Mullin: Forte playing best football of his pro career

Mullin: Forte playing best football of his pro career

Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010
Posted: 1:50 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

Another good Thursday visit at 10 a.m. with Dan McNeil and Matt Spiegel on "The Danny Mac Show" on WSCR-AM 670, with a tough quick ending question:

Who is the best team in the NFL right now?

My quick take was the New England Patriots, even with their recent loss to Cleveland. Why? Because there is no team in the NFL right now that I would like to face less than the Patriots, which is what the Bears will do after their visit to Detroit.

Mac and Spiegs weren't buying New England, partly because of the defensive situation that Mac pointed out. Their flavor of the week (given the way the NFL has bounced this year, probably a reasonable way to think) is San Diego and in no small measure because of what the Chargers did to Indianapolis.

I'll pass. I have never seen Philip Rivers as a big-game quarterback, whether for reasons of temperament or raw ability, and if there is a team more capable than the Chargers of spitting the bit at the finish line, I'm not seeing it.

San Diego is streaking right now, winning four straight. Great. San Diego always streaks sometime. New England has quietly won three straight, including wins over Indianapolis and by double-digits at Pittsburgh. Oh, and the Patriots went out to San Diego and beat the Chargers, the last time San Diego lost.

Given the number of games that come down to quarterbacking, I take Tom Brady over Rivers any and every time.

Closer to home, the guys were talking about the 2010 version of Matt Forte and I think we're all on board with the thinking that this is unquestionably the best Forte has played as a pro. Spiegs made a point of how patient Forte has been this year with sweeps and how that suggests some strong confidence in his offensive line. Spot on: Forte has been able to get squared with the ball without facing penetrating D-linemen or linebackers before the point of attack and that traces, as good running invariably does, to his front five.

And it traces to Mike Martz, an offensive coordinator who has taken stock of what he has, allowed that talent (including Jay Cutler) to do what it does best, and the results were almost predictable.

Mac questioned how many more wins I reasonably foresaw for this team, particularly since my preseason call on the Bears was 10-6 or better. They're 8-3 right now and some quick projection math here:

They will win three more. The Bears will beat Detroit, either New England or the New York Jets, and either the Vikings or Green Bay Packers. That'll pop to 11-5 and a place in the playoffs.

We'll see. And we'll visit again next Thursday, same time, same station.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Watch: James Blackmon Jr.'s buzzer-beating 3 gives Indiana win after Penn State erases late deficit

james-blackmon-0118.jpg
USA TODAY

Watch: James Blackmon Jr.'s buzzer-beating 3 gives Indiana win after Penn State erases late deficit

Indiana's season has been pretty shaky so far, and the Hoosiers almost had one of their worst losses yet on Wednesday night.

Despite holding a game-high 14-point lead with nine and a half minutes left and a 13-point lead with five and a half minutes left, Indiana let Penn State battle all the way back in the closing moments. The Nittany Lions scored seven straight to cut the gap to just six with three minutes to play. The Hoosiers had an eight-point lead with a little more than a minute to play, but the Lions used an 8-0 run to tie the game on a pair of Lamar Stevens free throws with four seconds to go.

That's when James Blackmon Jr. played hero, preventing Indiana from dropping to 2-4 in Big Ten play with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer that delivered a 78-75 win in Happy Valley.

Check it out:

The Hoosiers slipped away with a win despite an ugly final few minutes. After taking that 14-point lead with 9:19 left in the game, Indiana was outscored 22-11 the rest of the way.

The Hoosiers truned the ball over 17 times on the evening, leading to 17 points for the Lions.

But Blackmon's clutch triple was part of a big night. He scored 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists. Robert Johnson and Thomas Bryant each scored 17 points and hauled in seven and nine rebounds, respectively.

Tony Carr had a huge performance for Penn State, scoring a game-high 24 points. Shep Garner, who hit a 3-pointer in the final minute to cut it to a two-point game, finished with 15 points, and Payton Banks had 10 points in the loss.

This narrow escape isn't likely to alleviate any of the concerns anyone has about Indiana, which is now 13-6 overall and and 3-3 in the Big Ten. A win's a win, and the Hoosiers have two of them in a row. But there doesn't appear a surefire win left on Indiana's schedule, meaning every night will be a fight to stay on the right side of the NCAA tournament bubble, something we didn't think we'd be saying when the Hoosiers scored non-conference wins over Kansas and North Carolina.

Meanwhile, the upstart Penn State group is 11-8 overall and 3-3 in the league, Wednesday's defeat snapping an impressive two-game win streak with victories over Michigan State and Minnesota. Now comes the really hard part: back-to-back games at Purdue and at Wisconsin.

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

SportsTalk Live: David DeJesus discusses time spent with Joe Maddon, World Series criticism

"Be sexy."

That was one of two rules manager Joe Maddon told David DeJesus when the Tampa Bay Rays acquired him in 2013.

DeJesus appeared on SportsTalk Live on Wednesday to discuss his time spent with Maddon in Tampa Bay.

"Just be yourself out there," DeJesus said of Maddon when the Rays traded for him. "I want you to have fun and I want you to just have that ora of 'just don't worry, just go out there and play.' It kept the whole team loose."

DeJesus also shared his thoughts on Maddon's questionable managerial decisions in the World Series.

Hear that, and more, in the video above.