EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – There was an added degree of difficulty to RB Tarik Cohen’s one-yard TD pass to WR Anthony Miller on the final play of regulation that sent Sunday’s game into overtime. Miller was not the primary receiver.
The pass, which came after TE Trey Burton took a handoff from QB Chase Daniel going to his left and then lateraled the ball to Cohen going in the opposite direction, is supposed to go to Daniel. But he was covered.
“There’s a second read in there,” Cohen said. “They had covered Chase so … just stay on the run and not take a sack. Just trying to be a quarterback and go through the reads.”
The play is called, “Oompa-Loompa,” in the Bears’ playbook, according to Cohen.
“We’ve had that in for a little while now,” Nagy said. “It wasn’t a hard choice for us in that situation.”
Except that it came on fourth down with three seconds left.
“We practice it every week,” Daniel said. “(Cohen) has never really thrown to Anthony on that play. He’s always thrown to me because in the walk-through I’m wide open. Literally the first time he threw to Anthony was Friday in practice. It’s amazing how that happens.”
But it couldn’t prevent the Bears’ 30-27 overtime loss, which ended their five-game winning streak.
Akiem Hicks is second on the Bears with five sacks after getting one against the Giants in addition to six solo tackles.
That kind of performance has come to be expected from the 6-foot-5, 332-pound defensive lineman. But he added a new line to his resume on Sunday with a one-yard TD run that gave the Bears a 14-7 lead late in the second quarter.
Taking a page from former Bears coach Mike Ditka’s playbook and his use of 300-pound William “Refrigerator” Perry as a goalline weapon, Matt Nagy called on Hicks with fourth-and-goal at the one-yard line.
“That was ‘The Freezer, Left,’ ” Nagy said. “That’s what we called it. We’ve had that play in for weeks, and we’ve been practicing it. The ball was slick, so we felt like, ‘Let’s get this snap under center. Let’s give (Hicks) a chance.’ He’s hard to stop down there getting the ball full-steam ahead.”
It was a new experience for Hicks.
“I have been a D-lineman my entire life,” he said. “Never (played anything else). Nothing else. My strengths are for what they pay me to do – go hit quarterbacks. I’ve been hitting people since I was little.”
Making progress, maybe
QB Mitch Trubisky tested his injured right shoulder before Sunday’s game but was inactive for the second straight week, and coach Matt Nagy was noncommittal regarding his status.
“He’s feeling better,” Nagy said. “It’s going to be a day-to-day thing, where we just continue to see where he’s at. He did some more throwing, and then same thing for the rest of the days this week, and that’s our plan. I said last week (after Trubisky threw a little at Friday’s practice) his arrow is going up every day, he feels like, and you can see when he’s throwing. So we will continue to keep our fingers crossed.”
Not for now
Kareem Hunt, the reigning NFL rushing leader who was cut by the Chiefs Friday when a hotel video surfaced of him physically abusing a woman, would be a perfect fit in the Bears’ offense – on the field. But he figures to be toxic for any NFL team for a long time.
Bears coach Matt Nagy, who was the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator last year when Hunt rushed for 1,327 yards last year, was asked about the situation after his team’s 30-27 overtime loss to the Giants.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Nagy said. “No. 1 (for) me personally, just the entire situation is unfortunate for everybody involved. That’s not where we’re at. We’re focusing on today, and who this team is. I understand your question, but to everybody, that’s where I’m at on that.”
Sitting it out
In addition to QB Mitch Trubisky, RB Benny Cunningham (ankle) and CB Sherrick McManis (hamstring) were inactive for the Bears. Both special teams standouts did not travel with the team Saturday. McManis is tied for the team lead with four special teams tackles, and Cunningham is tied for fourth with two. The six-year veteran running back also leads the team with eight kickoff returns and 173 yards for a 21.6-yard average.
Also inactive for the Bears were WRs Kevin White and Javon Wims, OL Rashaad Coward and DL Nick Williams. The Giants’ inactives were TE Evan Engram, QB Alex Tanney, DB Kamrin Moore, LBs Lorenzo Carter and B.J. Goodson, C Evan Brown and DL John Jenkins.