WHEN: Sept. 22, 2013
WHERE: A 40-23 win at Pittsburgh
THE PLAY: With 12:58 left to play, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger scrambles for a 4-yard gain, fumbles, and pounces on the loose ball. At the end of the play, defensive tackle Henry Melton collapsed to the turf after planting awkwardly.
WHAT THEY SAID: Bears coach Marc Trestman: “"We lost a very good player. Unfortunately it's a next-man-up situation where the next guy has to come up and be ready to play and help our football team. We're not happy about it, but the downside of the National Football League is players are going to get hurt, and the team has to respond."
IMPACT OF THE PLAY: The Bears suffered their first significant loss of the season with Melton now out for the remainder of the year with a torn ACL. Veteran backup Nate Collins replaced Melton in the lineup, and also suffered a torn ACL that put him out for the season. In all, the Bears started six different players either at the nose tackle or three-technique with the team eventually signing veteran Jeremiah Ratliff, who played fairly well down the stretch. Prior to tearing the ACL, Melton recovered a Felix Jones fumble caused by Major Wright, which led to a Robbie Gould field goal. Ultimately, Melton’s injury started a domino effect for Chicago’s front seven. Prior to that injury, the Bears ranked No. 9 against the run (88.7 yards per game) and finished the season allowing an average of 161.4 yards on the ground.
The Bears have expressed an interest in bringing back Melton for 2014, but his future with the team is still uncertain.