As Johnny Knox was sprinting down the sidelines headed for a late-game touchdown, most eyes were on Devin Hester on the other side of the field.
CHICAGO — As Johnny Knox was sprinting down the sidelines headed for a late-game touchdown, most eyes were on Devin Hester on the other side of the field.
It worked, but in the end, it really didn’t. The trick punt return with 1:09 left in the game resulted in a Bears touchdown that would have cut the Packers’ lead to 27-24. However, a holding penalty was called on Chicago, and three plays later the game ended unceremoniously for the Bears.
“That was the most incredible play I had ever seen in seven years,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said after watching it all unfold from the sidelines. “I think everyone on the sidelines was wondering what the heck just happened as he was running down the sideline with two blockers in front of him. Honestly, that was the most incredible play that I have ever seen.”
But it was also meaningless. Hester and the entire Bears punt return team flowed over to the left side of the field as if the punt was headed that way. Instead, it drifted quietly down into Knox’s hands on the right sideline, and he sprinted 89 yards for a touchdown.
That is, for a touchdown that never was.
Great Dane leads way
Undrafted rookie wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher, a little speedster from Ohio State who had to struggle just to make the team, led all Bear wideouts with five catches and a touchdown Sunday.
He accumulated just 27 yards, giving him a 5.4 yard-per-catch average, but had a 4-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter that cut the Green Bay lead to 14-7. Sanzenbacher now has a TD catch in two straight games after hauling in an 8-yard touchdown in the Week 2 loss to the Saints. He’s the first undrafted rookie free agent to record multiple touchdowns during the season since Marcus Anderson in 1981.
Cutler goes for over 300
QB Jay Cutler had two interceptions and was sacked three times, but he threw for 302 yards with a pair of touchdowns in Sunday’s loss as well. Cutler now has six games with over 300 yards passing in 34 games as a Bear for the third most in franchise history behind Bill Wade (nine in 59 games) and Erik Kramer (seven in 55).
“There were spurts. We’ve got to be consistent, though,” Cutler said. “If we go down the line, everyone probably had a mistake, so until we put together a full game and we’re consistent and we’re balanced, it’s going to be tough for us to win.”
Cutler had four completions of 20-plus yards in the second quarter, during which he threw for 155 yards, the fifth-most in a single quarter during his career.
Numbers tell story
Last year in Week 3, the Packers committed 18 penalties and were swallowed up by the Bears in Soldier Field. Chicago had 10 penalties for 70 yards in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay. The Bears were also held to 13 yards rushing, were 3-of-12 on third-down conversions and lost the time-of-possession battle by a large 37:29-22:31 margin.
“There were just too many mistakes. They’re a good football team, and you can’t make that many mistakes and hope to win,” center Roberto Garza said. “We just didn’t quite get it together, and that’s not good enough.”
Bears reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1384 or email@example.com.