It was hard to tell what Charles Tillman was doing. He ran off the field. He ran back on. He looked confused. Precisely.
It was hard to tell what Charles Tillman was doing.
He ran off the field. He ran back on. He looked confused.
The Chicago Bears trailed the Denver Broncos 34-20 midway through the fourth quarter when Denver's Todd Sauerbrun went back to punt.
"There was miscommunication at times," Tillman said. "We faked 'em out a little bit."
Precisely, just as the play was designed.
"I was supposed to be on the field, but it's hard to do two punt returns in a row when you're on defense all the time," Tillman said. "I ran off field and (long-snapper) Patrick Mannelly said it's corner roll, so I had to sprint all way to the other end."
He told himself, "'Not tired. Not tired. Block it.'"
Precisely what happened. That set up Adrian Peterson's 4-yard touchdown run that brought Chicago within a touchdown at 34-27 with 5:17 remaining in regulation.
Chicago tied the game with 28 seconds left before winning 37-34 in overtime on a Robbie Gould field goal.
"That was a good set-up play by (special teams coach) David Toub and (assistant special teams coach) Kevin O’Dea to get Denver to think we were confused," head coach Lovie Smith said. "But all along, of course, Charles was going to blitz. Again, that was a good play and a good execution by our punt team."
Said Toub: "They're thinking he's coming off and all of sudden he comes running on the field. We got the alignment set and ran the play.
"We were just trying to make a play, and it all worked out for us."
Chicago had scored 74 points in the fourth quarter during the previous seven games -- after not scoring at all in the first three games this season.
Fourteen more points were added to the total in Sunday's come-from-behind effort.
Simply the best? Nah
Wideout Bernard Berrian didn't rate his game-tying touchdown grab with 28 seconds left in regulation as his best catch ever.
"It wasn't too hard of a catch," he said. "Keeping my feet from not slipping and falling on the surface was harder than anything else."
Big plays abound
Chicago began the weekend third in the NFL in 25-plus yard completions since Week 4 with 16, with Rex Grossman contributing four plays. The Bears waited until overtime to increase the number Sunday, when Grossman hit Desmond Clark for a 39-yard gain to launch the game-winning march.
Running back Cedric Benson went out for the day at 12:32 of the second quarter with an ankle injury after his long run of the day, a 21-yard burst.
"Whenever you don't finish a game, that's not good," Lovie Smith said. "He does have a pretty good ankle injury."
Brian Urlacher needed two tackles Sunday to reach 100 for the season and for the eighth straight year, and he finished with eight. Only Mike Singletary has more seasons (10) since the team officially started recording tackles in 1968.
Safety Gary Fencik also had eight seasons with 100 or more tackles.
Read on Rex
Grossman didn't do anything to help Chicago mount drives until the end of the day. He had passer ratings of 19.6, 36.8 and 29.5, respectively, after the first three quarters. He finished at 66.9 with a strong finish, concluding 17-of-33 for 193 yards, one TD and one pick.
Chicago leads the overall series 7-6, including 4-2 at home. ... The Bears are 10-5 under Lovie Smith in back-to-back, regular-season home games, including 10-3 in the last three years. ... Chicago is 3-1 against the AFC West this season. It's also 11 -5 at home to AFC West foes since 2000.
Kyle Orton returned to No. 3 quarterback, joining Nathan Vasher, Lousaka Polite, Nick Roach, Darrell McClover, Josh Beekman, Mike Hass and Antonio Garay as inactive. Ricky Manning Jr. started in Vasher's spot.
Sitting out for Denver were Darrell Hackney (third QB), Travis Henry, Selvin Young, Taylor Jacobs, Paul Smith, Jeff Shoate, Larry Birdine and Paul Carrington.
Reed Schreck is the NFL writer for the Rockford Register Star. Contact him at 815-987-1381 or firstname.lastname@example.org.