Special teams score, dominate Titans

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Special teams score, dominate Titans

NASHVILLE Bears special teams players are holding each other down and fighting among themselves.

Exactly the kinds of things their coaches want.

First there was defensive end Corey Wootton, picking up a Tennessee Titans blocked by former Northwestern teammate Sherrick McManis, and charging five yards into the end zone for the first Chicago touchdown in Sundays 51-20 rout of the Tennessee Titans.

It was Woottons first touchdown since high school and he was ready to dust off some moves with a touchdown dance. But something someone -- was holding him down.

I was trying to get a dance but Anthony Walters jumped on my back so I carried him for about 10 yards in the end zone, so I wasnt able to get one, Wootton said, laughing.

I told him we should celebrate as a team, Walters claimed.

Woottons last score came on an intercepted pass in high school. That one he had to tote that one 40 yards to score so this one was easier, Wooton said. It was a heck of a play by Sherrick so a little bit of a Northwestern connection there.

Players said coordinator Dave Toub and staff had scouted Tennessee protections perfectly and when the Titans showed this look, the Bears attacked.

And they attacked particularly against what was one of the better kick returners in the AFC. So confident were the Bears that they were talking trash to the Titans, hoping to goad them into trying to run kicks back.

Tennessee kick returner Darius Reynaud was averaging 25.8 yards per runback, which the Bears took as a special challenge. Usually a touchback and forced starting position at the 20 is a good thing. The Bears wanted Reynaud to try them.

He did seven returns, modest 20.7 yards average, none longer than 32 yards.

We knew he likes to bring the ball out from wherever so we had a plan for that, Walters said, adding that it fueled what is becoming a standard competition within the coverage team.

We try to beat each other to the tackles. We have lane integrity but we argue about who had this tackle or that one. You should hear us in the film room.

Fire continue road trip Wednesday at improved Seattle on CSN

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Fire continue road trip Wednesday at improved Seattle on CSN

One team is playing as well as it has all season and is closing in on a playoff spot. The other team is facing the possibility of elimination by the end of the night.

A hot Seattle Sounders team hosts the struggling Chicago Fire on Wednesday on CSN. Coverage begins at 9:30 p.m.

Seattle (11-13-5, 38 points) is 5-1-2 in its past eight matches. The Sounders have been boosted by the arrival of Argentine playmaker Nicolas Lodeiro and likely Rookie of the Year winner Jordan Morris has been red-hot. Lodeiro has three goals and eight assists in nine matches. Morris is up to 12 goals on the season after scoring four in the past four games.

“Of course we are very, very careful with their transition with guys like Morris up in front,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said. “They can be very dangerous in attack.”

[SHOP: Pick up a Fire home jersey here]

The Fire played at New York City FC on Friday. The team returned to Chicago before making the trip to the Pacific Northwest. All that travel in a short period of time plus facing a surging team in front of a big crowd at CenturyLink Field is not a good recipe for success for the Fire.

While the Sounders are closing in on the playoffs — they sit three points back of sixth-place Portland but have two games in hand — the Fire (6-14-9, 27 points) are trying to get out of last place. The Fire are five points below the closest teams in the standings, Columbus and Houston. If Montreal beats San Jose and D.C. defeats Columbus, both games that will finish before kickoff Wednesday in Seattle, the Fire would need to get at least a tie to avoid being eliminated from playoff contention.

Despite the long odds to make the playoffs, Paunovic says motivation is not a problem.

“That’s part of our job, keep them motivated and work on that,” Paunovic said. “So far because of their commitment, I think that was easier to do. We of course have to continue doing that. The team is already addressed on that.

“We have the responsibility for ourselves. We have the responsibility for our profession and we have a responsibility for our supporters.”

The Fire arrived in Seattle without goalkeeper Matt Lampson, who is out for the second straight game with a toe injury. Lampson hasn’t started in MLS play since Aug. 6. The only other injury listed by the club is John Goossens, who has missed the past two matches with a back injury. Goossens is questionable.

The big news out of Seattle is that Clint Dempsey’s irregular heartbeat, which has kept him out of the past five matches, has ended his 2016 season early. Dempsey’s loss is massive, but Seattle still has plenty of talent for the Fire to worry about.

“They like to keep the possession, especially in the opponent’s half,” Paunovic said of the Sounders. “They have very quality players in the final third. Since the coming of Lodeiro I think the team improved very well. They look more confident and of course they have much better results. Playing at home I think they have very good support and they feel more confident, but they are a team that is not unbeatable. They also had early in the season their issues and there are some weaknesses we can say that we detected and we are going to try to take advantage of.”

Chicago Fire at Seattle Sounders

When: 9:30 p.m. Wednesday

TV: CSN

Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle

Bears make Joique Bell, CJ Wilson signings official, send Kyle Fuller to IR

Bears make Joique Bell, CJ Wilson signings official, send Kyle Fuller to IR

With injuries all over the place, the Bears had a bevy of roster moves to announce on Tuesday night.

The most notable of those were the signings of running back Joique Bell and defensive lineman CJ Wilson, as well as moving injured defensive back Kyle Fuller to injured reserve.

Bell is a five-year NFL veteran whose played in 68 games in his career, most recently over the course of four seasons with the Detroit Lions from 2012 to 2015. In his career, he's rushed for 2,234 yards and 22 touchdowns on 561 attempts.

Wilson has spent the past six seasons in the NFL and has played for Bears division rivals the Green Bay Packers and the Lions, as well as the Oakland Raiders. He's played in 78 games in his career, contributing 111 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery.

Fuller hasn't appeared in any of the Bears first three games after appearing in 32 games over his first two NFL seasons.

Additionally, the Bears announced that linebacker John Timu has been elevated to the active roster and that linebacker Jonathan Anderson and tight end Greg Scruggs have been waived.