Report card reflects Bears defensive gem vs. Detroit

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Report card reflects Bears defensive gem vs. Detroit

The defense allowed the Lions 91 total yards and zero points in the first half, of some significance given Detroits average of 25.2 points and nearly 420 yards per game. Detroit finished with 340 yards total but much of it was late and with the Bears playing to protect a 13-0 lead until the final minute.

Detroits game plan was curious: 52 pass plays, 15 run plays, despite running backs averaging more than five yards per carry. And the Bears were effectively neutralizing the Lions biggest offensive weapon.

DEFENSIVE LINE A-

Julius Peppers overran left tackle Jeff Backus for a first-quarter sack and came out of a second-quarter scrum with a fumble recovery to end a Lions scoring threat. Detroit tried to establish the run with Mikel Leshoure but the front left few gaps for yardage. Shea McClellin and Stephen Paea shared a second-quarter sack.

Henry Meltons forced fumble by Joique Bell at the Chicago one turned back a third-quarter Lions scoring threat. Israel Idonijes sack of Matthew Stafford in the final minute was a 19-yard loss. The line finished with six additional hits on Stafford.

LINEBACKERS A

Lance Briggs ended a Detroit second-quarter drive with a pass deflection and topped that on a crucial subsequent possession inside the Chicago 25 with a forced fumble. Brian Urlacher grabbed a Detroit fumble inside the Chicago 1 and was active in coverage with two pass breakups and a tackle for loss. Briggs had eight tackles and Urlacher seven, six of them solo. Nick Roach saw little action with the Bears playing predominantly nickel for the game.

SECONDARY A

Charles Tillman spent much of his evening shadowing Calvin Johnson and shut the Lions linchpin in the first half when Detroit netted 43 passing yards. Johnson was targeted three times with no catches in the half. He finished with just three receptions on the 11 passes thrown to him, and no touchdowns. Tillman broke up a throw to Johnson in the end zone and the Bears recovered a Detroit fumble a play later.

D.J. Moore ended a scoring threat with his second interception of the season while sharing nickel duty with Kelvin Hayden. Tim Jennings led the Bears with nine tackles.

Chris Conte and Major Wright delivered effective blitzes without getting a sack but pressuring Stafford. Each had a near interception and Conte was credited with six solo tackles.

COACHING A

The defense used occasional blitzes for pressure on Stafford and personnel shuffling confused the Detroit offense, including Johnson. The defensive line rotation was using a different foursome almost every play at times and the scheme forced the Lions to become impatient, leading to three red-zone turnovers.

White Sox offense can't stay hot in loss to A's

White Sox offense can't stay hot in loss to A's

A day after having quite the offensive party, the White Sox didn’t save any production for Friday.

The White Sox couldn’t muster any offense in a 3-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics in their series opener at Guaranteed Rate Field in front of 25,370 fans.

After recording 18 hits in Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, the White Sox were held to just seven on Friday, but it felt like fewer. They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.

Mike Pelfrey, who fell to 3-6 on the season, took a step back after delivering a strong performance in his last outing against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old struggled with his command against the A’s all night. He pitched 4 2/3 innings and issued five walks. Pelfrey also allowed all three runs on four hits and two homers.

The A’s got on the board early with a two-run shot to center field by Khris Davis. In the fifth, Pelfrey allowed another homer, a solo shot, to Matt Joyce to make it 3-0.

The White Sox bullpen staved off any further production and combined for 4 1/3 shutout innings between four relievers. But they weren’t able to generate any of their own.

Not even ejections from Tim Anderson and Rick Renteria could spark a cold offense.

The White Sox best chance came in the bottom of the ninth, where Melky Cabrera and Jose Abreu opened with back-to-back singles. After an Avisail Garcia flyout, Todd Frazier popped one over A’s first baseman Yonder Alonso, but Abreu was thrown out at second. Matt Davidson flew out to center field at the warning track to end the game.

Friday marked the start of a season-long 10-game homestand, somewhere the White Sox were happy to be after playing 15 of their last 19 on the road.

Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly

Together again: Toews, Saad expect chemistry to return quickly

Brandon Saad talked to plenty of people after he was traded back to the Blackhawks. Some were now ex-teammates from the Columbus Blue Jackets. Others, soon-to-be-teammates again from the Blackhawks.

One of the first people he talked to on Friday? Jonathan Toews.

“He’s someone I talked to shortly after it happened. He’s a guy I’ve always kept in touch with, great friend,” Saad said. “To be reunited, getting that chance to play with him again, he’s an incredible player and his resume speaks for itself. I look forward to trying to rekindle that.”

The two didn’t lose touch the past two years. Now that they’ll be reunited on the ice, they hope they didn’t lose the chemistry either. Saad and Toews formed a great combination a few years ago, a steadiness that’s been missing from the top line, especially at left wing, ever since. With Saad’s return, however, the Blackhawks are looking to get that top line consistent again.

[MORE: Blackhawks trade back, select Henri Jokiharju at No. 29

Toews was at the NHL Draft on Friday night, announcing the Blackhawks’ first-round pick with Patrick Kane. The thought of getting Saad back on his left wing was appealing.

“Well there’s no doubt getting an old teammate, an old friend back, another guy who shared that same bond, friendship and having the experience of winning a Cup together with Saader. I guess there’s some reconciliation because you know what you’re getting,” Toews said. “You know what type of guy he is and how he’s going to fit into the locker room and what he’s going to bring.”

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said via conference call today that, while Toews and Saad had great chemistry the first time around, Saad could fit with others. It all depends on what works best.

“That’s up to Joel [Quenneville] on where he wants to use him,” Bowman said. “No doubt they had tremendous chemistry; he found a home on Jonathan’s left wing. But the one thing I’m trying to stress to everyone, even internally, is we don’t want to look backward and replicate some old formula. He’s had great success with Jonathan and if they go back to that, great.”

Toews and Saad found their niche together pretty quickly the first time around. It’s only been two years since Saad departed, so finding that chemistry again shouldn’t take long at all.

“I don’t think so,” Toews said of chemistry taking long to rekindle. “You play at that caliber you just worry about your own game. Go out there and have fun. be prepared, be ready to roll and it shouldn’t take long for things to happen out there.”