Odds and end zones from Bears-Texans

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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.

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Fast Break Morning Update: Scott Darling leads Blackhawks to win over Blues

Here are the top Chicago sports stories from Sunday:

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

White Sox pitchers headed for World Baseball Classic look sharp in win over Rockies

What if… Cubs GM Jed Hoyer’s takeaways from epic World Series Game 7

Quick hits: Blackhawks start strong in win over Blues

Illini keep NCAA tournament hopes afloat with dominant win over Nebraska

White Sox: Happy with progress, Brett Lawrie tries to clear final hurdles

How Indians regrouped and reloaded after losing unforgettable Game 7 to Cubs

Jim Thome: Getting into baseball Hall of Fame would be indescribable

Kurt Busch steals a monster of a win in Daytona 500

Michigan State gets big win to boost tourney hopes, while Wisconsin loses for fourth time in five games

 

 

 

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling shines in fill-in duty as Blackhawks break late tie to best rival Blues

Scott Darling found out at 8 o'clock this morning that he was starting for an ailing Corey Crawford. Considering he did this back in December for a few weeks, adjusting quick for one game was fine.

"It's kind of my job," Darling said.

And Darling, once again, did his job.

Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots and Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 on Sunday night. The Blackhawks have won nine of their last 10 games. They're one point behind the Minnesota Wild, who made their splashy trade-deadline move in acquiring Martin Hanzal on Sunday. But the Blackhawks, thanks to veterans regaining their form, a top line finding its rhythm and youth consistently improving, are just rolling right along.

"We had a great start to the game. I thought Darls was excellent all night, great stretch there in the last 10 minutes where we fight through some tough shifts, particularly in the last couple of minutes in our end. But good win," coach Joel Quenneville said. "You look at the nice plays on the goals, it was kind of a comparable ending to the outdoor game: tied and about the same time they scored, we scored (tonight). Big two points for us."

Jonathan Toews scored his 16th of the season and Artem Anisimov scored the game-winning goal with 5:20 remaining in regulation. Tanner Kero added an empty-net goal with 2.6 seconds remaining in the game.

The Blackhawks already knew they'd be without Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) for at least a day or two when they found out Crawford couldn't go this morning. As Quenneville said Darling was strong once again, denying the Blues all but twice (a 2-on-1 goal from Magnus Paajarvi and a power-play goal from Alex Pietrangelo).

Toews and Kane (power-play goal) staked the Blackhawks to a 2-0 lead early before the Blues tied it in the second. But late in the third period Anisimov took the feed from Artemi Panarin to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 lead.

"I saw the puck all the way. It was easy to pick up," Anisimov said. "When you don't see the puck at the last moment and it comes, it's hard to receive and prepare for the next move. But I saw it all the way. Easy to prepare for the next move."

Speaking of next moves, do the Blackhawks make any more before the trade deadline. General manager Stan Bowman said on Friday, following the acquisition of Tomas Jurco, that he'll keep talking and listening but likes the group he has right now. If Bowman's made moves it's for what the Blackhawks have needed, not because of another team's trades. The Blackhawks like what they have right now. Winning nine of 10 and continuing to trend in the right direction, they should be careful not to disrupt what they've got going.

"I think we're, as we've said lately, trending the right way. We're playing solid. I think all four lines are contributing in every which way," Toews said. "I love our group right now. Everyone is getting better individually, contributing more and more and it's a lot of fun to see the way we're playing right now. We know that the ceiling is way higher and we can keep getting better too."