Bears coach Marc Trestman and quarterback Jay Cutler aren’t averse to risk. Sometimes, the gamble doesn’t win.With nine seconds left in the first half against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, the Bears took a huge gamble. With no timeouts, the safe move was either to take a field goal or at very least make a throw to the end zone that’s either a touchdown or incomplete to let the field-goal team come on.The Bears did neither. And its double down ended up busting.Cutler threw across the middle to Martellus Bennett short of the goal line. Instead of the tight end plowing in for the score, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix made a great play (the only time in the first half the Packers’ defense did anything notable), grabbing Bennett and keeping him inches from the goal line. Green Bay made the tackle, time ran out on the half and the Packers went into halftime with a 21-17 lead.The officials reviewed it but it seemed like a tough call because defensive back Micah Hyde was directly in between the best camera for that angle and Bennett, obscuring if the ball actually crossed the line. The call on the field that Bennett was just short was upheld.The Bears made two big mistakes that cost them first-half points. On a third-and-goal Alshon Jeffery inexplicably was wide open in the end zone, but Cutler sailed a throw way too high. The Bears had to take a field goal instead of a touchdown. And the decision to make the risky throw to Bennett cost the Bears three easy points too.The Bears got greedy, wanting seven instead of three at the end of the first half, and ended up with nothing. The Packers rode that momentum into the second half, and ended up with a 38-17 win.
Monthly Archives: September 2014
Abdullah, Nebraska run over Illini
LINCOLN—Ameer Abdullah ran for 208 yards and three touchdowns, Imani Cross added a career-high 109 yards and a TD, and No. 21 Nebraska beat Illinois 45-14 on Saturday night.The Cornhuskers (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) are off to their best start since 2010 heading into next week’s game at No. 9 Michigan State.Wearing all-red alternate uniforms on homecoming, the Huskers rushed for 458 of their 624 total yards.Illinois (3-2, 0-1) started Reilly O’Toole at quarterback in place of Wes Lunt. O’Toole was 17 for 38 for 261 yards and two touchdowns and was intercepted three times, twice by Daniel Davie.
Golson, Irish overcome 5 turnover to beat Syracuse 31-15
EAST RUTHERFORD—Everett Golson completed 25 straight passes, setting a Notre Dame record, and threw for four touchdowns to lead the eighth-ranked Fighting Irish to a 31-15 victory against Syracuse on Saturday night.Golson’s record-breaking game was far from perfect. The quarterback threw his first two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter by Durell Eskridge. He fumbled the ball away deep in Syracuse territory and bumbled an attempt to spike the ball late in the first half to stop the clock into another giveaway.A total of five turnovers by the Irish (4-0) allowed Syracuse (2-3) to linger. Terrel Hunt’s 7-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter cut the lead to 21-9.Golson came right back with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Torii Hunter Jr., son of the major league outfielder. Golson was 32 for 39 for a career-best 362 yards, coming one completion short of matching the FBS record for consecutive completions in a game set by Dominique Davis in 2011 with East Carolina.Corey Robinson, the son of former San Antonio Spurs star David Robinson, caught eight passes for 91 yards a touchdown.Syracuse has tried to turn MetLife Stadium into a home-away-from-home, but it’s not working out so well for the university that calls itself New York’s college team.The Orange have played Southern California, Penn State and Notre Dame at the home of the Jets and Giants over the past three seasons, and lost each time. They return to the Swamps of Jersey in 2016 to take on the Irish again.The Irish and Orange are now conference mates of sorts. Notre Dame competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference for everything but football, and has a scheduling agreement with the league to play five of its teams per season.This game scheduled years ago was the first of those ACC games for the Irish, who were never really tested by the Orange.The Irish’s fourth turnover, a fumble by Greg Bryant inside the Syracuse 30 late in the third quarter, led to the Orange’s first touchdown. After Hunt’s TD run, Jarron Jones blocked the extra point for the Irish.A nice start to the season has had Golson popping up in the Heisman Trophy discussion, for what it’s worth in September. This uneven performance in a win probably didn’t hurt the cause too much. Golson had two turnovers in the first quarter, losing a fumble after a nifty scramble and throwing an interception on a pass that sailed badly.The junior got it together in the second quarter. Zipping quick screens from side to side and working underneath, he directed a 95-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 23-yard pass to Will Fuller, who cut his way into the end zone to make it 7-0.Golson showed off his long-range game next possession. Fuller beat cornerback Corey Winfield to the inside on a post and Golson hit the receiver in stride. Fuller skipped past the end-zone pylon for a 72-yard touchdown to make it 14-0.Fuller had six catches for 119 yards.After a Syracuse field goal, the Irish had a chance to add to the lead with a late first-half score, but Golson bobbled the ball away while trying to kill the clock with a spike. He slapped the ball to the ground and it bounced a few yards away with most of the players just standing around, watching it roll. Syracuse’s Julian Whigham raced in, picked the ball up and took off toward the end zone.Syracuse thought it had a fumble return for a touchdown. Notre Dame figured it was an incomplete pass.After a review, the officials split the difference. Golson’s goof was ruled a fumble, but because officials had blown the play dead the ball was given to the Orange with no advancement.Syracuse coach Scott Shafer was less than thrilled with the call, saying at halftime his team needed to beat ”the luck of the Irish.” The officiating was far from Syracuse’s biggest problem. The Irish outgained the Orange 311-142 in the half.
NU stuns Penn State 29-6
UNIVERSITY PARK—Trevor Siemian ran for three touchdowns and passed for 258 yards to lead Northwestern past Penn State 29-6 on Saturday.Siemian, who was 21 of 37, and the Wildcats (2-2, 1-0) established control early with short passes and ball-control offense that netted 361 yards. Northwestern’s defense held Penn State (4-1, 1-1) to 50 rushing yards and just 266 overall, pressuring Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg all game.The Wildcats led 14-6 and broke the game open in the fourth when linebacker Anthony Walker intercepted Hackenberg and returned it 49 yards for a score.On the next possession, Xavier Washington sacked Hackenberg, forcing a fumble. Jack Mitchell’s ensuing 23-yard field goal made it a three-score margin. Siemian’s one-yard plunge set the final score. NU’s Matthew Harris was carted off late in the third after a collision with Hackenberg. Harris was responsive and offered the thumbs-up signal while leaving the field.Ten Wildcat receivers caught Siemian passes, including seven by Dan Vatale for 113 yards. Justin Jackson rushed for 50 yards and Warren Long carried nine times for 49 yards.Any mistake the Wildcats made on offense or special teams to give Penn State a chance at gaining momentum was quickly corrected by their defense.Penn State’s Jesse Della Valle returned a punt 41 yards to Northwestern’s 30 but the Wildcats limited the damage to a 36-yard field goal by Sam Ficken.The Wildcats limited Penn State to 18 rushing yards through three quarters, including nine carries from by Hackenberg who was pressured up the middle the entire game.The Wildcats’ Jack Mitchell missed a 44-yard field goal on their first possession but dominated the rest of the half by rolling up 232 yards, 202 in the air.A 42-yard punt return by Miles Shuler and 28-yard pass from Siemian to Mike McHugh set up Siemian’s first TD. An 18-yard pass to Tony Jones on the next series keyed Siemian’s second scoring dive.Northwestern’s two first quarter touchdowns marked the first points scored against Penn State in the first quarter this season. Northwestern totaled just seven points in the opening quarter in its three previous games.Penn State dodged two bullets when Northwestern’s Christian Salem, the team’s holder on field goals, was stopped short of the goal line on a fake field goal attempt, and a fumble returned for a touchdown by Matt Harris was ruled an incomplete pass after review.Ficken booted a 42-yard field goal with five seconds left in the half. Mitchell also missed badly on two of his PAT tries for NU.
GROBBER’S WEEK FOUR PICKS
INDIANAPOLIS over Tennessee
OAKLAND over Miami
HOUSTON over Buffalo
SAN DIEGO over Jacksonville
SAN FRANCISCO over Philadelphia
BALTIMORE over Carolina
PITTSBURGH over Tampa Bay
THURSDAY NIGHT: WASHINGTON OVER NY Giants
SUNDAY NIGHT:DALLAS over New Orleans
MONDAY NIGHT: New England over KANSAS CITY
NFC NORTH GAMES:
Detroit over NY JETS
Atlanta over MINNESOTA
BEARS over Green Bay
HOME TEAMS in all CAPS
BYE WEEK: Arizona,Cincinnati,Denver,St.Louis,Seattle and Cleveland
Last week 12-4, through 3 weeks 31-17.
Bears hold off Jets 27-19
”It was quite a game,” Trestman said. ”I thought we played an excellent football team. They have the ability to run it and they play terrific defense. I’m just proud of our football team. It was a team win.”
Jay Cutler threw two touchdown passes to Martellus Bennett and Ryan Mundy returned an interception 45 yards for a score. Cutler finished 23 of 38 for 225 yards and Alshon Jeffery caught eight passes for 105 yards for the Bears, who got a 45-yard field goal from Robbie Gould to make it an eight-point game with 3:10 remaining.The Jets (1-2) had one last opportunity to tie, getting into Bears territory on Geno Smith’s 51-yard pass to Greg Salas. But Jeremy Kerley was out of bounds in the back of the end zone when he made a leaping grab of Smith’s desperation fourth-down heave from the Bears 9.Cutler took a knee three times to seal the victory for the Bears (2-1).
”We just have to ride this momentum,” Cutler said.
Smith was 26 of 43 for 316 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions – and nearly had a few others. Kerley finished with seven catches for 81 yards, and almost came up with a diving grab off a tipped pass in the end zone on the final drive.
”There were some plays you wish you could have back,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said.
The Jets lost wide receiver Eric Decker in the first half to a hamstring injury; he was questionable for the game with tightness in the hamstring. Decker said he pulled himself out when he couldn’t get it loosened up. Defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson also left with an injured right knee, but Ryan didn’t think it was serious.The Bears went up 14-0 just over five minutes into the game.On New York’s second play from scrimmage, Smith didn’t see Mundy lurking in the flat as he floated a screen pass to Chris Johnson. Mundy stepped in front of the toss and ran untouched into the end zone for a 45-yard score.
”I put ourselves in a hole with the interception for a touchdown,” Smith said. ”We definitely chipped away and had a chance to win at the end.”
After the Jets stopped the Bears on three plays on their first offensive series, rookie Jalen Saunders dropped Patrick O’Donnell’s punt at his 40 and it was recovered by Ahmad Dixon. Cutler threw deep down the right sideline to Jeffery one play later, and cornerback Darrin Walls was called for pass interference to put the ball at the Jets 7.Three plays later, Cutler rolled right and found Bennett in the back of the end zone to make it 14-0 – and get the MetLife Stadium crowd booing.
”There is a little lack of respect for me as a tight end,” Bennett said. ”It’s kind of like a chip on my shoulder. They never really mention me.”
The Jets got on the scoreboard on their next possession, capping an 11-play, 55-drive with Nick Folk’s 43-yard field goal.The Bears answered with a 15-play, 79-yard drive helped by cornerback Antonio Allen’s holding penalty on a third-down incompletion by Cutler. Gould’s 24-yard field goal gave the Bears a 17-3 lead 66 seconds into the second quarter.New York cut the deficit to 17-13 with a 77-yard drive on which Kerley accounted for 51 – including a 19-yard touchdown.A video review reversed a call late in the half on which the Jets might have taken the lead. Cutler was sacked by David Harris and lost the ball, but was declared down by contact. A review showed Cutler had fumbled, but Demario Davis’ return to the end zone was negated because the whistle had blown.The Jets then went three-and-out.The Bears opened the second half aggressively, marching 80 yards on six plays and capping the drive with Bennett’s 13-yard touchdown catch to make it 24-13. The Bears nearly had a 12-yard TD by Brandon Marshall earlier in the drive, but it was wiped out by a hands-to-the-face penalty on left guard Michael Ola.The Jets also blew a possible scoring drive when Smith was intercepted by Kyle Fuller on a poorly thrown pass to David Nelson in the end zone on first-and-10 from the Bears 18.
”You can’t force it in that situation,” Ryan said. ”You learn from it.”
NOTES—Bears fullback Tony Fiammetta injured a hamstring and safety Chris Conte hurt his left shoulder. Neither returned. … Mundy also sat out portions of the game with a shoulder injury. … The Jets announced that late owner Leon Hess and former wide receiver Wayne Chrebet will be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor on Dec. 1.
Hogs rout NIU 52-14 to end Huskies Regular Season wnning streak.
FAYETTEVILLE—Arkansas is flat out having fun with its sudden turnaround at this point.Korliss Marshall returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and Brandon Allen accounted for three touchdowns as Arkansas won its third straight game with a 52-14 victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday night.The win for the Razorbacks (3-1) snapped a 17-game road winning streak for the Huskies, whose last road loss came at Central Michigan in 2011.After extending a school-worst losing streak to 10 games to open the season, Arkansas has outscored its last three opponents by a combined 125 points, 174-49.Allen was 15-of-22 passing for 199 yards and two touchdowns for the Razorbacks; he also ran for a score.Drew Hare threw for 179 yards and two touchdowns for Northern Illinois (3-1), which lost its first regular season game since 2012.Arkansas earned its first win over a power five conference team under second-year coach Bret Bielema with a 49-28 win at Texas Tech last week.Marshall wasted little time in carrying that momentum forward against the two-time defending Mid-American Conference champion on Saturday, following the blocks of Khalia Hackett and Keon Hatcher before sprinting for the opening touchdown.The kickoff return for a score to open the game was Arkansas’ first since Dennis Johnson did the same against Missouri State in 2009.The outcome was rarely in doubt after that, thanks in large part to the rejuvenated Allen – who played much of last season with a shoulder injury that limited his practice time and effectiveness.The junior connected for touchdown passes to Jared Cornelius and Hatcher, and his 2-yard touchdown scramble in the third quarter put the Razorbacks up 35-7. Allen now has eight touchdown passes and only one interception this season.Hatcher capped the Arkansas fun early in the fourth quarter, catching a 44-yard touchdown pass from Allen to put the Razorbacks up 45-14. The junior finished with six catches for 107 yards and the score.Northern Illinois entered the game no stranger to playing some of the top teams in the country, having defeated three Big Ten Conference teams during its road winning streak and playing in the Orange Bowl following the 2012 season. The Huskies, however, were overmatched by their Southeastern Conference opponent – with their rushing offense, which ranked 7th nationally (325.3 yards per game) entering the week, held to 123 yards by Arkansas.Defensive end Trey Flowers had nine tackles in the win, including a sack and forced fumble for the Razorbacks.Hare had touchdown throws to Aregeros Turner and Joel Bouagnon, but NI U trailed 28-7 at halftime and never threatened in the second half.
Illini rally past Texas State 42-35
CHAMPAIGN—Illinois combined two touchdowns and 190 yards rushing from Josh Ferguson with the kind of desperate, second-half comeback the Illini have relied on all season to escape Texas State on Saturday, 42-35.All three Illinois (3-1) wins this season have come after trailing in the second half.The game was delayed for almost two hours by lightning that started in the second quarter. Before the delay the game was almost all Texas State (1-2). And after, the Illini clawed back.Texas State built a 21-6 second-quarter lead.But the Illini scored 17 fourth-quarter points to put the game away.Wes Lunt threw for 266 yards and two touchdowns for the Illini.Tyler Jones threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns. He ran for another score.Texas State didn’t make many mistakes Saturday. But two in the fourth quarter cost the Bobcats dearly.Illinois trailed 28-25 and was faced with a fourth down at the Bobcats 16. Backup kicker David Reisner converted the field goal but Texas State’s David Mims knocked him down, giving Illinois an automatic first down.Four plays later Lunt hit receiver Mike Dudek on the run in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown and a 32-28 lead with 7:42 left in the game.Even then, Texas State wasn’t done.An Illini field goal made the lead 35-28 but the Bobcats got the ball back with 3 minutes left.Jones had been on so much of the day, making all the right decisions in the Bobcats’ option offense.But on a first down at his own 39, he threw left and found no one but Illini cornerback V’Angelo Bentley. The speedy Bentley covered the 45 yards between him and the end zone in a hurry and Illinois had breathing room at 42-28.Jones was the reason a struggling Illinois team found itself down early.On the Bobcats’ first scoring drive on a third-and-12 at the Illini 28 yard line, the sophomore quarterback turned what was about to be a big sack by linebacker Mason Monheim into a first-and-goal at the 4. Monheim sprinted through on a screen and hit Jones, but the quarterback just managed to flip the ball to running back Robert Lowe who ran for the first down.Two plays later, Jones looked ready to hand the ball off but instead pulled up and threw to a wide-open Ben Ijah in the back of the end zone. The Bobcats were up 7-6.On the Bobcats’ next scoring drive, Jones turned a likely loss into an 8-yard run, reversing field away from three would-be tacklers. Three plays later he hit Jafus Gaines on an 11-yard scoring pass. With the extra point, Texas State was up 14-6 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.With 13:35 left in the second quarter, officials delayed the game, sending teams to their locker rooms fans into the stadium concourses just ahead of a driving rain and lightning storm.And after the break, the Illini offense woke up.Ferguson finished off a quick Illinois drive with a badly needed 2-yard touchdown that pulled Illinois to within 21-13.After the abbreviated 12-minute halftime, Illinois picked up where it left off.First, the defense forced a three-and-out against a Bobcats offense that had been piling up yards.Then Bentley gave the Illini terrific field position with a 40-yard punt return to the Texas State 33.And finally Ferguson barreled all 33 of those yards to the goal line after a short pass from Lunt, diving into the end for a touchdown that pulled the Illini back to within two points, 21-19.The Illini went for two and failed, but after trailing by 15 – and it could have been more – they were back in the game.
NU finally gets win, 24-7 over underwhelming Western Illinois
EVANSTON—Solomon Vault rushed for two touchdowns, Justin Jackson had 92 yards rushing and a score, and Northwestern snapped a six-game home losing streak with a 24-7 victory over Western Illinois on Saturday.Vault and Jackson, both freshmen running backs, led the way as the Wildcats amassed 166 yards on the ground. Jackson had 21 carries for an average of 4.4 yards, while Vault had 31 yards on six carries, an average of 5.2.Quarterback Trevor Siemian was 15 of 25 for 117 yards.Northwestern (2-1) had lost nine of 10 games going back to last season. The Wildcats began last season with four straight wins and finished at 5-7.Northwestern opened this season with losses against California (31-24) and Northern Illinois (23-15).Western Illinois (2-2) lost despite having a 376-283 advantage in total yards.Quarterback Trenton Norvell was 29 of 50 for 292 yards with a touchdown and an interception for WIU. Wide receiver Lance Lenoir had 11 receptions for 115 yards.Defensive lineman Ifeadi Odenigbo had three forced fumbles and one recovery to lead an NU defense that gave up yards but didn’t allow the Fighting Leathernecks to score after their first offensive possession.Northwestern took a 7-0 lead on its first possession on a 1-yard run by Vault to cap a nine-play, 70-yard drive. But Western Illinois answered on its first possession with a 10-play, 60-yard drive capped by a 4-yard scoring pass from Norvell to Joey Borsellino for a 7-7 tie.Vault then put the Wildcats back on top 14-7 with an 11-yard touchdown run with 10:54 remaining in the first half. That drive covered just 17 yards and was set up by a sack and fumble recovery by Odenigbo.The Leathernecks racked up 243 yards of total offense (compared with 147 for NU), but couldn’t complete drives. They had a 40-yard field-goal attempt blocked with 6 seconds remaining in the half.The momentum of the blocked field goal seemed to carry over into the second half. NU forced a punt after WIU received the second-half kickoff and stretched its lead to 21-7 with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive capped by a 21-yard TD run by Jackson.Western maintained its edge in total yards in the second half, but three turnovers – two fumbles and an interception by NU cornerback Nick VanHoose – helped keep the Leathernecks scoreless.
GROBBER’S WEEK THREE NFL PICK
Thur Night: ATLANTA over Tampa Bay
BUFFALO over San Diego
CINCINNATI over Tennessee
CLEVELAND over Baltimore
Indianapolis over JACKSONVILLE
NEW ENGLAND over Oakland
MIAMI over Kansas City
PHILADELPHIA over Washington
Dallas over ST.LOUIS
ARIZONA over San Francisco
NY GIANTS over Houston
SEATTLE over Denver
Sun Night: CAROLINA over Pittsburgh
NFC North Games:
DETROIT over Green Bay
NEW ORLEANS over Minnesota
Bears over NY JETS
HOME TEAMS in ALL CAPS
Last Week: 7-9, Through 2 weeks: 19-13