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  • Bears Defeat Rams 13-10 in Overtime

    Bears Defeat Rams 13-10 in Overtime
    R.B. FALLSTROM
    Associated Press

    ST. LOUIS - Lovie Smith's head coaching debut, and his homecoming, was a bit on the sloppy side.

    The Chicago Bears overcame 19 penalties for 160 yards in their preseason opener, a 13-10 overtime victory over the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night. The opening drive was short-circuited by four penalties and the Bears had been hit for 105 yards by halftime.

    Ahmad Merritt returned the overtime kickoff 87 yards to the 7 to set up Paul Edinger's 25-yard winning field goal on the next play.

    Smith was the defensive coordinator the last three years for the Rams, helping them reach the Super Bowl in 2001, and received a nice ovation during pregame introductions. He was hired by the Bears in January to replace Dick Jauron following a 7-9 season.

    Penalties were not a problem last year for the Bears, who averaged 50 yards in calls per game.

    The Rams also stumbled with 12 penalties for 80 yards. Plus they had the only two turnovers, including a fumble after a reception by Dane Looker with 2:30 left in regulation to give the Bears the ball at the Chicago 29.

    There were five penalties on the Bears' tying drive, four against Chicago. The drive was capped by a 1-yard pass from backup Jonathan Quinn to Gabe Reid with 10:04 to go. So the Bears actually gained 118 yards on the 88-yard, 10-play drive.

    The Rams were without Marshall Faulk, who rarely plays until late in the preseason, and offensive tackles Orlando Pace and Kyle Turley. Pace is a contract holdout and Turley hasn't practiced since Aug. 1 due to a herniated disc in his surgically repaired back, although he attended the game in street clothes.

    St. Louis' makeshift line, a concern heading into the game, did a good job in pass protection and Marc Bulger was hit only twice. He was sacked once, by Hunter Hillenmeyer, to force Jeff Wilkins' field goal on the last play of the first quarter. A third line starter, guard Adam Timmerman, started despite being bothered by a stinger in his neck and shoulder in recent days.

    The teams met on the field for the fourth time in eight days. The Bears traveled to Macomb, Ill., the Rams' training camp site, last week for three days of joint practices and a scrimmage.

    Backup Chris Chandler led the Rams to their only first-half score, a 13-yard pass to fullback Joey Goodspeed in the second quarter. Chandler was 8-for-9 for 108 yards in the second quarter, showing nimble feet on a couple of plays.

    His lone incompletion came when Eric Kelly took the ball out of Kevin Curtis' arms for an interception to stop a drive deep in Chicago territory in the final minute of the first half.

    Bulger played the first quarter and was 3-for-6 for 57 yards. Bears starter Rex Grossman also played one quarter and was 4-for-5 for 39 yards.

    Thomas Jones had 53 yards on seven carries for the Bears. That included gains of 17 and 26 yards on consecutive plays on the opening drive. But a holding call on center Josh Warren and a false start by wide receiver David Terrell forced Paul Edinger to kick a 33-yard field goal.

    Rams first-round pick draft Steven Jackson was impressive with 73 yards on 15 carries.

    Notes:@ Rams LB Pisa Tinoisamoa sprained his left ankle on Jones' 26-yard run in the first quarter and did not return. ... Bears OL Terrance Metcalf sprained his left ankle in the first quarter.

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  • Nick
    Bears finish with flurry
    by Nick
    Bears finish with flurry
    By Jim Thomas
    Of the Post-Dispatch
    08/12/2004

    Mike Martz isn't one of these coaches who thinks NFL exhibition games are meaningless, or that the final score doesn't matter.

    "I'd like to win every one of them, guys," Martz told reporters earlier in the week in Macomb, Ill. "I think every coach does, but with the guys that you're playing ... we still need to look at some players. But it's still very competitive. In the middle of the game, I'm not thinking about this being a preseason game. Trust me."

    What Martz got instead, was a head coach's nightmare - exhibition overtime. And a preseason loss. Despite outplaying Chicago for most of the first three quarters Thursday night, the Bears scored a fourth-quarter touchdown to send the game into overtime tied 10-10.

    At least it was a short overtime. Ahmad Merritt returned the overtime kickoff 87 yards to the Rams' 7. New Bears coach Lovie Smith immediately sent out Paul Edinger to kick a 25-yard field goal, giving Chicago a 13-10 victory at the Edward Jones Dome.

    The offensive highlights for St. Louis included an eight-for-nine passing performance by No. 2 quarterback Chris Chandler, four catches for 73 yards by wide receiver Shaun McDonald, and 15 carries for 73 yards by Steven Jackson through three quarters.

    Defensively, the Rams got two sacks from Erik Flowers in the second half. Flowers got the second sack after temporarily leaving the game when he was literally squashed on a pass rush by Bears 370-pound offensive tackle Aaron Gibson. The Rams generally got a good pass rush. In the secondary, second-year man Kevin Garrett played tight coverage.

    Marc Bulger played one series, completing three of six passes for 57 yards on a 64-yard field-goal drive. Chandler took over and led the Rams on a four-play, 86-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter. McDonald caught a 40-yard pass on the drive - the night's longest gain.

    Chandler and the Rams were moving into field-goal range in the final minute of the first half. But Bears cornerback Eric Kelly wrestled the ball away from Rams wide receiver Kevin Curtis for an interception with 25 seconds to play, ending the drive at the St. Louis 35.

    For more than three quarters, the highlight for the Bears was their opening drive, which featured some impressive running by offseason acquisition Thomas Jones. Jones had carries of 17 and 26 yards on the drive. The 26-yarder came on a third-and-one play to the right. The Rams appeared to have the play stuffed, but Jones cut back to his left where there was no backside help by the over-pursuing defense.

    That play carried to the St. Louis 25. Four plays later, the Bears were in the end zone on a 10-yard pass from Rex Grossman to fullback Bryan Johnson. But the play was nullified by a holding penalty against...
    -08-13-2004, 01:15 AM
  • RamWraith
    Grossman brings his 'A' game
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    Tuesday, Dec. 12 2006

    Beleaguered Bears quarterback Rex Grossman made a national TV audience wonder
    what all the fuss was about. He pulled his weight and then some in leading
    Chicago to a 42-27 victory over the Rams that clinched a bye in the first round
    of the playoffs for the Bears.

    Grossman completed 13 of 23 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns. Most
    important, he committed no giveaways for just the second time in two months. He
    described his performance as "efficient and decisive. I was able to relax.
    There was a lot of pressure on me to perform well. So I had to do it. I wanted
    to respond because of the way the coaches have backed me."

    For good measure, Grossman added a 22-yard run good for a first down.

    "That was fun to do," he said. "I don't do that very often, but I consciously
    went into the game thinking that I might have to make a play with my feet."

    Though the Bears (11-2) have won consistently this season with Grossman at
    quarterback, Grossman has been wildly inconsistent. His passer rating, a
    measure of consistency and efficiency, exceeded 100 in four of the Bears' first
    seven games. At that point, some experts considered Grossman a candidate for
    MVP.

    Since October 16, though, Grossman's passer rating has fallen below 50 four of
    seven times. The worst was a rating of 1.3 in the Bears' victory over the
    Vikings last week. Grossman completed just six of 19 passes for 34 yards with
    three interceptions, earning the lowest rating ever for a winning NFL
    quarterback.

    Yet Bears coach Lovie Smith stood by his man through numerous inquisitions.
    Reports from the Bears' practice indicated that Grossman and Brian Griese split
    reps with the first unit Thursday and Friday, but that Grossman got about 65
    percent of the work Saturday.

    "Rex Grossman went through a lot this past week," Smith said. "His game has
    been dissected by everyone that knows anything about football. With a lot of
    pressure on him, I thought he really stepped up to the plate, played
    outstanding ball, did exactly what we expect him to do."

    Grossman got ample help from the backfield. Starter Thomas Jones gained 76
    yards on 11 carries with one touchdown, while "backup" Cedric Benson gained 64
    yards on 16 carries.

    "There was a lot of difference this week," Grossman said. "We ran the ball well
    and set up a lot of play action. That's the blueprint we've been trying to set
    since training camp."

    Jones, the older brother of Cowboys running back Julius Jones, topped the
    1,000-yard...
    -12-12-2006, 05:33 AM
  • RamWraith
    The same old story for the same old Rams
    by RamWraith
    By Jeff Gordon
    STLTODAY.COM SPORTS COLUMNIST
    Tuesday, Dec. 12 2006

    This grim outcome was fully expected.

    The Bears, after all, are a strong Super Bowl contender this season. The Rams
    are just another also-ran, a back-of-the-pack team in a downtrodden conference.

    So Chicago’s 42-27 victory over the Rams on “Monday Night Football” surprised
    absolutely nobody. But there were twists in this particular loss.

    After a quiet few weeks, the Rams special teams had a disastrous game. The Rams
    allowed explosive Bears kickoff returner Devin Hester to race 94 yards for a
    touchdown in the first half . . . and 96 yards for a touchdown in the second
    half.

    We know Hester is a rare talent, but how that happened TWICE in one game? Those
    total breakdowns erased whatever chance the Rams had to score an upset.

    “The return was tough,” Rams coach Scott Linehan said. “They were able to make
    (big) plays without doing much, as far as driving the ball.”

    Also, Jeff Wilkins missed a 48-yard field goal. And long-snapper Chris Massey
    screwed up an extra point. Late in the game, the Rams attempted an on-side
    kick, but failed to cover it.

    So these were new twists to The Same Old Story for the Rams.

    Defensively, they couldn’t stop Bears running backs Thomas Jones, Cedric Benson
    or Adrian Peterson. The Bears rushed for 172 yards on 34 carries, for a 5.1
    yards-per-carry average.

    So there wasn’t much opportunity to harass Bears quarterback Rex Grossman, who
    had been under fire in the Windy City after recording a 1.3 passer rating last
    week.

    So much for their hopes of harassing the kid into a mistake-filled outing.
    Grossman completed 13 of 23 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns.

    “They hit some play-action passes,” Linehan said. “We were playing the run,
    primary. (Passing well) is something they haven’t been doing, coming into the
    game.”

    The Rams actually kept the game close for a half, trailing just 14-13 after two
    quarters. They even put together a 12-play, 99-yard drive against the vaunted
    Bears defense.

    Steven Jackson rushed for 64 first-half yards and a touchdown. Marc Bulger
    completed 12 of 19 first-half passes for 160 yards and a touchdown to Torry
    Holt.

    So Rams held the national TV audience for an entire half.

    Then the game turned really ugly during the second half as Chicago built leads
    of 35-13 and 42-20.

    The Bears ripped through the Rams defense with their power running game. The
    Chicago defense tenderized Bulger’s sore ribs with a number of vicious hits as
    the Rams were forced into a desperate passing game.

    ...
    -12-12-2006, 05:33 AM
  • Nick
    Jeff Gordon's Rams Recap
    by Nick
    Rams Recap: Makeshift line and Chandler hold up well
    BY JEFF GORDON
    Post-Dispatch Online Sports Columnist
    08/11/2004

    As dress rehearsals go, Thursday night's exhibition with the Chicago Bears was fairly productive.

    The Rams got plenty done during their 13-10 preseason overtime loss to the penalty-prone Bears at the Edward Jones Dome.

    Youngsters Andy King and Scott Tercero got to take their bows with the first-team offense during the pre-game introductions. Then they held up admirably at left guard and right tackle, respectively, despite their inexperience.

    The makeshift offensive line allowed only one sack, on a linebacker blitz, until well into the third quarter. Under the circumstances, that is not bad.

    The front defensive seven had an excellent surge for most of the game, despite the constant rotation of personnel. Captain Tyoka Jackson spent a great deal of time in the Bears backfield.

    Back-up quarterback Chris Chandler didn't always look sharp up at Macomb, Ill. -- but he was most impressive during his first Rams game in a long, long time. He looked surprisingly nimble in the pocket during his first-half appearance and made accurate throws all over the field.

    Here is what else caught our eyes:


    THE GOOD

    * With the Bears in scoring position, we loved the way cornerback Kevin Garrett smothered receiver Marty Booker on a corner route into the end zone. That Rex Grossman pass landed harmlessly out of bounds.

    * Rams quarterback Marc Bulger appeared to be in midseason form when he found receiver Isaac Bruce for 19- and 24-yard passes on back-to-back plays. He also threw a nice third-down strike to receiver Dane Looker, good for 13 yards along the right sideline and a first down.

    * On their first defensive sequence, the Rams applied decent pass pressure but didn't get results. But on the first play on of the second sequence, veteran Jackson burst in and dumped Jonathan Quinn.

    * The assault continued with defensive ends Leonard Little and Bryce Fisher arriving simultaneously to sack Quinn.

    * Receiver Shaun McDonald reminded us why the Rams liked him so much last summer; he snagged a Chandler pass while slicing right to left through the Bears secondary. He turned on his jets and turned that into a 40-yard gain.

    * Chandler showed his veteran poise to throw his first Rams touchdown pass in some time. He looked left and found nothing, then rolled back right and flipped a pass to fullback Joey Goodspeed -- who released into the right flat for a 13-yard TD reception.

    That capped an impressive 86-yard scoring drive engineered by Chandler. Maybe he does have a little bit left in that 900-year-old body.

    * Nice pass, nice catch -- rookie quarterback Jeff Smoker gunned a nice throw down the middle...
    -08-13-2004, 01:19 AM
  • Nick
    Bears' offense comes alive in 24-14 win
    by Nick
    Bears' offense comes alive in 24-14 win

    NFL.com wire reports

    CHICAGO (Dec. 5, 2004) -- Hanging with Chad was a winning experience for the Chicago Bears.

    Chad Hutchinson, who was surfing in California a little more than two months ago, made his first Chicago start a memorable one Sunday, throwing three TD passes to lead the Bears past the Minnesota Vikings 24-14.

    Minnesota (7-5) saw its playoff chances hurt for the second straight year by a late-season loss to the Bears.

    Daunte Culpepper, completing 70 percent of his passes entering the game, was intercepted three times - he had only seven all season before Sunday -and the Vikings were held scoreless in the second half.

    Since the Bears (5-7) signed Hutchinson in September following a season-ending knee injury to Rex Grossman, he has spent most of time as a third-stringer, working with the scout team.

    No more.

    The former St. Louis Cardinals baseball pitcher, who started nine games as a rookie for the Cowboys two years ago, showed an ability Craig Krenzel and Jonathan Quinn lacked as fill-ins for Grossman and gave the previously moribund Bears offense a spark. Hutchinson completed 18-of-30 for 213 yards.

    In three previous games, the offense had produced just one touchdown.

    Chicago's defense got a lift, too, by the return of middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, who'd missed the two previous games with a calf injury.

    The Bears made a tough defensive stand in the third quarter after the Vikings had reached the 12 and were threatening to take the lead.

    Jerry Azumah, who had two interceptions, and Alex Brown sacked Culpepper on third down before Morten Anderson missed a 38-yard field goal that could have tied the game.

    Then Hutchinson hit Bobby Wade for 12 yards and Desmond Clark for 19 to start a 13-play, 72-yard drive that also featured some tough inside running by Anthony Thomas, who had a 17-yard carry to the 3.

    On third down, Hutchinson found Jason McKie in the corner for a 5-yard TD pass to make it 24-14 with a little more than 10 minutes left.

    Azumah made his second interception with 2:01 left to stop a final Vikings drive.

    The Bears took a 17-14 halftime lead when Hutchinson hit David Terrell with a 15-yard TD pass with 22 seconds to go in the second quarter, capping a 2-minute, 76-yard drive.

    Culpepper threw a 40-yard TD pass to former Bear Marcus Robinson with 2:23 left in the first half - a play upheld by video replay - to give Minnesota a 14-10 lead.

    Minutes earlier, Minnesota moved from its 27 to a first-and-goal at the Bears 4 before Urlacher stepped right in front of Culpepper's pass and returned it 42 yards.

    Azumah stopped a long Vikings drive on their first possession, intercepting Culpepper at...
    -12-05-2004, 02:44 PM
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