A blocked punt and accompanying score is a good way to start any game. The Bears did that with Sherrick McManis block and Corey Woottons score off that and never let the Titans into the game. Coverage units were well prepared and the group mindset was reaching the point that the kickoff team was hoping the Titans would try to run back Robbie Gould kicks.
Robbie Gould converted all three field goal tries, from 40, 21 and 22, when the offense was not able to get into the end zone. Gould also forced four touchbacks from a returner (Dariius Reynaud) who routinely brings kicks out from deep in his end zone. Adam Podlesh was serviceable with a 31.7 net on three punts, one inside the 20, and he added a stop on a return.
The first-quarter punt block by Sherrick McManis was taken in for a TD by Corey Wootton to put the Titans immediately on their heels at a time when the offense was having real difficulty getting anything underway on the first two possessions. Devin Hester broke a punt return for 44 yards, his longest of any kind this season, and he brought his one kickoff back 26 yards.
Reynaud returned seven kickoffs for a modest 20.7-yard average (vs. 25.8, one TD for the season) as Bears cover teamers made a mission out of getting to him and expecting him to return anything not kicked out of the end zone. Blake Costanzo, Sherrick McManis and Anthony Walters each was in on two tackles and Podlesh, Armando Allen and Eric Weems each had one.
Coordinator Dave Toub had the Bears thoroughly prepared for the Tennessee formation on the punt blockTD. He also challenged the coverage units all week to deal with one of the top-ranked special-teams group in the NFL and had assignments established without dialing down any of the energy needed to take away Reynaud.
What a night for Kris Bryant.
The Cubs' second-year third baseman had one of the biggest offensive nights in club history Monday, going 5-for-5 with a trio of home runs, a pair of doubles, six RBIs and four runs scored. That's a whopping 16 total bases.
Some of the crazier facts from CSN stats guru Chris Kamka.
The Cubs had a fun fact of their own (with visual aide):
And this one from the Reds might be the most impressive of all:
We said it before, but it's worth repeating: What a night for Kris Bryant.
CINCINNATI — Kris Bryant became the first major leaguer to hit three homers and two doubles in a game, and Jake Arrieta added a solo shot in the ballpark where he threw a no-hitter in April, leading the Cubs to an 11-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Monday night.
The Cubs pulled out of their 1-6 slide behind a tandem that's had some historic moments in Cincinnati.
Arrieta (12-2) threw his second career no-hitter on April 21 during a 16-0 win over the Reds. Bryant led the way with a pair of homers in that game, including a grand slam that gave him a career-high six RBIs.
Arrieta struggled in his return to Cincinnati, giving up a season-high five runs in five innings, but Bryant drove in six runs again to help the right-hander pull through. Bryant's 16 total bases were a Cubs record, and his five hits marked a career high.
by Jonathan Joffe
Derrick Rose has a new fan now that he's in New York: Carmelo Anthony.
Rose's new teammate and fellow multi-time all-star is a happy to be teaming up with the former Bull.
In addition to complimenting Rose's game, Anthony applauded the Knicks' front office for making moves that allow the team to be competitive in the upcoming season.
It was once thought that Melo and D-Rose could sport the same uniform aside from Olympic competitions. While it won't be in Chicago, the two will be making that thought a reality in New York.