Julius Peppers’ health is still an issue
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter September 16, 2013 9:30PM
Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears
Updated: October 18, 2013 6:31AM
The Bears identified one problem with their pass rush Sunday: Julius Peppers was sick.
The eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end was limited to one tackle and made no impact plays for the second consecutive week in the Bears’ 31-30 victory against the Minnesota Vikings.
‘‘He was not healthy, probably sicker than he was the two previous days,’’ coach Marc Trestman said. ‘‘He tried. He wouldn’t say [he was sick], but I don’t know that he had the energy to play as hard as he could possibly play.’’
Trestman said Peppers, who missed practice time last week because of his illness, still didn’t look well at meetings Monday, so his status for the Bears’ game Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers will bear watching.
Trestman said tight end Martellus Bennett, who suffered a bruised shoulder while making a one-handed catch out of the end zone against the Vikings, had full range of motion in the joint and is expected to play against the Steelers.
Trestman said Jared Allen’s sack of Jay Cutler, which led to a fumble that Brian Robison returned 61 yards for a touchdown Sunday, was an aborted screen pass to running back Matt Forte. He said the Bears learned from the mistake.
‘‘The technique of what they were doing defensively enabled us to have a big play,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘And I think we got a better understanding when a defense plays that kind of front [how to counter it]. We have to get Matt out [of the backfield] quicker. If we could have gotten Matt out cleanly, it would have been a big play.’’
Trestman also said Cutler shares some of the blame.
‘‘I think Jay would be the first one to tell you he’s got to do a better job of taking care of the football and recognizing blind-side pursuit in that situation,’’ Trestman said.
Infraction fairy tale?
The Bears had four penalties (plus two that were declined) against the Vikings, including two infractions for too many men on the field on special-teams plays.
The first one actually was for having 16 or 17 men on the field, as the Bears were caught transitioning to their punt team. It gave the Vikings a first down, but the defense forced a three-and-out, so the difference was eight yards and 96 seconds.
‘‘The officials weren’t quite sure what was going on,’’ Trestman said. ‘‘When we looked at the tape from the end zone, it looked like one of the officials was trying to hold up play. Our guys did a good job. We’ve done a good job in transitions of running off the field. We had about six guys. They weren’t raging off the field, but they were running at normal transition gait, and [the officials] allowed [the Vikings] to snap the football.’’
Trestman said he planned to ask the league for a clarification.
‘‘We want to make sure . . . that we’re handling things the correct way,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re not questioning it; we just want to know what we could have done better.’’