Mundy Pick-Six

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
8:38
PM ET


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Bears safety Ryan Mundy intercepted Jets quarterback Geno Smith for the pick-six.

Injured Milliner inactive for Jets

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
7:30
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As expected, New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (ankle, quadriceps) was declared inactive Monday night against the Chicago Bears.

Milliner, who made his 2014 debut last week after missing the opener with a high-ankle sprain, was on track to face the Bears until last Friday. He developed tightness in his quadriceps, forcing him to sit. On Saturday, he was listed as doubtful on the official injury report.

Only 19 games into his career, the former first-round pick is gaining a reputation for being injury prone. This was his fifth missed game.

As reported earlier, wide receiver Eric Decker (hamstring) is active and will start for the Jets. The team made the decision after evaluating him in the pre-game.

Aside from Milliner, the Jets' inactives are wide receiver Walter Powell, linebacker IK Enemkpali, linebacker A.J. Edds, guard Dakota Dozier, tackle Ben Ijalana and nose tackle T.J. Barnes. Safety Josh Bush, who missed the first two games with a leg injury, will make his season debut. He could be involved in the sub packages as the Jets attempt to deal with the Bears' talented receivers.

As expected, wide receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) are active for the Bears.

Chicago's inactives are cornerback Sherrick McManis, linebacker Shea McClellin, center Roberto Garza, guard Matt Slauson (ankle), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion) and center Charles Leno.

NFL Nation Game Day Live: Bears at Jets

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
4:56
PM ET
Follow along below for the latest coverage from our NFL Nation reporters on this week's Monday night matchup between the Chicago Bears and the New York Jets.

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ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini and ESPN Bears reporter Michael C. Wright discuss their keys for the Bears at Jets on "Monday Night Football."

Fantasy: Ask The Insiders

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
4:12
PM ET


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Matthew Berry discusses the rise of Kelvin Benjamin and what to expect from Matt Forte on Monday night.

Top stats to know: Bears at Jets

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
2:02
PM ET

AP Photo/Tony AvelarThe Chicago Bears have provided solid protection for Jay Cutler in 2014.
The Chicago Bears and New York Jets meet for the second time on Monday Night Football (8:30 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN). Here are the statistical angles of note for tonight’s game.

Bearing down
The Bears were staring at an 0-2 start but outscored the San Francisco 49ers 21-0 in the fourth quarter last week in a 28-20 win.

It was the first time they won a game after trailing by at least 17 points since 2006 against the Arizona Cardinals – which is also the game then-Cardinals coach Dennis Green uttered the famous postgame words, “The Bears are who we thought they were.”

Through two games, the Bears have been outscored by 20 points in the first half. They’re plus-25 in the second half.

Protect the quarterback
The Bears’ Jay Cutler has had much better protection to start this season. In two games, he’s been sacked on 3.4 percent of his dropbacks, continuing a positive trend for the past few seasons.

He’s feeling the heat much less overall, facing duress on 12.5 percent of his dropbacks in two games – best in the league entering Week 3. For context, Peyton Manning led the league in this category last season, facing duress on 14.9 percent of his dropbacks.

Cutler will be making his 70th start with the Bears. His record with Chicago is 40-29 (.580).

Ground-and-pound
The Jets enter this game tops in both rushing offense (179.0 YPG) and rushing defense (52.5 YPG). The Jets are the first team to hold that distinction after any week of an NFL season since the Vikings ended 2007 leading in both categories.

That would appear to be bad news for a Bears defense that allowed 193 rush yards in Week 1 and 129 in Week 2. Defending the run has been a major issue for Chicago, ranking at or near the bottom of every defensive rushing category since the start of last season.

Odds and ends
• The Bears are in a stretch that will see them play four of five games on the road. They host the Green Bay Packers next week, then play the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons on the road.

• The Bears are 11-3 on Monday Night Football since 2006. They won both of their appearances last season (Week 9 at Green Bay and Week 14 against Dallas). They appear twice this season with the second game coming in Week 15 (host the Saints).

• Geno Smith is making his second career start on Monday Night Football. In Week 5 last season, he went 16-20 for 199 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-28 win at Atlanta.
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The EA Madden simulator predicts the outcome of the Bears-Jets matchup on "Monday Night Football."

ESPN Chicago picks: Bears at Jets

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
10:00
AM ET

How they match up: Bears at Jets

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
9:00
AM ET

CHICAGO BEARS (1-1) at NEW YORK JETS (1-1)

7:30 p.m. CT Monday at MetLife Stadium on ESPN

Skip Bayless: Cutting ties with Cutler

September, 22, 2014
Sep 22
12:00
AM ET

Jay CutlerAP Photo/Tony AvelarJay Cutler can always be counted on to drop back and sling it, for better or worse.

I'm sorry, Jay Cutler, I'm done defending you. No more being true to my school -- our school -- Vanderbilt. Time for some tough love.

I'm calling you out, pal, just before you take the national stage again on "Monday Night Football."

I'm not buying what I saw from you a week ago Sunday, when you wrecked San Francisco's housewarming with the best stretch of quarterback I've ever seen you play. Four touchdown passes, zero "no, Jay, no" turnovers. You took a helmet to the chest that would have brought the trainer and doctor running for a lot of QBs. You jumped up and played what ESPNChicago.com columnist Jon Greenberg called your signature game.

I hope he was right.


(Read full post)


Running Backs The Focus Monday

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
10:12
PM ET


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Jon Gruden and Mike Tirico preview the Monday Night Football matchup between the Jets and the Bears, during which the running game will be key.
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LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen said that while he doesn't know all the details concerning former Minnesota Vikings teammate Adrian Peterson's legal situation, he believes "good people make mistakes."

Allen played alongside Peterson for six seasons in Minnesota before joining the Bears.

"My focus is on the Chicago Bears, honestly, and what I've got to do with my life," Allen said when asked about Peterson. "I've said it all along: I have my beliefs and my opinions, and that's what they are, and I live my life a certain way. I believe good people can make bad decisions. I'm not perfect. So I'm not one to cast judgment on others. They'll have to deal with those circumstances. It's a tough deal, and it's sad. It was sad to hear."

Peterson faces a child abuse charge in Texas for spanking his son in May with a wooden switch, with the incident leaving scarring and injuries. The child's mother reported possible abuse to Hennepin County Child Protection services, and two doctor's exams revealed the boy suffered injuries consistent with abuse.

The Vikings dropped Peterson from their active roster while the criminal case against the running back is still pending.

Asked about how Peterson was as a teammate, Allen called the running back "a good-hearted man. He always treated myself with respect, my wife with respect. He'd come over to the house for bobsledding. I honestly believe good people make mistakes. I don't know the facts. I don't know the details. I'm not one to condemn others and place judgment on them when I don't know all the information."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears announced Saturday they'd face the New York Jets on Monday night without center Roberto Garza (ankle), left guard Matt Slauson (ankle), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quadriceps), defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion) and linebacker Shea McClellin (hand).

Ratliff
McClellin
The club held out all five players for Saturday's workout. Receivers Brandon Marshall (ankle) and Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) participated in a limited capacity, and are officially listed as questionable. Both are expected to play against the Jets.

In other injury news, the club officially listed defensive end Jared Allen (back), safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and receiver Josh Morgan (groin) as probable. Defensive end Trevor Scott (foot) is doubtful.

It was expected that Garza and Slauson would miss Monday's game after sitting out last week's win against the San Francisco 49ers, with Brian de la Puente and Michael Ola serving as their replacements. But the unavailability of Ratliff and McClellin forces the Bears to reshuffle the lineup for the starting defense.

With Ratliff out of the defensive line rotation, the Bears will lean more heavily on rookies Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton.

"That Sunday night game was a big test, and they played a decent amount of snaps," Allen said. "The game didn't seem too big for them, and sometimes that can be a problem with young guys. They kind of lose their minds out there, and they don't really remember their techniques or fundamentals. But they've been doing a great job of that. Both of them are powerful, and both of them have obviously a high skill set."

McClellin's expected absence means Jonathan Bostic will start at strong side linebacker.

McClellin participated on a limited basis on Thursday, but suffered a hand injury at practice that kept him out of action on Friday and Saturday.

"We've got a lot of different options," Bears coach Marc Trestman said. "We're disappointed for [McClellin] because he has been getting better. We've watched him so hard to learn a new position, get his body the way he's gotten it to play the position. We know he'll be out this week. We'll see where we are next week."
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte picked up his phone Thursday night knowing full well former teammate Devin Hester would soon be reading hundreds of text messages congratulating him for breaking the NFL's record for return touchdowns.

"He's a close friend of mine," Forte said. "But I knew he was going to read every text message. I definitely had to give him props on breaking the record. I just told him congratulations, all his hard work paid off even when people were saying, 'Ah, he's not going to break [the record],' or 'he's done. He can't return the ball anymore,' whenever he'd have a tough year. I'm just proud of him for staying the course."

[+] EnlargeDevin Hester
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesWith a 62-yard TD return Thursday night, Devin Hester now holds the NFL record for return touchdowns (20).
Hester high-stepped into NFL history on a 62-yard punt return TD to collect his 20th career scoring return, which broke Deion Sanders' record, during Atlanta's 56-14 shellacking of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by former Bears coach Lovie Smith. Hester's former Chicago Bears teammates at Halas Hall congratulated the return man Friday for the accomplishment, with Forte saying, "He's Hall-of-Fame worthy now."

Hester played eight seasons for the Bears (2006-13), racking up 11,632 all-purpose yards. The veteran spent parts of his career playing defensive back and receiver with the team. But last season, Hester requested to concentrate solely on special teams.

Prior to Hester's departure from Chicago, there were rumblings his skills had declined. Bears kicker Robbie Gould disputed that notion, and Hester's statistics certainly support that. Hester averaged 27.6 yards on kickoff returns last season and 14.2 yards per return on punts to go with an 81-yard touchdown.

"He still played at a high level [in 2013]," Gould said. "Actually, the record, he broke it last year and we had a penalty that called it back [against Minnesota]. The guy is a special player. He's got a lot of speed, a lot left in the tank, and you're seeing that right now; especially with the Atlanta Falcons. He's maybe one of the greatest players I've ever played with of all time."

Prior to the 2013, Hester considered retiring, and Forte said "I'm glad he decided to continue to do it, and was able to break that record."

Hester admitted to feeling unhappy about his role toward the end of his Chicago tenure. Unable to click with quarterback Jay Cutler, Hester requested prior to 2013 that the Bears didn't use him on offense. During the 2014 offseason, the Bears decided to not offer Hester a contract.

"I'm going to say it, man. I wasn't happy the last three or four years in Chicago," Hester said during Thursday night's postgame show on NFL Network's Total Access. "Things weren't going the way I expected."

Hester caught a career-high 57 passes for 757 yards and three touchdowns in 2009, Cutler's first season with the team. But Hester and the quarterback never clicked. Hester finished with 2,908 yards and 14 touchdowns, but caught just 23 passes in 2012, his final season playing receiver for the Bears.

"I've got a quarterback now that ... he loves even the walk-ons," Hester said, "and coaches that know how to get the ball to me; how to make plays for me."

Cutler said on Friday he was unaware of Hester's comments.

"But I'm happy for him," Cutler said. "He seems to be in a good place there. Obviously, he's scoring touchdowns. That's always a good thing for him. Couldn't be more happy for him."

Bears coach Marc Trestman joined Forte in sending Hester a congratulatory text, and the coach said the return man responded later in the night.

"Excited about this mountain he's ascended to," Trestman said. "When people move on, you hope it's for the right reasons, for their career. I think everybody here is certainly excited about the fact he's having success, and doing something with his new opportunity."

Through three games, Hester has contributed 126 yards on seven receptions with the Falcons, along with one rushing TD. He's averaged 28 yards on kickoff returns and 15.2 yards on punts to go with Thursday night's record-breaking score.

"Great teammate," Forte said. "Whenever you needed something, you could call Devin anytime, and he'd help you out. As good as he is on the field, off the field, he's even better."

Allen practices, Marshall sits

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
3:54
PM ET
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Chicago Bears defensive end Jared Allen (lower back) practiced without restrictions on Friday, but wide receiver Brandon Marshall (ankle) remained sidelined for a second consecutive day.

 Marshall and Allen are both expected to play Monday night versus the New York Jets.

Besides Marshall, six other Bears were held out of Friday’s practice: defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff
(concussion), linebacker Shea McClellin (hand), defensive end Trevor Scott (foot), cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad), center Roberto Garza (ankle) and left guard Matt Slauson (ankle).

McClellin’s situation took a turn for the worse. The linebacker had limited in participation in practice on Thursday, but he sat out the entire workout on Friday.

According to head coach Marc Trestman, McClellin suffered the hand injury in practice this week, not during the 28-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 2.

In other health news, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (hamstring) and safety Chris Conte (shoulder) were both limited for the second straight practice, while receiver Josh Morgan (groin) had full participation. Morgan should be available to face the Jets.

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