Special teams’ gaffes helped put Bears in early hole
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter December 23, 2013 8:54PM
Philadelphia Eagles' Riley Cooper, right, pulls in a touchdown pass against Chicago Bears' Chris Conte during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) ORG XMIT: PXE103
Updated: January 25, 2014 6:25AM
The 54-11 blowout on Sunday night came with an assist from the special teams.
At the end of the Bears’ first drive, Adam Podlesh punted only 25 yards.
“He just didn’t hit the ball great at the start of the game, and then it continued as it went on,” special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said Monday.
After the Philadelphia Eagles scored with a short field, Devin Hester fumbled the kickoff. The Eagles promptly scored, and, like that, it was 14-0.
“That ball broke to the 40 that got stripped out, so we were going to give our offense a short field there if we can just secure the ball — and Devin’s not the only one responsible for ball security, the way I look at it,” DeCamillis said. “You know, guys finishing blocks and guys making sure that their guy is not there to strip at the end.’’
He said Hester was not pressing to set the NFL record with 20 return scores.
Nonetheless, the mistake “was a huge one,” he said.
“They came to play last night,” DeCamillis said, “and we helped them out at the start of the game, for sure.”
No schedule change
The Bears won’t let Sunday’s win-and-they’re-in game against the Green Bay Packers change their schedule.
The team will hold a walk-through and meetings Wednesday, rather than a full practice, and then practice Thursday and Friday.
“We got in very, very late [after Sunday’s game],” coach Marc Trestman said. “The guys expended themselves. It’s Week 17.
“Our plan was to work this way regardless. …
“We can get a lot done. We’ve shown that we can with two days of work.”
This and that
The Bears reported no major injuries Monday.
† Joe DeCamillis said Eric Weems’ retreat to catch a kick intended for Devin Hester was a “rule that we’ll have to get cleaned up” in practice.
† Marc Trestman couldn’t say whether Alshon Jeffery lined up wrong in formations Sunday — quarterback Jay Cutler seemed to reposition him — but said it would be rare for the wideout to make a mental mistake.