Whether fatigue played a factor, Bears' D failed to deliver


Whether fatigue played a factor, Bears' D failed to deliver

The Bears were euphoric when Robbie Goulds 46-yard field goal sent their game against the Seattle Seahawks into overtime on Sunday.

But one lost coin toss later, it was bad news: the Bears defense, which was showing signs of fatigue after giving up a late fourth-quarter touchdown, was going right back out there. And the Seahawks took advantage of it.

The Seahawks methodical overtime drive got the best of the Bears, as they went 80 yards in a lengthy seven minutes and 27 seconds en route to their 23-17 victory. The Bears defense has been tough all season. But they spent a lot of time on the field Sunday, especially down the stretch, and it hurt them.

Fatigue plays in when you dont get off on third downs and then you dont get off on fourth downs, coach Lovie Smith said. It could be early in the game if you dont get off on third downs. Youre going to see it later on. Youve got to be able to reach down. Thats what weve done in those situations; make a play and get off the field.

But that didnt happen on Sunday. The Seahawks converted 8 of 15 third downs, including 3 for 5 in the second quarter and 3 for 3 in overtime. They also converted their only fourth-down attempt. And the Bears couldnt stymie Seattles lengthy marches downfield. The Seahawks had five drives of eight plays or more on Sunday, and three of those ended with touchdowns.

Fast forward to the end, when Seattle scored late in the fourth and then in overtime. Outside of the Bears 24-second drive that led to Goulds field goal, the Bears defense was on the field for 10 minutes, 43 seconds of the final 11:07 of the game.

But defensive back Kelvin Hayden wasnt into the fatigue excuse.

I think we just didnt make any plays, he said. The name of the game is to make plays and we didnt. Weve just got to get back to the drawing board, work on getting takeaways and move forward.

Defensive tackle Henry Melton agreed.

Some of those third downs, we definitely shouldve gotten off the field and put it back into our offenses hands to win the game for us. We just couldnt do it, Melton said. There were just plays we shouldve made. You just cant get those back.

The Bears also struggled to stop Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. The University of Wisconsin product had a stellar day, throwing for 293 yards and rushing for 71 more. His smarts and speed kept several Seattle drives alive.

After the fourth quarter, in the overtime they were leaving chips in. They were chipping inside and he would just scramble outside, Melton said. We shouldnt have let him out. We need to keep that edge. Weve been working on that all week, we knew he was going to do it. We just let him out.

The Bears defense may have been wearing down at the end. Whether it was fatigue, missed tackles or not making plays, the end result was the same. This one stung.

We knew what we were supposed to do. We just didnt execute the plan, Melton said. Nothing more to say about it. It just hurts.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Toews still out, Bulls pull out win over Spurs


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Toews still out, Bulls pull out win over Spurs

In the latest SportsTalk Live Podcast, Mark Grote (670 The Score) and Mark Carman (WGN Radio) join Kap on the panel. Jonathan Toews is still not back at practice. Is it time to panic?

Meanwhile, the Bulls beat the Spurs. And Rajon Rondo compliments the coaches? Is all well in Bulls-town?

Plus, Dexter Fowler is Cardinal. Should Cubs fans be angry?

And finally, is it good idea for Jordan Howard to get the ball less for the rest of the season?

Check out the SportsTalk Live Podcast below: 

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

Lucas Giolito striving to contribute to White Sox 'as soon as possible'

At one point, it was looking like Lucas Giolito could be headed to the White Sox in exchange for Chris Sale.

But when Sale was dealt to the Boston Red Sox, Giolito's name was in the clear of rumors — until 29 hours later, when the Nationals' top prospect would be headed to Chicago in a different trade, which sent outfielder Adam Eaton to Washington.

“It’s kind of like the world we live in now. Social media is always out there and everything is on Twitter,” Giolito said in a conference call Friday. “I saw my name being mentioned on Twitter for Chris Sale. I know with the winter meetings all sorts of stuff being thrown around. I was just trying to focus on what I’m doing in this offseason which is lifting and all my workouts. Kind of just whatever happens, happens. 

“It’s funny that Sale ended up going to the Red Sox and something else happens that I’m going to the White Sox now with a couple teammates. It’s really interesting stuff but I’m super excited.”

The move for Rick Hahn & Co. to acquire Giolito was the second major trade to begin the White Sox rebuilding process. But Giolito didn't come alone.

In addition, the White Sox received Reynaldo Lopez — who Giolito has played with since 2014 — and the Nationals' 2016 first-round pick Dane Dunning.

"I definitely think it’s amazing to be coming over to the White Sox with a bunch of young talent," Giolito said. "I think it’s a great opportunity for us to all develop and get better and hopefully put a really good team together in Chicago. Definitely excited to be coming over with a couple guys from my previous organization."

[MORE: Rick Hahn, White Sox prepared to make more 'painful decisions' if the price is right]

Giolito went 6-5 with a 2.97 ERA and 1.28 WHIP across three minor-league levels this past season. He admitted his mechanics weren't quite in sync and is looking to improve on that.

"Sometimes things get out of whack. I believe I let too much get out of whack last year," Giolito said. "So this year with my training program I have in this offseason — lifting and Pilates and everything — I’m just trying to make sure that I can stay as athletic as possible so I’m able to repeat the right delivery more often. Once I start playing catch and doing bullpens and everything these next few weeks, right before spring training, I’m going to make sure I put that all together so I can repeat my delivery as best as possible."

His struggles continued when he got to The Show.

In his major-league debut on June 28, Giolito held the New York Mets to just one hit over four scoreless innings before a rain delay cut his night short. That turned out to be his most effective outing of the season as he finished the year with an 0-1 record, 6.75 ERA and 1.78 WHIP in six games with the Nationals, four of them being starts.

"(My MLB debut) didn’t go as well as I would’ve liked it to go, obviously, as you look at the numbers and everything," he said, "but I feel that with the White Sox now (and) getting traded and everything, it’s kind of like a fresh opportunity and a new start to get up to the big leagues again and contribute and do everything I can to stay there as well."

[SHOP: Gear up, White Sox fans!]

Despite his low numbers, the 22-year-old Giolito believes he's ready to play on the White Sox main roster as soon as next season.

"I’ve had some experience in the big leagues last year," Giolito said. "Especially last year, I took a lot positives away because I did experience such a good amount of failure in a lot of I’d say like hardship when I made it up and didn’t perform up to what I believe is my best capabilities.

"I’ve pitched a good amount of innings in the minor leagues and I’ve had a little experience in the big leagues so I’m just really looking forward to making it up in the big leagues with the White Sox and contributing as soon as possible."