Dominant 'D' performance, 'teams' keep Texans in check

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Dominant 'D' performance, 'teams' keep Texans in check

Another dominant "D" performance, "teams" keep Texans in check

The Houston Texans came to Soldier Field averaging 29.6 points per game, second in the NFL. They left with a win on just 13 and a season-low 215 yardsbecause of individual and collective performances in all position groups.

Houston wide receiver Andre Johnson had three catches in the first quarter, one in the second and none in the second half. Running back Arian Foster had 85 yards in the first half, 17 in the second. The Bears had eight tackles for loss, sacked unsackable Matt Schaub and kept the Bears in a game that the offense was unable to be part of.

DEFENSIVE LINE A-

Against one of the most proficient offenses in the NFL, the front Julius Peppers collected a fourth-quarter sack of Schaub, only the 11th time all year he has been sacked. Peppers, Henry Melton, Nate Collins and Israel Idonije all had at least one tackle for loss. Melton had six tackles total, Idonije five and Peppers four.

Corey Wootton, who had a quarterback hit, played heavy minutes with Shea McClellin gone after one series with a concussion.

LINEBACKERS A-

Brian Urlachers tackle for loss late in the second quarter and quick call for time out gave a chance for a last Bears possession of a very bad half. His pursuit on wide plays was in the style of his early years and had a second tackle for loss among his team-high eight tackles, seven solo.

Lance Briggs (four tackles) and Nick Roach (two) were instrumental in controlling Foster, maintaining gap integrity and picking through Houstons zone blocking to disrupt run plays. Roach played 84 percent of the snaps, with the Texans using an extra lineman in a number of base offense packages and limited use of nickel groups, and added 16 special teams plays.

SECONDARY A

The Bears locked down on Andre Johnson as the game went on zero catches in the second half. Schaub missed on only eight of his passes: two were Tim Jennings interceptions and five were broken up by the two corners

Jennings saved the Bears from a first-half rout with two interceptions, giving him a Pro Bowl eight (never hurts to do that on the national NBC game).

Charles Tillman had six solo tackles and two pass breakups, while Jennings added three breakups to his INTs.

Major Wright had five solo tackles, one for loss, and Chris Conte had four.

COACHING A

Personnel groupings and matchups were adjusted well on the fly against a balanced offense with firepower in both run and pass. Adjustments were made in run defense and the coverage on Johnson varied enough to take him out of the game in the second half.

SPECIAL TEAMS

A one-score game was one return away from being evened but Houston was able to prevent Devin Hester from getting loose. Coverage units allowed the Texans little field position, the second half beginning with Houston starting at its 3-, 16- and 11-yard lines.

KICKING B

Robbie Gould gave the Bears a big boost with a 51-yard field goal in the second quarter when the offense was doing little with the turnovers from Tim Jennings. He added another from 24 yards but hit the left upright from 48 yards early in the fourth quarter. A creditable performance with horrendous footing because of rain.

Adam Podlesh punted five times for a 38.8-yard average, placing two inside the 20.

COVERAGE A-

The Texans had zero return yardage on the five Podlesh punts. Keyshawn Martin returned three kickoffs for an average of 22 yards, none longer than 23 yards. Zackary Bowman forced a fumble that was recovered by Blake Costanzo but overturned on booth review.

RETURNS B

Devin Hester provided a spark (wasted by a subsequent turnover) with a 24-yard return of Houstons punt after a three-and-out. The Texans allowed him just seven yards on two other returns and kicked away from him to blunt that threat.

COACHING A-

Houstons return game was controlled with no runback longer than the 23 yards on Martins one kickoff return. The Texans schemed to stop Hester.

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

6'4" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

3,532 YDS, 62.0 CMP%, 27 TD, 7 INT, 150.3 QBR

Projection:

Third/Fourth round

Scouting Report:

"Groomed to be a quarterback from an early age, Kaaya flashes the mechanics and intelligence of a player who has spent hours in quarterback camps. However, he can be too mechanical and thinks too much rather than just flowing and responding to what the field offers him. Kaaya could have used another year of college, but he has the tools and intangibles to become an NFL starter. While he can work around his average arm strength, he must improve his accuracy and anticipation if he is to make a mark in the NFL." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles