Monday, September 27, 2010
Rapid Reaction: Bears 20, Packers 17
By Kevin Seifert
CHICAGO -- Let's hit the high points of a wild 20-17 Bears victory at Soldier Field:
What it means: Would you believe it? The Bears are the lone 3-0 team in the NFC and have taken early control of the NFC North. (They also have a 2-0 divisional record). A winless preseason has given way to an improbable but impressive undefeated start. The Packers, meanwhile, dropped to 2-1 and will be left wondering how they could make so many mistakes in such an important early game.
Hero: Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher forced Packers receiver James Jones to fumble with 2 minutes, 18 seconds remaining in the game, giving the Bears the ball on the Packers' 46-yard line to set up the game-winning drive.
Number to note: The Packers committed an inexcusable 18 penalties, a team record, and a few of them had huge impact on the game. Two of them wiped out interceptions, and none was bigger than rookie safety Morgan Burnett's pass interference on a pass intended for Earl Bennett with 1:51 remaining. Safety Nick Collins intercepted the ball, but the penalty moved the ball from the Packers' 33-yard line to their 9 and set up an easy 19-yard game-winning field goal for Robbie Gould. Meanwhile, rookie linebacker Frank Zombo's brutal helmet-to-helmet hit against Bears quarterback Jay Cutler in the fourth quarter drew a roughing the passer penalty that wiped out a Nick Barnett interception and extended a drive that ended in a Robbie Gould's game-tying 25-yard field goal.
Missing in action: The Packers had little semblance of a running game, finishing with 63 yards on 15 attempts.
Tomorrow's talker: No matter what happened the rest of the evening, the Bears had to be thrilled with Hester's re-emergence as a punt returner. His 62-yard dash in the third quarter was the 12th touchdown return of Hester's career, but his first since the 2007 season. The drought coincided with his conversion to full-time receiver duties, and there had been some rumblings in recent weeks that the Bears would take him off their special teams altogether. But after ripping off punt returns of 62 and 28 yards Monday night, I'm guessing Hester put that possibility to rest.
Mystery Science Theater: Defensive tackle Tommie Harris was largely invisible in the first two games of the season, totaling one tackle. But it was still surprising to see the Bears deactivate him for this game. It was a coaches' decision and unrelated to any disciplinary measure, according to ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson. Harris wasn't on the injury report last week, so there really is nothing else to conclude other than the fact that he has played his way out of the lineup. What a dramatic fall for a guy who was one of the NFL's most unblockable players a few years ago.