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Today, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the NFL has reprimanded Collins, but did not fine nor suspend him:
Ray Anderson, the league’s executive vice president of football operations, said in a letter to Collins that his conduct was unbecoming of an NFL player and reminded him that throwing anything at fans is not defensible, no matter the circumstances.
Collins was warned by Anderson to refrain from such conduct in the future.
Collins, for his part, did seem somewhat repentant, and the Bears fans weren’t blameless:
Two days later, Collins said “both sides were out of line” and blamed himself for not walking away.
The NFL investigation revealed that two Bears fans were screaming profanities at Collins but that there was no proof a racial slur was used.
Collins was given the benefit of the doubt because of the “he said, she said” and “heat of the moment” nature of the incident, according to the league.
This is probably the end of the story. The Bears will play the Packers in Green Bay in the final game of the regular season on Sunday, Jan. 2.
Reports after Monday night’s game stated that Packers safety Nick Collins threw his mouthguard at a Bears fan. The Chicago Sun-Times says the NFL is investigating:
The NFL is “in the process of reviewing the facts,” said Greg Aiello, senior VP of public relations.
The Milwaukee Fox affiliate has broadcast video showing Collins yelling at a fan and throwing what looks like a mouthpiece at the fan as he left the field. Collins later told the station that the fan spit on him and used a racial slur. Collins later apologized, according to the station, for “losing his cool.”
When asked whether the matter would fall under the jurisdiction of the Bears, Soldier Field security or NFL security, team spokesman Scott Hagel said: “Everybody will be reviewing it. We work together.”
Obviously, if the fan did that, that’s beyond the bounds of acceptable behavior. Still, as Collins said, he “lost his cool”, and that’s not cool, either.
Via tweet from NFL PR guy Brian McCarthy:
JAY CUTLER, QB
On his overall performance
“I didn’t play very well. I thought we were out of sync. I missed some throws that I should have made. I thought the defense did a great job keeping us in there and getting some turnovers when we had to. We needed to make some plays and we didn’t make them.”
On what this game means in the overall picture of the season
“We didn’t play our best game and we won. That’s got to be a good sign. Offensively, we’ve got to get a lot better. I need to get a lot better. Our defense did a good job of keeping us in it.”
On the offense’s identity through three games
“We’re winning ball games. We’re still learning as an offense. We played well last week and started a little shaky tonight. This week, we had some big plays, had some big chunks. We scored right before halftime, drove down the field at the end of the game and got the field goal. We’re doing enough to win. We just need to get a little better.”
On the lift Devin Hester’s return gave
“It’s huge. If we can get him going again that’s definitely a good sign. Devin is really electric back there. So, to get him going again like that and get him feeling energized, he brings a whole new dimension to the game.”
On the pass to Desmond Clark in the endzone
“They didn’t cover him so I wanted to get the ball on him as fast as possible. I just have to give more of a better ball.”
BRIAN URLACHER, LB
On the Bears stifiling of the Packers running game
“They didn’t try and run it. I think the group is playing really good against the run. We had a couple missed tackles there on a couple of long runs but for the most part we were in the backfield again – guys making plays.”
LANCE BRIGGS, LB
On the forced fumble he and Brian Urlacher converged on in the fourth quarter
“We needed a play. In situations like this, against teams like this big time players play big – they’ve got to play big.”
LOVIE SMITH, COACH
“The Packers is a great rivalry game. Most of them end up going down until the end like that one. But our guys just played hard for 60 minutes. I know that’s coach talk, but they did. We got off to a rough start. They had momentum early on, but the guys just kept on fighting through. Offensively, we hung in there, they got some pressure early, we knew coming in that there front seven was pretty good, but we got our passing game going. Greg Olsen, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox, all of the guys are contributing and made big plays. Running game wise, we didn’t do as much as we would like, but some nights the run just doesn’t work and you have to rely on the pass, and of course, we did that. We protected the football well. I think we had one turnover. Normally, when you win the turnover ratio, which we did tonight, you win the football game. Defensive side of the ball, guys hung in there. Need to be able to get the quarterback down, but Aaron Rodgers is a good player, it’s hard to get him down. We kept the ball in front of us for the most part, for most of the game. We came through with a big takeaway at the end, which we needed. I think Brian Urlacher knocked the ball out. Tim Jennings really made a big play of keeping it in bounds. He gave us a boost at the cornerback position, too. We talked about all three phases and have been waiting for Devin to come back. He came back tonight. Of course, he was outstanding on that one touchdown run, but even before that, it just felt like every time he went back there, he had a chance to score. We’re tough when we have all three phases working like that. We’re 3-0 right now, feel real good about that. I think we are the only NFC team that’s undefeated; getting ready for a tough game going to New York next week. Injury wise, came out of the game in pretty good shape, hope to get some of our injured guys to come back next week.”
On defining characteristics of this team
“It’s hard to say after three games. I just know that they are laying it on the line. They are physical and tonight we honored Monsters of the Midway, it’s just good to see a team play 60 minutes of ball. When you’re down a little bit, you have a chance to show your character. Great leadership on our football team, and the guys just weren’t going to be denied. It’s early in the season still, going to finish out this first quarter on a high note.”
On making Tommie Harris inactive
“We had 45 guys that you can go with; we have everybody healthy right now. Just felt like we wanted to get a look at Marcus Harrison, him and Melton inside a little bit, just performance based. Tommie’s been doing everything we asked him to do. Devin Aromashodu didn’t dress tonight. We have good players on the sideline right now, one-game situations. We’ll go practice next week and see who gives us the best chance at winning.”
On Devin Hester returning punts
“Who decided to take him out? We like Devin Hester as our punt return all along. We haven’t been pleased with the production we’ve gotten from there, but you have to stay patient with him sometimes. If you talk to most opponents, they’ll still tell you they are scared when Devin goes back there. You just have to stay with him. The guys did a good job blocking for him, but again, he’s back and we like seeing him back there.”
On going for it on fourth and one
“We went for it because we thought we could get it, and if we didn’t, we felt we had them backed up and we would get the ball back. We had plenty of time to do something later on. As far as going for a pass play, it was a good play; we didn’t execute it as well as we needed too. But we are going to stay aggressive in situations like that.”
On the guys like Hester, Urlacher, Peppers, Cutler making plays
“We are hard to beat and that’s what they are paid to do. We have a lot of good football players on our team and the guys realize that. Everyone knows their role. Some players are supposed to play at this level and then we have some others that can do a little bit more. They know that we need them to show up that way each week and that’s how it’s been. We are 3-0 because our top players, our marquee players are playing that way.”
Via press release from the Bears:
Hester now has 12 kick return touchdowns for his career (eight punt and four kickoff), tied for second most in NFL history with Dante Hall and Eric Metcalf, trailing Brian Mitchell’s 13.
Hester’s eight punt return touchdowns are tied for third most in NFL history with Jack Christiansen, Desmond Howard and Rick Upchurch, trailing Metcalf (10) and Mitchell (nine).
Hester’s 28-yard punt return in the second quarter led to the Bears first touchdown of the contest.
GOULD HITS NINTH CAREER GAME WINNER: Bears K Robbie Gould hit a 19-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Bears a 20-17 lead. It was the ninth game-winning field goal of Gould’s career. Seven of those game-winning field goals have come at Soldier Field.
It was the 10th blocked kick of Peppers career. Peppers’ 10 blocked kicks are second in the NFL since the stat became official in 1992, trailing Shaun Rogers.
Since 2004, the Bears have 19 blocked kicks, tops in the NFL.
KNOX FINISHES WITH CAREER-HIGH 94 RECEIVING YARDS: Bears WR Johnny Knox finished Monday night’s contest with a career-high 94 receiving yards on four receptions. Three of Knox’s top-four receiving totals have come against the Green Bay Packers. Knox’s 83 receiving yards versus Green Bay on December 13, 2009 are the third-most in his career and his 82 receiving yards on September 13, 2009 are fourth.
Knox hauled in receptions of 35 and 31 yards tonight, third and tied for fifth longest of his career. His 68-yard reception at Green Bay in the 2009 season opener is his career long.
OLSEN HAULS IN 9-YARD TOUCHDOWN: Chicago TE Greg Olsen hauled in a nine-yard touchdown pass from QB Jay Cutler in the second quarter of Monday night’s contest. It is the third Monday Night Football contest in-a-row that Olsen has caught a touchdown. Olsen now has 17 touchdown receptions in his career, one behind Desmond Clark for second most in Bears franchise history among tight ends.
Dating back to the final two games of the 2009 regular season, Olsen has four touchdown receptions in five contests, second most in the NFL among tight ends, trailing San Diego’s Antonio Gates (six).
PATRICK MANNELLY PLAYS IN 192ND GAME AS A BEAR: Chicago LS Patrick Mannelly played in his 192nd game in a Bears uniform this past Monday versus Green Bay, breaking the record for the most in team history. Mannelly surpassed Steve McMichael (191) for the record.
Mannelly joined Chicago as a sixth-round selection (189th overall) in the 1998 NFL Draft, tied with C Olin Kreutz for the most years of service in the Windy City among active Bears (13 seasons).
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Robbie Gould booted a 19-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the game and the Bears took advantage of 18 Green Bay penalties to edge the Packers, 20-17, at Soldier Field.
Devin Hester returned a punt 62 yards for a score and Gould kicked two field goals in the final four minutes, the final one coming after a Green Bay turnover.
Aaron Rodgers completed a 12-yard pass to James Jones, but the linebacker tandem of Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher caused a fumble near the sideline. Tim Jennings pounced on the ball, and the Packers challenged the call, but replays showed Jennings stayed in bounds, giving Chicago the ball at the Green Bay 46.
Jay Cutler threw a 21-yard pass over the middle to tight end Greg Olsen. Two plays later, Cutler's pass was picked off by Nick Collins, but Morgan Burnett was called for pass interference. The penalty set up the Bears at the nine, and on fourth down, Gould's kick kept the Bears (3-0) unbeaten. A penalty on the final kickoff return set a Green Bay franchise record.
"We didn't play our best game and we won. That has to be a good sign," Cutler said. "Offensively we have to get a lot better. I have to play better. The defense did a good job keeping us in there."
Cutler finished 16-of-27 for 221 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while Rodgers ended 34-of-45 for 316 yards, also with a score and a pick. Rodgers also ran for a score, but the Packers (2-1), who were penalized 152 yards, suffered their first defeat. Jermichael Finley caught nine passes for 115 yards in the loss.
"That's not the way we play," Rodgers said of the penalties. "That's disappointing. We're not that team. We took points off the board and took big plays off the board as well."
Hester eluded tacklers while running toward the right sideline and stepped by punter Tim Masthay at the five for the 62-yad score on the second play of the fourth quarter, giving Chicago a 14-10 lead.
It was Hester's eighth career punt return for a touchdown, tying him with Rick Upchurch, Desmond Howard and Jack Christiansen for third-most all-time.
Green Bay then held the ball for nearly eight minutes, going on a 12-play, 72- yard drive that was culminated by Rodgers' third down, three-yard scramble to the right, diving into the end zone just inside the pylon. That gave the Packers the lead back with 6:52 remaining.
Mistakes, though, really did in the Packers. Nick Barnett picked off Cutler, but linebacker Frank Zombo was penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cutler. Another ill-advised penalty, an unnecessary roughness call on Collins for slamming Matt Forte to the ground, moved the ball to the Green Bay 29. Gould ended up kicking a 25-yard field goal with 3:59 left to tie the game to set up the dramatic finish.
Gould was wide right on a 49-yard field goal try on the game's opening possession, and Green Bay went ahead 7-0 on a Rodgers seven-yard TD pass to Greg Jennings.
Cutler was intercepted in the end zone by Derrick Martin later in the first quarter and Mason Crosby's 38-yard field goal with 4:41 left in the half made it 10-0. That drive also lasted nearly eight minutes, covering 14 plays, 73 yards.
The Bears finally got on the scoreboard thanks to Cutler's nine-yard TD pass to Olsen with 26 seconds left in the half, and Chicago came up big on special teams midway through the third as Julius Peppers blocked Crosby's 37-yard field goal try. Earlier in the drive, the Packers had a 15-yard TD pass to Finley nullified by a holding penalty on Mark Tauscher.
Chicago wasted a golden opportunity to take the lead inside two minutes left in the third when the Bears dropped two passes in the end zone, including a fourth down attempt from Cutler to tight end Desmond Clark.
The Bears are off to their first 3-0 start since 2006 and are the only unbeaten NFC squad...Hester trails only Eric Metcalf (10) and Brian Mitchell (nine) for most punts returned for touchdowns. Hester has 12 combined kickoff/punt returns for touchdowns...Peppers has 10 career blocked field goals...This was the first time since 1962 that both teams entered the game with a 2-0 record. The Packers won that September 30, 1962, matchup in Green Bay, 49-0...The teams won't see each other again until Week 17, the first time that the Packers have ever hosted Chicago in the season finale...Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly set a team record by playing in his 192nd game, surpassing Steve McMichael...Prior to the game, the Bears observed a moment of silence for George Blanda, who passed away Monday at the age of 83. Blanda played from 1949-58 for the Bears...Chicago defensive tackle Tommie Harris was benched and listed as inactive.
After an eight-play drive that started on the Packers’ 46 stalled at the one-yard line, the Bears let the clock run down to eight seconds, called a timeout, and Robbie Gould sent a 19-yard field goal through the uprights as the clock ticked down to 0:04.
The Bears drove to the Packers eight yard line but the drive stalled there. Robbie Gould earlier missed a 49-yard FG attempt, but this time he was good from 25 and the game was tied at 17 with 3:59 remaining in regulation.
After a 13-play drive, Aaron Rodgers scrambled three yards and dived into the corner of the end zone for a touchdown that gave the Packers the lead; the extra point put Green Bay ahead by three with 6:52 remaining.
After holding the Packers deep in their own territory and forcing a punt from inside the 10-yard line, Devin Hester returned the punt for 62 yards and a touchdown. It’s his first punt return for a TD in two years.
Jay Cutler led the Bears on a seven-play drive deep into Packers territory. Earl Bennett caught a pass and appeared to put the ball into the end zone for a touchdown, but his knees hit the ground on the one-yard line and on replay review, he was ruled down by contact.
On 4th and goal from the 1, Cutler threw to an open Desmond Clark, but the ball went off Clark’s hands and the Packers took over.
Cutler has completed nine of 15 passes for 109 yards, one touchdown and one interception at halftime. He’s been sacked three times.
Green Bay intercepted a pass from Jay Cutler in the end zone but failed to score again on the next drive, punting the ball. The Bears kept control of the ball as the first quarter ended with the Packers up by 7.
After Robbie Gould missed a 49-yard field goal, Green Bay came back and scored a touchdown on first and goal on a pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings at around five minutes left in the first quarter.
A further tweet from Adam Oestmann of Fanball says that it's a coach's decision.
From a Bears press release:
The Bears claimed Williams off of waivers on September 1. He was an undrafted free agent of the Redskins in 2009 and appeared in four games for Washington, starting two contests at right guard. Collegiately, the 6-3, 313-pound Williams started in the final 49 games of his career at the University of Maryland (2005-08), including starts in the final 39 contests at center.
Both teams have started the year at 2-0, but only one of those marks is a surprise.
The Bears' early season success, which included wins over the Lions (19-14) and Cowboys (27-20), was of the unexpected variety. A Chicago team that entered the 2010 season fresh off a 7-9 campaign, and with a new and complex offensive scheme designed by coordinator Mike Martz, was expected to have some trouble finding its footing.
A less-than-stellar preseason showing, in which the Bears went 0-4 and struggled to find consistency on either side of the football, did not seem to indicate a team on the verge of a breakthrough.
But Chicago has shouted down its skeptics through two weeks, with quarterback Jay Cutler showing comfort in the new-look offense during the pair of victories. Cutler led the NFL in passer rating (121.2) heading into Week 3, after completing 44-of-64 (68.8 percent) of his pass attempts over the first two weeks for 649 yards, five touchdowns, and perhaps most importantly, just one interception.
Also re-born in the Mike Martz offense has been running back Matt Forte', who leads the Bears in receptions (12), receiving yards (188) and touchdowns (3) through two games.
Defensively, the Bears lead the NFL in rushing defense (28.0 yards per game) and yards allowed per carry (1.4) heading into Week 3.
With a win, Chicago would move to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, when it won its first seven games en route to a 13-3 finish and eventual Super Bowl appearance
Green Bay's most jaw-dropping work has probably been done on the defensive side of the ball, where pass rusher Clay Matthews has posted an NFL-best six sacks through the season's first two weeks, and Green Bay has been credited with an NFL-high-tying 10 sacks overall. Matthews last week became the first player in Packers history to notch three sacks in consecutive games.
The Packers have also received typically effective play from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has a 94.4 passer rating and has completed 63.3 percent of his passes thus far.
Green Bay is seeking its first 3-0 start since 2007, when it won its first four en route to a 13-3 finish and eventual NFC Championship appearance.
Monday's game will mark the 180th all-time battle between the Packers and Bears since the series began in 1921. It is the NFL's most-played rivalry.
The Bears are 20-33 (.377) all-time on Monday night, but are 4-1 under head coach Lovie Smith. The Packers are 27-28-1 (.491) on Mondays, including 3-8 since the 2005 season.
Chicago holds a 90-82-6 advantage in the NFL's most-played series, which as mentioned dates back to the 1921 season, but was swept in last year's home-and- home with Green Bay. The Bears were 21-15 road losers when the teams met in Week 1, and dropped a 21-14 decision when the clubs faced off at Lambeau Field in Week 14. The teams embarked on a conventional home-and-home split in 2008, including a Bears' 20-17 overtime victory at Soldier Field.
For all their storied history together, the teams have met just once in the postseason, a 33-14 Bears victory in a 1941 NFL Playoff.
Smith is 7-5 versus the Packers as a head coach, while Green Bay's Mike McCarthy is 4-4 against both Smith and Chicago as a head man.
WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL
If there is a concerning element for the Packers right now, it is a running game that did not exactly bounce back strong from a Week 1 season-ending injury to Ryan Grant in last week's win against the Bills. New starter Brandon Jackson (92 rushing yards, 1 TD) mustered just 29 yards on 11 carries for the day, and though he did score a touchdown, Jackson was outplayed by utility back John Kuhn (51 rushing yards, 1 TD). Kuhn, who logged 36 yards on nine carries, could be in line for a larger role on Monday night along with the emerging Dimitri Nance. The passing game will remain the preferred mode of travel, with Greg Jennings (8 receptions, 1 TD), Donald Driver (9 receptions, 2 TD) and tight end Jermichael Finley (8 receptions) the main targets for Rodgers (443 passing yards, 4 TD, 2 INT). Finley led the way with 103 receiving yards against the Bills last week, while Driver and James Jones (5 receptions, 1 TD) both caught TDs. Rodgers could be dealing with a change in his protection on Monday, as Green Bay is expected to start first-round rookie Bryan Bulaga (Iowa) at left tackle in place of the injured and struggling Chad Clifton (knees).
The biggest problem for both Rodgers and his possibly altered offensive line on Monday night will wear number 90, and go by the name of Julius Peppers. One week after posting his first sack as a Bear against the Lions, Peppers knocked down two passes to add value versus the Cowboys. His presence also seems to be having a positive effect on the secondary, which got two interceptions from safety D.J. Moore (3 tackles) last week and a forced fumble for No. 1 corner Charles Tillman (12 tackles, 1 INT). Chicago should not have much trouble in continuing its exploits against the run on Monday, against a limited Packers running game. Brian Urlacher (16 tackles, 1 sack), who had eight tackles and a fumble recovery in the Dallas win, appears to be rounding back into form alongside Lance Briggs (16 tackles). Briggs has been bothered by an ankle problem and his status is in question for Monday. Israel Idonije (4 tackles), who is dealing with a foot problem, has been among the team's most active interior linemen through two weeks.
WHEN THE BEARS HAVE THE BALL
Cutler may be off to a blazing start in 2010, but he'll still have to get past a dubious history against the Packers. Including a loss while he was at the controls of the Broncos, Cutler is 0-3 with four touchdown passes and six interceptions in his career against the Packers. Complicating matters for the former first-rounder on Monday could be the makeup of the offensive line, as Frank Omiyale might be forced to start in place of ailing left tackle Chris Williams (hamstring). If the line can give Cutler some time to look downfield, he'll be targeting the likes of Johnny Knox (7 receptions, 138 yards), Devin Hester (5 receptions, 1 TD) and tight end Greg Olsen (5 receptions, 1 TD), among others. Hester caught an acrobatic TD in the win over the Cowboys, and Olsen made his only grab of the day stand up for a 39-yard touchdown. Though Forte' (27 carries, 79 yards) has been a big part of the offense, the running game has yet to get going in the traditional sense. Forte' is averaging just 2.9 yards per rush, and Chester Taylor (13 carries, 35 yards) a mere 2.7. The inconsistent offensive line has allowed five sacks of Cutler thus far.
The main concern for Cutler and the Bears offense will necessarily be Matthews (12 tackles) and the pass rush, both because of the injury issues on the line and Green Bay's furious play in that realm over the past two weeks. If the Packers can apply pressure to Cutler, a secondary led by cornerback Charles Woodson (10 tackles) and safety Nick Collins (10 tackles) will have things easier against the Bears' fleet of receivers. Collins ranked among team leaders with seven tackles against the Bills. A run defense that was listed just No. 20 in the league as Week 3 began will also have to be on its game, an effort that will start in the trenches with nose tackle B.J. Raji (4 tackles, 1 sack) and ends Cullen Jenkins (4 tackles, 2 sacks) and Ryan Pickett (5 tackles), and extend to inside linebacker Nick Barnett (13 tackles) and A.J. Hawk (9 tackles). Hawk posted nine tackles against the Bills after not playing a single snap on defense versus the Eagles in Week 1.
This game will settle a lot of Week 3 contests around fantasy nation, with the work of Green Bay's passing game principles taking up a large part of that spotlight. Owners of Rodgers, Jennings, Driver and Finley should not hesitate to use them against a Bears defense that has given up its share of aerial yards through the first two weeks. Jackson is a possibility due to his probable use near the goal line, but it will be surprising if he approaches 20 carries. The Packers defense and kicker Mason Crosby are must-plays.
On the Chicago side, Cutler has moved into many starting lineups thanks to his efforts of the past couple of weeks, but owners should take note of his dubious numbers against Green Bay before locking him into this week's lineup. Knox and Forte' have been Cutler's most consistent targets and are worthy of starting assignments. Even with a bunch of turnovers forced and good numbers versus the run, the Bears defense is not an attractive play on Monday. Kicker Robbie Gould should contribute something, though.
Though the Bears are a surprise 2-0 and come off a very nice win on the road against a talented Cowboys team, this could be a week where they look more like that out-of-sync group we saw in the preseason. The Packers pass rush will have a good opportunity to punish Cutler on Monday, or at least force him into the kind of mistakes he's managed to stay out of over the first two weeks. On the other side, as long as Rodgers can mostly steer clear of Peppers, he should find lots of open receivers against a Bears secondary that has shown some holes thus far. The Soldier Field crowd will be boisterous, but this game will find these two teams drifting toward their natural poles in the NFC North.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Packers 30, Bears 17
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