Lance Briggs laments ‘boneheaded’ offsides penalty on fourth down
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter October 6, 2013 9:49PM
Updated: November 8, 2013 6:24AM
Despite a poor effort from the defense in Sunday’s loss to the New Orleans Saints — one in which the Bears failed to force a turnover — linebacker Lance Briggs finished with 14 tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss.
But his focus after the game was on a fourth-down penalty he committed in the fourth quarter. It extended a Saints drive that ended with a field goal.
With the Bears trailing 23-10 midway through the fourth quarter, the Saints had a fourth-and-1 on their 47-yard line. Briggs said he knew the Saints had no intention of running a play. They were just going to use a hard count to try to get the Bears to jump offsides.
Briggs bit on the hard count. He said after the game that it was a play the Saints had run earlier and he should have been more aware it was coming.
‘‘It’s fourth-and-1 — it was a boneheaded play by myself,” Briggs said. “They were probably going to freeze it anyway and they would get off the field. I’m better than that.”
On a number of occasions, Briggs drew the assignment of guarding tight end Jimmy Graham, who led the Saints with 10 receptions for 135 yards. On a few plays, Graham beat Briggs up the middle for big gains.
Tight end Martellus Bennett and cornerback Tim Jennings were able to re-enter the game after suffering what looked to be potentially serious injuries.
On an 18-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter, Bennett was flipped over on a tackle by safety Malcolm Jenkins. Bennett landed on his head and was taken to the locker room, but after the game he gave no indication as to what was the specific injury concern.
“I was all right,” Bennett said. “It probably looked cool on TV. I’m all right. I was able to play, so that’s all that really matters.
“I don’t know where I landed on, but that didn’t hurt. I did gymnastics as a kid, so I finished the flip.”
Jennings buckled his knee in the third quarter trying to tackle wide receiver Marques Colston at the first-down marker.
“On the tackle, I was kind of going backwards [and] he was going forwards,” Jennings said. “His momentum took me forward. My knee got just tweaked a little bit, but I just got to keep it loose. I’ll be all right.’’
After a horrendous game at Ford Field in last week’s loss to the Detroit Lions, Bears punter Adam Podlesh responded with solid game. He finished with a net average of 44.8 yards. His net average last week was 28.8 yards.