logo

CANTON—The Ravens and Bears honored their great linebackers Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher with some defense to make them proud in the Hall of Fame game that opened the NFL’s preseason Thursday night.Oh, there was a little spark of offense, some provided by Baltimore’s first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson in the second half of a 17-16 victory. His 7-yard touchdown pass to fellow first-rounder Hayden Hurst came after the Ravens’ defense recovered a fumble.The Bears put together its best drive in the final minutes and journeyman Tyler Bray connected with Tanner Gentry for a 10-yard score to cap a 92-yard march. But the 2-point conversion pass fell incomplete.Otherwise, D was the letter of the day: there were six turnovers in all, and 12 sacks, eight by the Bears.The teams exchanged tipped interceptions on the first two possessions of the preseason.The Bears moved swiftly downfield only to have Chase Daniel’s pass to Josh Bellamy deflected to safety Chuck Clark at the Baltimore 6. He returned it 15 yards, then the Ravens replicated the turnover.Robert Griffin III, attempting a comeback after sitting out 2017, had his pinpoint throw go off the hands of receiver Breshad Perriman, then off rookie cornerback Michael Joseph. DeAndre Houston-Carson dived to make the pick at the Ravens 34.The Bears soon converted when Michael Burton caught a 4-yard scoring pass from Daniel.Baltimore tied it, sparked by two big gainers by undrafted rookie running back Gus Edwards. Griffin found Maxx Williams for a 4-yard score.Then Lewis’ old unit thrilled him. On the next play from scrimmage, linebacker Kamalei Correa sped 19 yards with an interception to the Bears 9. But Urlacher’s former defense made him smile, sacking Griffin on third down to hold Baltimore to a 31-yard field goal by Kaare Vedvik.Generally, it was a sloppy affair marred by a slew of dropped passes, poor protection for the quarterbacks, and misthrows by those QBs.But something Lewis and Urlacher would approve, the defenses hit hard and tackled well.Matt Nagy, of late the offensive coordinator in Kansas City, made his head coaching debut with the Bears. He has said his new offense is in the early steps of development, and it looked that way all night.Of course, with backups playing it’s nearly impossible to gauge progress.Each of the seven inductees to the hall who were on hand – Terrell Owens is a well-publicized no-show – received a rousing ovation when they were introduced before the game. Lewis replicated his patented warmup dance for a few seconds, and Urlacher slapped hand with every Bears player lined up on the 45-yard line.Also walking along midfield between the lines of Ravens and Bears were Randy Moss, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Robert Brazile and Bobby Beathard.Owens did make it onto the cover of the Hall of Fame enshrinement magazine, however.

NOTES—At halftime, Hall of Famers Ozzie Newsome, the general manager of the Ravens, and Dan Fouts received their ”Rings of Excellence” from David Baker, the hall’s president.The first application of the NFL’s enhanced enforcement of penalties for players lowering their helmet to make a tackle occurred early. Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor was flagged for his hit on Benny Cunningham, earning a 15-yard penalty that helped set up the Bear’s first touchdown.Correa got nailed for the same violation in the third quarter, but he also had a sack that forced a fumble in that period, and three sacks overall….The Bears are at Cincinnati next Thursday night.