Bears notes: O-line performs well amidst shakeup

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Bears notes: O-line performs well amidst shakeup

The Bears offensive line went through a few changes this week thanks to injuries. And for the most part, the line had a solid outing.

Jay Cutler was sacked just once and that was when he fumbled and the Bears rushed for 132 yards in their 23-17 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks. The Bears had to make some switches on the offensive line, including moving Gabe Carimi to right guard. And all things considered, the offensive line was fine.

We didnt give up a lot of sacks and things like that, coach Lovie Smith said. We did what we needed to do to stay in the game. We just needed to get some help in other places.

Cutler said the line was OK. They could still anchor a little better. But they are giving me time.

While the Bears running game got off to a slow start, it ended up producing. Matt Forte and Michael Bush combined for 105 yards, an average of 3.8 yards per carry.

They played well, given the switch around, and Gabe playing guard and Ed (Williams) having to be in there, Forte said. They played very well.

But for Roberto Garza, the offensive lines adjustments were of little consolation.

At the end of the day, you want to win the football game, he said. Thats all that matters. We didnt do enough.

SO CLOSE, YET

Major Wright hoped he had caused a turnover in overtime, hoped that he had jarred the ball loose from Seattle receiver Sidney Rices hands before Rice got into the end zone. But it wasnt to be, as officials ruled Rice and the ball broke the plane before Wright knocked the ball loose and knocked out Rice for a moment.

I thought we had a chance, Wright said. But at the end of the day, the refs made a call. They came out and made a call.

Rice said he and quarterback Russell Wilson had practiced the route all week and he knew he scored.

I definitely knew I was in. They just made me stay down because I got a little dinged up, Rice said. I had a couple concussions before. They just wanted to make sure I was all right.

QUICK HITS

-- Safety Chris Conte left the game early due to the flu, and was replaced by Craig Steltz. Safety Major Wright said Conte said he wasnt feeling well early.

It was probably the second series. He said he felt dizzy, light headed, was throwing up. I thought, Wow, I didnt know.

-- Entering Sunday, Jay Cutler was 25-0 when he had a 100-plus passer rating. Cutler had a 119.6 passer rating in Sundays loss to Seattle.

-- The Bears recorded their 300th takeaway since 2004 when Brian Urlacher stripped Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch in the first quarter on Sunday. Cornerback Kelvin Hayden recovered the fumble.

Reports: Melo Trimble will return to Terps for junior season

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Reports: Melo Trimble will return to Terps for junior season

Well, at least Mark Turgeon won't lose his entire starting lineup.

With four-fifths of Maryland's starting unit already off to the NBA in one fashion or another, Melo Trimble decided to return to the Terps for his junior season, opting to postpone his pro career for at least one more year.

Trimble waited an awful long time to make his decision on whether to withdraw from or remain in the NBA Draft, with news of the decision coming out just a couple hours before Wednesday night's deadline.

Trimble had a strong follow up to his sensational freshman season last year, improving as a distributor and as a defender despite a significant dropoff in his scoring and shooting numbers. But he still led the way for a star-studded Maryland team that advanced to the program's first Sweet Sixteen in 13 years.

After averaging 16.2 points per game, shooting 44 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range and getting to the free-throw line nearly seven times a game as a freshman, Trimble averaged 14.8 points per game, shot just 41 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from 3-point range and averaged just better than five free throws a game as a sophomore. Still, he earned All-Big Ten First Team honors for the second straight season.

The expectations placed on him and his team were huge. Trimble was the conference preseason player of the year, and the Terps were tabbed as one of the favorites to win the national championship.

A return to school is not without its risks, as a further decline in Trimble's shooting numbers could prove costly for his draft stock. Plus, with many of the stars from last season's team gone, the Terps will enter the season with vastly different expectations, with many questioning whether they'll even make the NCAA tournament.

However, Trimble could be doing exactly what the new rules were designed to do: using better access to information to make the best decision. If NBA teams truly believe he's not ready for the pros, continuing to develop at the college level makes a heck of a lot of sense. Plus, while his stock was high after that freshman season, it no doubt took a hit after his sophomore season and could rocket back up with another big year as a junior.

Plus, Trimble's return means Turgeon doesn't have to go into full-tilt rebuild mode a season removed from one with championship expectations.

Fire hoping to build on Houston win

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Fire hoping to build on Houston win

The Chicago Fire slogged through the first third of the season with just two wins, but the 1-0 win against Houston on Saturday offered some hope.

That hope comes not just in the result, but in the way the Fire played.

The 20 shots was the most for the Fire this season and the seven on target was second to only the season opener. It was probably the Fire's best performance of the season when adding in the solid defensive performance that was absent back on March 6.

There are still things that the Fire need to improve on though. The Fire probably should have converted more of those chances and the Dynamo had 62.9 percent of the possession.

“I’m absolutely sure that at some point of the season all the pieces will come together," coach Veljko Paunovic said during Tuesday's conference call with media. "We will start performing much better and we will have more offensive outcome and obviously we have to keep our defensive good performance."

So now that the Fire had a decent performance and result, the question becomes can the team build on it?

“I think we have to build on this win," goalkeeper Sean Johnson said after the game. "I think any type of positivity in this time you have to grab and you have to run with it."

It must be said that Houston is down near the bottom of the league's standings and the Dynamo are now 0-6 on the road. With that in mind, beating Houston should have been more of an expectation, but if it gives a confidence boost to the Fire that may be all that matters.

It won't be as easy against Portland, the defending MLS Cup champions. However, a win against the Timbers would start to make the MLS standings less cringe-worthy for Fire fans ahead of the Copa America break.

"We believe that winning the game against Houston will help us to come to this game with more confidence, better prepared and that’s something that we have to work on this week," Paunovic said. "We believe that actually it’s a great moment for us to finish the first part of the season winning against a very good team, at least have a very good performance.”

On the injury front, Paunovic said that David Accam is still at full strength and ready to return after being suspended for the Houston match. Gilberto is still nursing a minor hamstring injury, but has been training with the team. Michael Harrington and Collin Fernandez are nearing returns, but may still be out Saturday. John Goossens will be out Saturday, but Paunovic said he expects him to be back after the break.

White Sox try to slow down skid as they battle the Royals on CSN

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White Sox try to slow down skid as they battle the Royals on CSN

The White Sox take on the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Thursday’s starting pitching matchup: Miguel Gonzalez vs. Danny Duffy

Click here for a game preview to make sure you’re ready for the action.  

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