Bears profit on Hester's returns 42-27 - 12/12/2006
Devin Hester expects teams to keep on kicking deep to him. And he expects to keep right on returning those kicks to the end zone.
The high-stepping rookie got the Rams' home dome rocking with chants of "Let's Go Bears!" as he set an NFL record with his fifth and sixth returns for touchdowns this season, a 94-yard kickoff runback in the second quarter and a 96-yarder in the final period. That sparked a 42-27 victory that gave the NFC North champions (11-2) a bye for the first week of the playoffs.
"It's the NFL, and a team is not going to bow down to one player," Hester said. "They'll continue to kick to me."
They're fools if they do.
"It's like the gates of Heaven opening up for me," he added.
A second-round draft pick, Hester also has three punt return touchdowns and ran back a missed field goal 108 yards against the Giants to tie the longest play in NFL history. But he had returned only six kickoffs all season before his historic romps that made the thousands of fans who trekked from Chicago rise from their seats.
"I almost thought we were back at Soldier Field," coach Lovie Smith said.
Hester struggled to find a position in college at Miami, but he has been a sensation with the ball in his hands on kick returns for the Bears.
"The story of the game is Devin Hester," Smith said. "It's time we start looking at him as an offensive player. There are a lot of good offensive rookies in the league making big plays, but who has had as much impact as Devin Hester has in the league as a rookie right now?"
He came through the middle on the first runback, then swiftly cut to his left untouched and sped down the sideline, high-stepping like a drum major the last few yards while holding up the football for the raucous Bears fans.
Hester outdid himself in the fourth quarter when it appeared the Rams might try an onside kick. The only Bear standing deep, he went straight up the center of the field, again untouched, and turned around at the Rams 20 looking for pursuers. No one was there.
He admitted it was a tribute to his friend Deion Sanders.
"That played a major role in us losing the game," Rams cornerback Ron Bartell said. "We lost by 15. You take away those two returns, we've got a pretty good game."
Beleaguered quarterback Rex Grossman had a pretty good game and the Chicago running attack dominated the last two quarters.
Carrying a 14-13 lead into the second half, the Bears outgained the Rams (5-8) 191 yards to 31 in the third quarter. They scored on Thomas Jones' 30-yard run and Muhsin Muhammad's superb fingertip catch of a 14-yard pass from Grossman, who probably quieted calls for his benching -- particularly from the thousands of fans who outshouted Rams rooters much of the evening.
Preview or warning? Tough to tell - 11/27/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
It was like a game of hot potato that just seemed to get out of hand. Passes were batted off helmets, knocked in the air volleyball-style and ultimately placed perfectly into the waiting hands of Asante Samuel, whose three receptions matched Muhsin Muhammad for second-most from Rex Grossman behind Bernard Berrian's five.
Sadly, Samuel plays for the Patriots -- and he should have matched Berrian, according to New England safety Artrell Hawkins.
''Man, I could have had six,'' Samuel said. ''I dropped a couple.''
Indeed, it was hard what to make of the Bears' 17-13 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday, their second loss of the season and their second against an AFC opponent. The game had a playoff-type atmosphere to a certain extent. It was an old-fashioned, bare-knuckle slugfest that could be seen as a future Super Bowl matchup.
''We played a great football team tonight, and it would be a dream come true to play them again,'' Grossman said.
Or maybe it's more of a cautionary tale about what could and might happen to the Bears against a legitimate playoff opponent. The Bears have a formula for victory that includes protecting the ball, but they have been very generous with it on too many occasions. Grossman, obviously, is the main culprit. With three interceptions and a lost fumble in the red zone Sunday, he now has three games this year in which he personally has committed at least four turnovers. He made six at Arizona on four interceptions and two lost fumbles.
To put those numbers in perspective, consider that only four times this season has a team made six turnovers in a game. The Bears have done it twice.
Berrian will play if he can take pain - 11/16/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
How much pain Bernard Berrian can handle likely will dictate whether the Bears' wide receivers are at full strength for the first time this season Sunday.
Berrian, who missed last week's game against the Giants because of bruised ribs, might not be shut out of the Big Apple altogether. He practiced Wednesday and said he didn't feel any pain. But he wasn't hit, either, and whether he can withstand that remains to be seen. He's listed as questionable on the injury report.
''I'm not going to play with fear,'' he said. ''If I'm going to play that way, I won't play in the game.''
After Berrian was injured on the first play from scrimmage in the loss to Miami, the Bears originally believed he would miss about a month. But he has healed much faster than even he expected, and he said he only felt a little stiff at times while working out.
When he does return, it will give offensive coordinator Ron Turner one of those good problems: How will he get all of his receivers involved?
''You always want playmakers, and Mark [Bradley] did a good job last game of stepping up,'' Turner said. ''The more of those guys we can get on the field, the better.''
Bradley had 79 yards on four catches and scored his first career touchdown in his first significant work at receiver this season. Rashied Davis, who is probable with a right shoulder injury, started in place of Berrian and has been valuable in the slot.
''When everyone's healthy, it's kind of pick-your-poison,'' said Berrian, who leads the team with 18.3 yards per catch. ''You can't get ready for any certain player or any type of offense that they think we might play because certain people are out.''
Injured Bears progressing - 11/10/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune
Progress is where you find it. And so it is with the Bears and their injuries.
Linebacker Brian Urlacher was observed jogging from warm-up drill to warm-up drill at practice Thursday, an unofficial good sign for someone with a toe injury.
Receiver Bernard Berrian, suffering from bruised ribs, had changed from watching in sweats from a sideline bench at least to wearing a No. 80 jersey and joining teammates inside the white lines.
Coach Lovie Smith's daily briefing, though, began with a succinct rundown that revealed little, in case the New York Giants are reading and listening:
"Bernard Berrian is feeling better, did not practice today. Brian Urlacher is feeling better, did not practice today. [Cornerback] Dante Wesley [knee, quad] is feeling better, did not practice today."
Urlacher expects and is expected to play Sunday. Berrian isn't quite as sure.
"If I can 'burst' (sprint), then I'll play," he said. "I'm going to take a couple of reps [Friday] in practice and see how it feels. The way it's progressing right now, there might be [a chance]."
Urlacher was a little more optimistic, if a bit more playfully cryptic with his medical "report."
"Toe's fine," he announced.
Are you going to practice?
"I don't think so," Urlacher deadpanned, nodding his head "yes" at the same time. "I don't think 'we' are going to let me practice today. Going to hold off, see what happens."
Urlacher said he wasn't sure if he would wear any special foot or toe protection. But if he can't practice, will he be able to test the injured toe properly?
"I'll be OK," he said simply.
Berrian moves better, but he's not expected to play Sunday - 11/10/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Bears wide receiver Bernard Berrian looked like a different man Thursday and said he feels leaps and bounds better.
Berrian has bruised cartilage in his ribs, but after barely moving earlier in the week, he was getting around the locker room fine, and a source said he might be upgraded from doubtful on the injury report today. While he is not expected to play Sunday at the New York Giants, it's a good sign for an offense that doesn't have a true deep threat without him.
Berrian's injury is the same one Justin Gage suffered during training camp. Gage was out about two weeks, and Berrian's injury, suffered on the first play against Miami, is considered to be a little worse.
''It has been a tremendous amount [of progress] the way it's been healing,'' he said. ''I could hardly breathe after the game, and now I can kind of jog up and down the hallway.''
Berrian said when he returns, he might get outfitted with a flak jacket to try to protect the area, but he realizes he'll be exposed running down the field.
''I'm going to be smart,'' he said. ''If playing and being hurt is going to hurt the team, I'm not going to play.''
Bradley ready to replace Berrian - 11/09/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Fifty-four weeks removed from tearing the ACL in his right knee, wide receiver Mark Bradley will have the opportunity to get reacclimated to the Bears' offense -- ready or not.
Bradley will figure into the game plan Sunday against the New York Giants, though how big a role he plays remains a secret. Bernard Berrian will be sidelined, likely for a few weeks, with bruised ribs, and the Bears badly need a playmaker to step forward and replace the speedy Berrian, who leads the team with four touchdowns and 18.3 yards per reception.
''I feel like I am ready to go out and basically match what he has been doing,'' Bradley said. ''I feel comfortable that I can give the team a little bit of what he did, if not the same.''
A second-round pick from Oklahoma in 2005, Bradley has been inactive the last five weeks. He was slowed at first by a high ankle sprain he says he suffered at home when he tripped down a stairwell while rushing to watch a spiritual DVD with his father in the days after the Week 3 win at Minnesota.
''My body feels good,'' he said. ''It's just getting myself focused and mentally ready.''
Rashied Davis and Justin Gage also figure to play bigger roles, but Gage may have lost a claim to playing time with his costly fumble against Miami.
''I don't know,'' veteran Muhsin Muhammad said when asked if the others could pick up the slack. ''Bernard is having a great year. He does a lot of great things. I don't know if they'll do exactly what he does, but hopefully they'll make some plays.''
Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said earlier in the season that poor practices were keeping Bradley off the field. The knee recovery prevented him from being consistent on a daily basis.
''He couldn't come out of his breaks,'' Drake said. ''I really think he is ready. We'll see what he's got. If he's not, don't doubt the coach.
''We'll be all right. You didn't think we would be all right with Bernard. Don't ever discount the coach. We'll be fine.''
Toe holds Urlacher out of practice - 11/09/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune
The most important news out of Halas Hall on Wednesday was what did not happen.
Brian Urlacher did not practice.
Nor did Bernard Berrian.
Or Dante Wesley.
No one expects Urlacher to miss Sunday's game against the New York Giants because of his sprained left big toe. But the middle linebacker's status beyond the official "questionable," other than a much photographed sans-helmet appearance before practice, was hidden behind a veil a secrecy. As was the practice loads of his possible replacements.
"We got a chance to look at some younger players," coach Lovie Smith said, stipulating only that Hunter Hillenmeyer and Rod Wilson took practice snaps in Urlacher's place.
Did Urlacher test the injured digit?
"He did not practice today," Smith said.
How about trying to run on it?
"He did not practice today," Smith said, sticking to NFL coach-speak's version of name-rank-and-serial number.
What about the distribution of practice time?
"Now, guys," Smith said. "Do you think I'm going to tell you what we did at practice? Let's be for real. How about a question I can answer."
Evidently, though, there will not be any requirement that he get a certain amount of practice time to qualify for Sunday.
"Brian Urlacher can play at a high level whenever he plays," Smith said.
Berrian, in pain from his rib injury, declined interview requests and sat in sweats on a bench while teammates went through their warmups. As for a deep threat to replace his ability to stretch the field while he is out for at least a couple of weeks, the Bears have alternatives.
Second-year receiver Mark Bradley, who had the starting job opposite Muhsin Muhammad before a knee injury ended his rookie season, is returning from five weeks on the inactive list because of an ankle strain. Rashied Davis also has playmaking ability.
Midseason report - 11/08/2006
Source: Chicago Tribune
Bernard Berrian. Nobody expected a receiver entering this season with 28 career catches to be missed as much as Berrian will be in the coming games. More than any other factor, the way Berrian's speed and sure hands created a new dimension for the passing game turned the Bears' offense into the NFL's second-highest scoring unit in the first half (29.2 points per game).
Mark Anderson. Fifth-round picks typically spend their rookie seasons buried on the depth chart correcting flaws that made them fall in the draft. Then there's Anderson, who missed a big portion of training camp but adjusted quicker than anybody imagined. If Anderson matches his 7.5 sacks in the second half, he could be one of the few part-time players making plans for the Pro Bowl.
Ricky Manning Jr. The attention paid Manning's brush with the law and the possibility of a league suspension has overshadowed the fact he has been the Bears' best big-play corner in his role as nickel back. The Bears knew they were paying $21 million for a solid player but didn't necessarily expect Manning to lead the team in interceptions, as he does with four.
Mike Brown's injury. Brown raised doubts about his durability himself during exhibitions and they were confirmed when he left the Cardinals game with a season-ending Achilles' injury. Brown's absence showed up most glaringly against the Dolphins when the secondary missed his run support.
Running game. Statistics can be deceiving because teams have dared the Bears to beat them through the air, and they have. But a team that wants its identity to be its ground attack needs to average more than 3.4 yards per carry and 104 yards per game.
Run defense. Giving up 91.9 rushing yards per game still ranks seventh in the NFL. But the 49ers' Frank Gore and Dolphins' Ronnie Brown have enjoyed consecutive 100-yard games against the Cover 2, single-gap control defense that must lock it up better than the Bears have.
Robbie Gould. As good as Gould has been with his record-setting 22 of 22 field goals, eight touchbacks have made him a defensive weapon as well. The mark of how solid Gould has become in his first full NFL season is that fans already take his accuracy for granted.
Desmond Clark. Committed to reshaping his body during an off-season in which Bears fans clamored for a new tight end, Clark is on pace to catch a career-high 58 passes this season. He's a smart receiver who has found the seams, especially against two-deep zones.
Brendon Ayanbadejo. The guy plays on every special team and filled in capably at strong-side linebacker when Hunter Hillenmeyer missed the Lions game with a concussion.
Berrian out 2-4 weeks with rib injury - 11/06/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
The last time the Bears' offense looked this bad, quarterback Rex Grossman missed a sure touchdown by overthrowing Bernard Berrian on the first play of the game against Arizona. This time Grossman just missed Berrian, period.
The wide receiver suffered a painful rib injury on the first play of the game and likely will miss two to four weeks. Watching Berrian hunched over and holding his left side while painfully wheezing out answers to the media in the locker room, one would figure a month at least. Without the threat of a deep pass, the passing offense all but shut down and couldn't produce the kind of quick strike that might have brought the Bears back into the game.
''It was one of those freak kind of accidents,'' Berrian said. ''I didn't get hit, I just kind of fell on it weird on the first play. It's hard to breathe, and it's kind of hard to talk right now.''
Bears coach Lovie Smith admitted the loss of a vertical threat had an impact on the game plan. Berrian leads the Bears with 495 receiving yards despite getting just 10 against the Dolphins. He also leads the Bears with four touchdowns.
''Bernard is our deep threat,'' Smith said. ''When you go to Plan B, [it] normally isn't as good as your first plan. So we missed Bernard, of course, his speed and all that. But you need other players to step up when those types of things happen.''
The Bears don't have many options in the vertical passing game. Rashied Davis has some speed and might have been the best way to go, but the Bears instead moved Justin Gage into Berrian's spot, and he and Grossman were never in sync.
Grossman wasn't in sync with anyone. He entered the game with a 124.0 passer rating at Soldier Field -- the best home-field rating of anyone since the AFL/NFL merger -- but had a 36.8 rating Sunday. He threw his first interception at home this season. Then his second. Then his third.
''It hurts any time a player of [Berrian's] ability is out of the game, but we're a team and that's no excuse for anything,'' Grossman said. ''Obviously, he would have helped and he's a big-play guy and we missed him. But at the same time, we've got other guys who can step up and make plays, and that wasn't the difference in the game. It was poor execution.''
Berrian wasn't about to say the game would have gone differently had he not been hurt, but he did admit he was a big part of the game plan.
''We had a lot of plays to attack Miami's defense,'' Berrian said. ''But when you go out -- that speed aspect of the game, it kind of took that away.''
Dolphins hand Bears first loss, 31-13 - 11/06/2006
The 1972 Dolphins can breathe a little easier. And once again, they can thank a current Miami team for it.
Although Dan Marino was nowhere to be found this time, the Dolphins once again upset Chicago to spoil the Bears' bid for a perfect season.
Ronnie Brown rushed for a career-high 157 yards and Jason Taylor forced a fumble and returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown, helping Miami beat Chicago 31-13. Brown carried 29 times and eclipsed his previous career-high set last season against Carolina by 35 yards.
Besides losing their first game, the Bears (7-1) saw linebacker Brian Urlacher hurt his foot when he landed awkwardly in a pileup near the end of the game. The severity of the injury was not known.
After hearing criticism from the media and members of the 1972 team, these Dolphins had their way with a team that had scored the most points and allowed the fewest. The defense constantly applied pressure as the Dolphins (2-6) snapped a four-game losing streak.
"A lot of (media) in this locker room and a lot of people in this country didn't give us a chance," Taylor said. "And I heard some of the crap that was said during the week -- that questioned people's character and everything else. You always want to hand everything with class, but sometimes you can't. People come at you the wrong way, and it's good sometimes to say, 'How do you like me now?"'
Bears have quite a pair - 11/02/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
It turns out Jerry Angelo was right after all. Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don't make.
With all of Beardom demanding a tight end in the draft and a wide receiver in free agency, Angelo flirted with both ideas but ultimately returned to his true love: the players he already had.
They are the ones rewarding him now as the undefeated Bears (7-0) are the highest-scoring team in the NFL, although a lot of thanks goes to the defense and special teams.
The NFL's 31st-ranked passing game last season needed to become average for the offense to make the improvements necessary for a deep playoff run. With Rex Grossman at the helm, the Bears have done better than that, and Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian have been able to prove their worth.
The 10th-ranked receiving tandem in the league in terms of yardage -- ahead of better-known pairs such as Cincinnati's Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- will face a good test Sunday against the Miami Dolphins (noon, Ch. 2, 780-AM).
''I don't even look at the stats,'' wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said. ''That's good. They need to be first. Work on being first.''
While Miami's secondary struggled mightily at the start of the season, its pass defense has come around and now ranks fourth. The only question is whether Travis Daniels (knee, questionable) will be able to start opposite Will Allen at cornerback. Complementing the secondary is a solid pass rush led by veteran end Jason Taylor, who has seven sacks.
The Bears are 13˝-point favorites, and the big spread is largely because of the blowouts they have enjoyed at Soldier Field, where Grossman has thrown 11 of his 13 touchdown passes.
But Angelo would have a tough time saying he knew this kind of success was on the way. During training camp, the Bears couldn't keep the same receiving corps on the field from day to day, and the preseason was mostly an offensive disaster.
Berrian banged up his knee near the end of camp and missed more than a week. Muhammad dealt with some muscle pulls. Justin Gage and Airese Currie spent time in and out. The only receiver who stayed on the field was Rashied Davis, who has one of the biggest catches of the season, a game-winning 24-yard touchdown at Minnesota.
Bears likely won't take a pass on throwing vs. Arizona - 10/13/2006
Source: Daily Southtown
It would be easy for the Bears to look at the 288 yards that Kansas City Chiefs backup quarterback Damon Huard threw for against the Arizona Cardinals last weekend and assume Rex Grossman will put up huge numbers Monday night.
After all, no one will confuse Huard with Hall of Famer Len Dawson or even injured Chiefs starter Trent Green. Huard is a 10-year veteran with nine career starts.
If the Bears put on another aerial show against the Cardinals -- who are 29th against the pass, yielding an average of 237.4 yards per game -- they likely will have made some adjustments from last Sunday's 40-7 win over Buffalo.
Grossman "settled" for a 15-of-27, 182-yard performance.
"It wasn't bad," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "A year ago, we probably would have said it was a great day. But we made some plays.
"We started out pretty good, but as the game went on, we just weren't as sharp as we need to be."
DYNAMIC DUO - 10/11/2006
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Muhsin Muhammad had only two catches for 10 yards against Buffalo, but with Bernard Berrian catching four passes for 97 yards, they are the top wide-receiver tandem in the NFC and third in the league with 747 yards. Berrian has 413 yards, third in the NFL, and his per-catch average of 21.7 is tops in the league.
Not bad for a team that many observer felt was at least one player short in the passing game. Berrian said the difference has been quarterback Rex Grossman.
"He's going to make people around him better," Berrian said. "He has trust in us, and we have trust in him. He's going to put the ball out there and let us make plays."
Just how many plays can the Bears make? Berrian said the general feeling among offensive players is that things haven't started to click yet.
"That's what we always talk about on the sidelines: It's going to be ridiculous when we really start making the plays we're going to make," Berrian said
Grossman Turner Overdrive taking care of business - 10/08/2006
Source: Daily Southtown
Rex Grossman blames offensive coordinator Ron Turner for making him feel like a thief.
"I feel like I'm just back there kind of stealing," the Bears quarterback says.
The Bears offense seems to have gone from the early 20th century to the 21st overnight with its sudden success in the passing game. Grossman has four straight games of at least 200 yards passing, a first for a Bears quarterback since Cade McNown had five straight in 2000.
Yet, unlike McNown, Grossman has made it look easy and has produced victories.
He points to Turner's schemes and preparation as the reason. Turner, in turn, points to Grossman's arm and brain.
A mutual admiration society of sorts has developed as the two help modernize the Bears offense.
"He just does a great job of scheming the opponents' defense and calling plays to attack certain looks and giving me options," Grossman says. "If it's not that look, you go here. If you get this look, go here."
RECEIVER MUHAMMAD FEELS MORE AT HOME THIS SEASON -- AND THE STATS SHOW IT - 10/08/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times
Life is not only good for Muh- sin Muhammad, the Bears' 33-year-old, 11-year veteran wide receiver, it might be better than ever in his second season as one of Chicago's sports darlings.
The Bears signed the two-time All-Pro to a six-year, $30 million free-agent contract in February 2005, and he helped lead them to the playoffs. This season, he has his own weekly NFL review show on Comcast SportsNet and already has been nominated for a local Emmy for a special assignment he did with Lissa Druss Christman.
He also remains one of the NFL's premier humanitarians. His charity work includes his own M2 Foundation, which seeks to enrich the lives of underprivileged kids, and his financial support of other programs helps rescue and comfort battered women and support the fight against muscular dystrophy.
On the field, he continues to win the highest respect from his teammates for his leadership and superb play.
''He's a great guy,'' running back Adrian Peterson said. ''He stays positive and keeps us positive. He's a good leader who practices like it's a game.''
Cornerback Ricky Manning Jr. calls him ''a great role model and good father with a tremendous spirit.''
Fellow wide receiver Bernard Berrian praises him because ''he always gives knowledge when knowledge is needed.''
Meantime, fans admire him for his thrilling catches and his signature ''Moose walk'' touchdown celebration, in which he crouches and passes the ball back and forth between his legs as he takes wide strides.
Berrian no longer a hidden talent - 10/07/2006
Source: Daily Southtown
Bernard Berrian wants to avoid attracting attention.
"I want to be the silent assassin," the Bears wide receiver said Friday. "You know, go out there, don't have anyone to worry about and no one know you, then go out and (strike) and then go out and do it again next week."
Considering the way Berrian is performing this season, his days of not attracting attention may soon come to an end.
Berrian is tied for the NFL lead in touchdown receptions by a wide receiver (3), leads the NFL in catches of 40 yards or longer (4) and is third in yards per catch (21.1 average).
"It's great," Berrian said. "I think there's still more to come. I'm still making little mistakes and little mental errors that I need to take out that will cause even more points to go on the board."
His production, and that of all the receivers, has made Bears general manager Jerry Angelo look like a prophet.
Bears' schedule doesn't offer many pitfalls - 10/04/2006
Peeking at the upcoming schedule, the Bears' toughest opponent until they play New England on Nov. 26 might be … the Bears.
So while some longtime observers are calling Rex Grossman's 46-yard touchdown pass to Bernard Berrian between two Seattle Seahawks defenders the prettiest they have seen at Soldier Field, his comments later Sunday were even more on the money.
Minutes after leading the Bears to their biggest victory in Lovie Smith's tenure, his adrenaline still pumping, Grossman showed as much accuracy from the podium as he did in the pocket because he kept it all in perspective.
"We're off to a great start, [but] that's all I'm going to say right now," Grossman said. "Thirty-seven-6 just shows what we're capable of, but we're a lot better than that."
Berrian quickly catching on - 10/02/2006
Source: Daily Herald
Bernard Berrian runs, Rex Grossman throws, and somehow, the ball ends up in Berrian’s hands.
Berrian cemented his role as the Bears’ long pass threat Sunday when he caught a bomb from Grossman for a 40-yard touchdown at the end of the third quarter on the way to the dominant 37-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
The touchdown was Berrian’s third of the season, giving him the team scoring lead for non-kickers. Place kicker Robbie Gould still leads the team.
“The difference is that (Grossman) has been on the field more, he hasn’t been injured, and we are starting to get that chemistry,’’ Berrian said.
Leading 27-6 late in the third quarter, The Bears were running the ball extensively, with Cedric Benson taking the handoffs, as they tried to run off time from the game clock. But with a second-and-11 play from the Seattle 40-yard line, Grossman backed up and unloaded to Berrian, who got behind two defenders and simply had to run under the ball to record the score.
The touchdown wasn’t Berrian’s only contribution of the game. He caught a pair of long passes in the first half, and one of them ended up at the Seattle 1-yard line, just shy of another score. Both of the first-half passes were timing plays, in which Berrian was looking elsewhere when Grossman threw the ball.
No practice no problem as TE Clark passes pregame test - 10/02/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times
A week off from practice was just what Bears tight end Desmond Clark needed to be ready. The eighth-year veteran was put through a rigorous test on the field three hours before kickoff to test his sprained left foot, and he responded. Clark said he's not near 100 percent but reported he was in no pain after the game, in which he caught three passes for 39 yards.
Clark's first catch gained 17 yards, and he converted a third down later on the same drive, picking up 14 on third-and-six. It eventually set up the Bears' first score, a nine-yard touchdown pass to Muhsin Muhammad.
He came out in the second half when the game was lopsided, and third tight end Gabe Reid made his first catch of the year, a 19-yard gain.
''I felt pretty good considering the circumstances,'' Clark said. ''We'll see how it's feeling on Wednesday.''
Clark is tied with Bernard Berrian for second on the team with 15 receptions behind Muhammad's 24.
Next for Seahawks | Chicago Bears - 09/27/2006
Source: The Seattle Times
Players to watch
QB Rex Grossman: If he can stay healthy, the Bears appear to have a quarterback who can bring stability to the position. He's fifth in the NFL in passing yards with 829 and has the fifth-best rating, 100.9.
LBs Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs: These two are as physical as any linebacker tandem in the NFL, and lead the Bears in tackles.
WRs Bernard Berrian and Muhsin Muhammad: Chicago is known more for its defense, but these two make the Bears more formidable on offense.
Team in tight spot if Clark injury is serious - 09/26/2006
Normally coach Lovie Smith is able to give some sort of medical assessment of injuries on the day following games. That he was vague Monday on the condition of tight end Desmond Clark, who left the field Sunday on a cart and left the stadium with a plastic boot on his injured left ankle, was not a good sign.
Clark left the Minnesota game after pulling up and hobbling on a third-quarter play, and Smith said Monday, "we don't know how serious it will be." If it is serious—a high ankle sprain typically means at least four weeks of rest—the Bears' offense will be searching for alternatives.
Clark is tied with Bernard Berrian with 12 catches after three games after catching 24 total in each of the last two seasons.
The Bears expect to have safety Chris Harris and defensive lineman Israel Idonije back this week from ankle injuries. Rookie and special teams standout Jamar Williams was receiving treatment for an injury to his left shoulder and his condition will be monitored this week.
Decoys help free Davis - 09/25/2006
Chicago Bears wide receiver Rashied Davis felt he wasn't getting respect from the Vikings' secondary for most of the game Sunday.
The Vikings couldn't help but ignore Davis after giving up nearly 200 yards to the Bears' top two receivers, Muhsin Muhammad and Bernard Berrian.
For one play with just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter, however, Muhammad and Berrian were the decoys while Davis took everyone by surprise by catching a 24-yard touchdown pass from Rex Grossman to secure a 19-16 victory over Minnesota.
"I don't really think they knew who I was, but they know now," said Davis, a former Arena Football League standout. "The cornerback (Ronyell Whitaker) was playing me outside for the corner route all game. If he wanted to stay outside on me, that was fine. I was going with an inside corner on that play."
Davis finished with three catches for 48 yards, but his first NFL touchdown was the only TDpass for Grossman in the game.
Grossman, the NFL's top-rated passer coming into Sunday, threw four touchdown passes in Chicago's victory over Detroit last weekend. After struggling with two interceptions Sunday, including one returned by Antoine Winfield for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Grossman was looking to make up for the costly mistakes with a big play.
Bears pull off a great escape - 09/25/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times
There is a difference between winning ugly and stealing one, and the Bears left the Metrodome as thieves Sunday.
It speaks to their character, the ability to respond to a series of tests, trailing in the fourth quarter at a previously unbeaten division rival.
Most of the predicaments the Bears found themselves in through the first 56 minutes were self-created, the combination of not thinking and not executing. Rex Grossman threw two bad interceptions, one for a walk-in touchdown by Antoine Winfield, and a terrible job of managing the clock and timeouts in the first half squandered a shot at a field-goal try. Add 10 penalties for 82 yards and another lackluster rushing effort, and you had a recipe for disaster, the kind of self-inflicted one that is hardest to take.
But there was Grossman at the end, not shaken by a bevy of furious Vikings blitzes, staring free safety Dwight Smith over to Bernard Berrian to leave Rashied Davis running down the seam alone with Ronyell Whitaker. Davis' corner-post route juked him, and Davis was wide open for the game-winning touchdown, a 24-yarder with 1:53 to play, capping a 19-16 victory.
Berrian's TD catch has a deeper meaning - 09/24/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times
The second quarter had just started, and the Bears were ahead of the Detroit Lions 10-0.
A nice start.
Just as the 26-0 shellacking of the Green Bay Packers in the season opener had been.
But 2006 for the Bears isn't supposed to be about nice starts.
This is the year of taking names and kicking butt.
So Bears quarterback Rex Grossman threw incomplete to wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad.
Then he hit tight end Desmond Clark for 16 yards to the Detroit 41.
The tight ends had already caught a couple of passes, including a clean three-yard touchdown to John Gilmore.
Nice, but every critic knows you can shut down a team's tight end if you want.
Grossman set the team down, took the snap and dropped back, eyes scanning the field.
The fleet Bernard Berrian, a third-year man out of Fresno State, sprinted down the middle and split the safeties, heading for the right corner.
Grossman saw the wide receiver and threw quickly -- a high, tightly spiraling bomb -- before Berrian had even broken fully into the clear.
As the ball arced through the Soldier Field air, the two moving things -- Berrian and the brown leather ball -- seemed certain never to intersect.
''I didn't think I was going to get there, to be honest,'' Berrian said.
But as he sprinted toward the right edge of the goal line, Berrian somehow drew a bead on the descending ball and extended his arms as far as he could and grabbed the middle of the ball.
Berrian emerges as deep threat, crowd pleaser - 09/22/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times
Asked about Bernard Berrian's penchant for contact while at Fresno State, Tim Simons recalled the time Berrian's facemask nearly came clear off.
Berrian was returning a kickoff in the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl against Michigan State when two Spartans came off their blocks at the same time just in front of him. Moving at full speed and unable even to duck, he was clobbered upside the head by both players.
''I popped right up, and everybody was telling me I needed to go out,'' Berrian recalled about his jog to the huddle. ''I said, 'You're crazy, I'm not going out.'''
The knock on Berrian, a third-round draft pick by the Bears in 2003, has been that he can't do more than the vertical routes, a notion he quickly is dispelling.
Just as ex-Bear Marty Booker seethed when he was called a possession receiver, Berrian detests the label of being only a deep threat. He said he was prouder of the tough catch he made across the middle Sunday with Detroit Lions cornerback Jamar Fletcher climbing over his back than he was of his diving 41-yard touchdown reception. The former was good for a 17-yard pickup on third-and-12 -- the gritty kind of play the Bears ask all of their receivers to make at times.
Berrian rises to occasion - 09/20/2006
Source: Daily Southtown
So much for acquiring a wide receiver via waivers.
The Bears supposedly lacked a second receiver to complement Muhsin Muhammad from a group that includes Bernard Berrian, Rashied Davis and Mark Bradley, but after two games, Berrian has looked every bit the deep threat who can take pressure off Muhammad.
"We talked a lot about the second receiver stepping up," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Two games, and both times, he's stepped up."
Berrian is averaging 23 yards for his six catches and has scoring catches of 41 and 49 yards.
The numbers aren't bad considering the Bears seemed unconvinced a few weeks ago about what they had at wide receiver. They even brought Rod Gardner, Darius Watts and Greg Lee to Halas Hall for tryouts, but signed none of them, saying they thought Berrian could be No. 2.
One change, many differences on Bears - 09/20/2006
Much was made of the Bears returning so many of their starters from 2005 and so far only Bernard Berrian replacing Justin Gage is different from the starting lineup in the playoff loss to Carolina. But a lot more is different on the team, particularly on offense.
The second year in coordinator Ron Turner's offense has produced changes that are reflected chiefly in the passing statistics of Rex Grossman. It is not the quantity of offense but rather the quality of the West Coast system that is changing things. After a near run-only situation in 2005, defenses simply are not sure of all the directions from which the attacks are coming.
Grossman is not throwing to any more receivers than Kyle Orton did in the first two games last season. Both had completions to seven different receivers. What is different, however, is the degree of distribution.
Muhsin Muhammad accounted for 41 percent of Orton's completions through two weeks; from Grossman he has caught a little more than 25 percent and tight end Desmond Clark has as many catches (10) as Muhammad. Fullback Jason McKie, a traditional target in West Coast offenses, has as many, six, as deep threat Berrian.
Grossman is top-rated QB - 09/19/2006
Without factoring in Monday's results, Rex Grossman is the NFL's No. 1-rated passer with his 128.7 rating. Not coincidentally, his leading receivers also are among the league leaders. Tight end Desmond Clark ranks 15th in receiving yards, 1 yard ahead of Muhsin Muhammad, and Bernard Berrian is 22nd. Berrian also is third in the NFL with 23 yards per catch and is one of eight receivers tied for the lead with two TD catches.
Grossman's good and getting better - 09/19/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times
Instead of picking out a scoring play -- maybe the 41-yard bomb to Bernard Berrian or the 31-yarder to Desmond Clark -- he chose seemingly less damaging plays Rex Grossman made against the Detroit Lions in Sunday's 34-7 wipeout at Soldier Field as signs of his maturity and development.
Wade Wilson, who played for 19 seasons and is in his third as the Bears' quarterbacks coach, selected the tiptoe move Grossman did near the sideline before firing a pass to tight end Desmond Clark. The Lions figured Grossman was going out of bounds and had given up. He also pointed out how Grossman slid in the pocket to avoid blitzing free safety Terrence Holt and hit Berrian on a crossing route for a first down.
Bears expose the Lions' pose -- again - 09/19/2006
Source: Detroit Free Press
At one point in Sunday's game, Roy Williams caught a pass, bounced up, and struck a pose.
Not long after, Chicago's Bernard Berrian caught a pass, bounced up, and struck a pose.
The difference? Williams had a first down.
Berrian was in the end zone.
Guarantees are silly, always have been, always will be, but they really look dumb when your team comes out and lays an egg. Williams, the Lions receiver of eternal promise, may have guaranteed a victory last week in the euphoria of a three-point loss to the NFC champion Seahawks (only the Lions can turn defeat into the heady nectar of self-confidence), but he ought to know better.
Grossman comes alive as Bears tame Lions - 09/17/2006
Grossman had his best game as a pro, and the Chicago Bears' defense silenced Detroit's Roy Williams and the Lions 34-7. Grossman set career highs with 289 yards and four touchdown passes.
Plagued by injuries since being drafted in the first round in 2003, Grossman is healthy and producing. He completed 20 of 27 passes with no interceptions and set a career-high in yards for the second straight week after throwing for 262 in a 26-0 season-opening win at Green Bay.
John Gilmore caught two short touchdown passes, including a 3-yarder just under five minutes into the game. Bernard Berrian had five receptions for 89 yards, with a lunging 41-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Williams caught six passes for 71 yards after guaranteeing a win over the Bears. He was booed loudly after catching his first pass.
Jon Kitna wound up 23-of-30 for 230 yards and was sacked six times.
Berrian injury not serious, but he'll sit out finale - 08/29/2006
Source: Chicago Sun Times
An MRI exam on Bernard Berrian's bruised knee did not show a problem, and the Bears are hopeful the wide receiver will be back on the field soon.
Fantasy Impact: Berrian should be back on the field by Week 1. This news might be more important for Airese Currie and Mark Bradley though as they will get more of a chance to battle it out for a roster spot in the final game of the preseason.