Odds and end zones from Bears-Texans


Odds and end zones from Bears-Texans

Pro Bowl=ing

No rooting interest here, but Tim Jennings (eight interceptions) and Charles Tillman (defensive player of the year candidate) should become the first pair of cornerbacks in Bears franchise history to make the Pro Bowl in the same year unless Pro Bowl balloting is tabulated in Florida.

Jennings picked of Houston quarterback Matt Schaub twice and in a national, prime-time game the same venue in which Tillman performed his shut-down of Detroit wideout Calvin Johnson and in which Tillman returned an interception for a TD against the Dallas Cowboys.

Schaub missed on only eight passes against the Bears. Jennings intercepted two and broke up three. Tillman broke up two. (No word on what became of the eighth non-completion.)

Both had a hand in Andre Johnson making three receptions in the first quarter, one in the second and zero in the second half with Schaub only targeting him twice.

Film review

Credit linebacker Nick Roach with one of the unsung impact performances for the Bears defense. The strong-side linebacker is typically pulled in favor of a third cornerback when opponents go a nickel receiver package and sees fewer snaps because of it.

But Houston went with backup tackle Ryan Harris on the edge of a Jumbo package for nearly 25 percent of the snaps, keeping Roach on the field.

Roach finished playing 53 of the Texans 62 snaps (84 percent). That was part of a defensive effort that saw running back Arian Foster net 85 yards in the first half but 17 in the second.

Insult injury = ?

If safety Chris Conte received a 21,750 fine for what the league considered a helmet-to-helmet hit in the Carolina game, the bidding starts at 25,000 for what Houston linebacker Tim Dobbins did to quarterback Jay Cutler.

But on top of the clearly premeditated blow leading with the crown of Dobbins helmet to Cutlers head, Dobbins jaw-dropping belligerent comment that Cutler ran into me said to CSNChicago.coms Jake Flannigan will not help his case. Insulting intelligence is never a big hit with those charged with dispensing accountability and Dobbins insulted the intelligence of anyone within earshot.

That or this was indeed the first case of the nail head-butting the hammer.

Badgers' leading tackler Jack Cichy out for rest of season


Badgers' leading tackler Jack Cichy out for rest of season

Wisconsin trails Nebraska by two in the loss column in the Big Ten West Division standings and has a huge showdown with the top-10 Huskers on Saturday night in Madison.

But the road to Indy just got a little tougher, the Badgers announcing Monday that leading tackler Jack Cichy will miss the remainder of the season with a torn pectoral muscle.

Cichy had 60 tackles on the campaign as part of a world-class Wisconsin defense that ranks fourth in the country in scoring (14.3 points allowed a game) and ninth in yardage (300.6 yards allowed a game). His seven tackles for loss rank second on the team, and his 1.5 sacks rank third. He also forced a pair of fumbles in his seven games.

The Badgers have been plagued by injuries in the linebacking corps this season. Cichy's season-ending injury is the second that unit has experienced this year, as Chris Orr was knocked out for the year following an injury in the season-opening win over LSU. T.J. Edwards has been working his way back to full strength after suffering a foot injury this summer. And Vince Biegel missed a couple games with injury but returned to the lineup this past weekend, registering one tackle in the win over Iowa.

The Badgers, ranked 11th in the most recent AP poll, play host to the No. 7 Huskers on Saturday night at Camp Randall Stadium.

Northwestern defensive back Matthew Harris opts to retire from football


Northwestern defensive back Matthew Harris opts to retire from football

Northwestern defensive back Matthew Harris has decided to end his football career, the team announced Monday.

Injured in the second game of the season, the senior Wildcat was still in the concussion protocol as of last week when he made the decision, and has suffered multiple injuries that have knocked him out of games throughout his time in Evanston.

“This is an incredibly difficult decision to reach, but it is the right one for me and for my future,” Harris said in the announcement. "I'm so thankful for (head coach Pat) Fitzgerald, (defensive backs coach Jerry) Brown and the rest of the staff that brought me to Northwestern and have mentored me over the last several years.

“My teammates are like brothers, and while not being on the field with them has been frustrating and challenging, I'm so proud of the group and what we've helped build together. I owe thanks to our athletic training and sports medicine staffs, whose care throughout my Wildcats career has been outstanding.

“Finally and most importantly, I can never appropriately express the love and gratitude I have for my family, which has supported me on every step of this journey and will continue to for years to come.

“There are few things I love more than playing the game of football, and the game has provided me with so many opportunities, including the chance to attend this university. It has been a blessing to be a part of this community and learn so many lessons. Northwestern has given me so much, I look forward to taking full advantage of my chance to give back to the world around me in the future.”

A team captain this season, Harris was a stellar player, earning All-Big Ten honors last season. In his career, he recorded 161 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions and three forced fumbles in 37 games.

Harris, a native of La Grange Highlands and product of Lyons Township High School, earned praise from Fitzgerald and his teammates Monday, who talked glowingly about his character and involvement in the community, as well as his involvement in Northwestern and Big Ten athletics. This past summer, he created a multi-day program for underprivileged young men in Evanston. Harris is also one of the heads of Northwestern’s student-athlete advisory committee and serves on the Big Ten’s student-athlete advisory committee.

“It’s been a long road for Matthew from a standpoint of injuries,” Fitzgerald said during his weekly press conference Monday. “As we sat there and looked at not only the right now, but I talked to him and said, ‘I want to think about what it’s going to be like to be 42. Put yourself in my shoes and have three kids. Where do you want your life to be not knowing a lot but what you can control?’ And so I think he put great thought into it. I know he’s a man of faith, and I think he put his trust in that and relied heavily upon his family and our doctors. I fully support his decision. I think it’s the right thing for the short term and long term.

“Very thankful for what Matthew brought to our program. A young man that from the minute he stepped into our program was an instant impact as far as a person. Just a terrific, terrific young man, a great attitude, an amazing work ethic. And then his play speaks for itself. He was such a great teammate, giving of himself for everyone on the squad. The team gave him a standing ovation this morning when he announced it to the team, which I think shows you the impact that Matthew not only has had on our team but will continue to have on our team.

“He’s in great spirits. He actually made the decision last week. He didn’t want to have a distraction from the team late in the week. That just shows you who he is. He’s a special guy.”