Unlikely star Corey Wootton’s first career TD ignites 28-point 1st quarter for Bears
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 04: Corey Wootton #98 of the Chicago Bears celebrates scoring a touchdown on a blocked punt with teammates Blake Costanzo #52 and J.T. Thomas #97 at LP Field on November 4, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Considering the way Bears defensive end Corey Wootton described the first touchdown of his career, it was a surprise he didn’t perform the standard slam-dunk over the crossbar celebration.
“I saw the ball up in the air and I tried to play basketball and go up and get it,” Wootton said after the Bears’ shellacked the Tennessee Titans 51-20 at LP Field on Sunday. “I held on to the ball and just started rumbling into the end zone.”
Wootton scored after reserve cornerback Sherrick McManis blocked a punt by Brett Kern, recovered the wildly bouncing ball and dragged want-to-be tacklers for five yards into the end zone.
It ignited what turned into a record-breaking first quarter for Bears, giving them their first touchdown of their rout and also their first special-teams touchdown of the season.
“[Special teams] coach [Dave] Toub is a genius when it comes to scheming teams and we just trust in everything he does,” McManis said. “As a team, our goal is just to execute it. If we execute as planned, things like that will show up for us.”
Yet, the play call on the block wasn’t intended for McManis to come off the right edge untouched like he was, he said. Wootton and safety Craig Steltz also were able to pressure Kern.
“I look at it as a block,” McManis said of his first career punt block in the NFL. “I don’t know what they did. … I came in and took it off his foot.”
Wootton and McManis, who both played at Northwestern, said Toub stressed all week that he wanted the Bears’ special teams to finally make their first big play of the season, especially with the Titans rated as one of the league’s best on special teams. Devin Hester also had a 44-yard punt return to the Titans’ eight-yard line.
“So far we haven’t really been able to make too many big plays [on special teams],” Wootton said. “We worked on some good rushes this week and we were able to get in there. Sherrick had a great block on it and the ball landed right in front of me.”
And he wasn’t going to be denied a touchdown.
Wootton said his last touchdown was in his junior year of high school.
“There were some guys on my back,” he said. “I just had to keep pushing through it.”