Nov 8, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA;  Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham (80) makes a touchdown catch as Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Jayon Brown (55) defends during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

Bears TE Jimmy Graham ‘unscathed’ after car crash

Chicago Bears tight end Jimmy Graham avoided injury after being involved in a car crash Thursday morning.

The 34-year-old Graham broke his own news while sharing details about the crash on his Twitter account.

“Just wanted to get ahead of this and tell everybody I’m fine,” Graham said. “Was in an accident this morning trying to avoid a disabled vehicle in the center lane. I walked away from it unscathed. Blessings.”

The post drew a quick response from Brandon Harris Sr., a former NFL defensive back who now serves as an assistant coach with Florida International. Harris said he drove past the crash along State Road 836 in the Miami area.

“Wow this is scary I actually saw this accident this morning on the 836 and thought that looked like you but couldn’t confirm,” Harris said. “Happy (you’re) good brother.”

Graham confirmed that it was him.

“Yea bro did all I could to avoid the people in the stopped car,” he said. “Wild.”

Graham, who starred in college with the Miami Hurricanes, has played 11 seasons in the NFL. He caught 50 passes for 456 yards and eight touchdowns last season with the Bears.

–Field Level Media

Dec 29, 2020; San Antonio, TX, USA; Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman is being interviewed during the first half against the Colorado Buffaloes at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Bears add ex-Texas coach Tom Herman to staff

The Chicago Bears added former Texas Longhorns head coach Tom Herman to their staff on Monday.

Herman’s title is “offensive analyst/special projects.”

Herman, 45, guided Texas to a 7-3 record in 2020 and a 32-18 record over four seasons.

He led the Longhorns to four straight bowl wins, including a 55-23 victory against Colorado in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio on Dec. 29.

Four days later, Herman was fired and replaced by former Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian.

Herman guided the Houston Cougars to a 22-4 record and two bowl appearances from 2015-16 before taking over in Austin. He also served as the offensive coordinator at Ohio State (2012-14), Iowa State (2009-11), Rice (2007-08) and Texas State (2005-06).

–Field Level Media

Nov 10, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; A detailed view of the Chicago Bears helmet before the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Bears interview Mike Singletary for DC

The Chicago Bears reportedly interviewed one of the best players in franchise history to be their defensive coordinator.

Hall of Fame Mike Singletary is among several candidates the Bears have interviewed to fill the vacancy left by Chuck Pagano, who retired last week, according to The Athletic.

Singletary, 62, has never been a defensive coordinator in the NFL. He hasn’t been on an NFL coaching staff since he was an assistant with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016.

Singletary’s most recent position on the professional level was as head coach of the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football in 2019. The team went 2-6.

In May 2020, Singletary resigned as the head coach of Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, Texas, after the team went 1-10 in 2018 and 0-11 in 2019.

Singletary’s other head-coaching experience was with the San Francisco 49ers. After being named interim coach in Week 8 of the 2008 season, he got the job permanently the following year and was let go after Week 16 of the 2010 season, finishing with an overall record of 18-22.

Before getting the top job in San Francisco, he was the 49ers’ linebackers coach and assistant head coach from 2005-08.

After leaving San Francisco, he was an assistant coach (linebackers) for the Minnesota Vikings under Leslie Frazier from 2011-13.

His first job as an NFL assistant was coaching linebackers for the Baltimore Ravens (2003-04).

As a player, Singletary spent his entire career with the Bears from 1981-92 after drafted in the second round of the 1981 draft out of Baylor. He broke into the starting lineup midway though his rookie season and became a dominant player, making 10 Pro Bowls and seven All-Pro teams.

He was a two-time AP Defensive Player of the Year and became a household name during the 1985 season. He headed one of the greatest units of all time, as the Bears’ top-ranked defense allowed just 10 points in three postseason games, all coming in a 46-10 win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.

The Bears also reportedly have interviewed Indianapolis Colts defensive backs coach Jonathan Gannon, former New York Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher, Bears defensive line coach Jay Rodgers and Bears safeties coach Sean Desai.

However, Rodgers is expected to join the Los Angeles Chargers, reuniting with new head coach Brandon Staley, who previously worked as outside linebackers coach for the Bears, according to the Chicago Tribune.

–Field Level Media

Jan 10, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the NFC Wild Card game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Saints smother Bears in wild-card win

Drew Brees threw two touchdown passes and the New Orleans defense dominated in a 21-9 victory over the visiting Chicago Bears in an NFC wild-card game on Sunday afternoon.

The NFC South champion Saints, who were 12-4 in the regular season, advance to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the divisional round next weekend. New Orleans won both regular-season meetings.

Brees completed 28 of 39 for 265 yards while Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky completed 19 of 29 for 199 yards.

The Bears, who finished the regular season 8-8 to claim the last wild card in the NFC, gained just 239 yards and 11 first downs, four of which came in the final two minutes.

The Saints welcomed back their top two offensive weapons — wide receiver Michael Thomas, who was activated off injured reserve, and running back Alvin Kamara, who scored six touchdowns on Christmas Day before being sidelined by testing positive for COVID-19.

But the Bears defense kept them and the New Orleans offense contained in the first half, which ended with the Saints holding a 7-3 lead.

On New Orleans’ first possession of the third quarter it put together an 85-yard drive that ended with Brees’ 6-yard touchdown pass to Latavius Murray.

Kamara ran three yards for a touchdown to give the Saints a 21-3 lead with 8:50 remaining.

Trubisky threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham as time expired.

Brees connected with Thomas three times on the Saints’ first two possessions, the third completion being an 11-yard touchdown that gave New Orleans a 7-0 lead that stood at the end of the first quarter.

The Bears were in scoring range, but they passed on a field-goal attempt on fourth-and-4 at the Saints 34 and Trubisky was stopped after scrambling for a two-yard gain.

New Orleans missed a scoring opportunity of its own when Wil Lutz was wide right on a 50-yard field-goal attempt.

John Jenkins recovered a fumble by Taysom Hill at the Saints 24, leading to Cairo Santos’ 36-yard field goal that cut the lead to 7-3 with 8:06 left in the first half.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) is sacked by New Orleans Saints defensive ends Cameron Jordan (94) and Trey Hendrickson (91) in the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Injury update favors Saints’ offense vs. Bears

The New Orleans Saints final injury report of the weeks suggests they are still anticipating the return of star offensive players Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, and Deonte Harris in time for Sunday’s wild-card playoff game against the visiting Chicago Bears.

But the Saints’ sack leader, Trey Hendrickson, has been ruled out of the game with a neck injury.

For the Bears, the most significant update is that standout inside linebacker Roquan Smith (elbow) is listed as questionable. The team’s leading tackler, Smith injured the elbow in the first quarter last week in the loss to Green Bay and has missed practice all week.

The Saints have bounced through a succession of injuries through the season, but by the time they start what they hope to be a long playoff run Sunday, only Hendrickson and guard Nick Easton (concussion) are listed as out of the game, with no other players even listed as doubtful or questionable.

Significantly, Thomas and Harris appear to be ready after returning to limited practice this week. Thomas missed the last three regular-season games because of an ankle injury, and return specialist Harris participated fully this week for the first time in more than a month.

The Saints have missed Thomas and Harris in recent weeks, as quarterback Drew Brees returned from his own broken ribs only to have a depleted cast of his receivers at his disposal. The Saints are expected to activate Thomas from the injured reserve list on Saturday.

Kamara, meanhile, remains on the COVID-19/Reserve list until Sunday. He tested positive for the coronavirus after scoring six touchdowns on Christmas Day in leading a 52-33 victory over Minnesota. He missed the regular-season finale at Carolina and has joined the team only via video conferencing since then.

On Thursday, Kamara said on social media he would be playing on Sunday.

“See y’all Sunday” Kamara posted on Twitter.

Had the Saints been scheduled to play on Saturday, Kamara would not have been eligible to return. As it is, he would have to play against the Bears without having practiced all week, and coach Sean Payton had declined to say early in the week whether Kamara would start Sunday.

In the Saints’ 26-23 overtime victory against the host Bears on Nov. 1, Kamara had 163 yards from scrimmage, including a 20-yard run to set up Wil Lutz’s winning field goal.

The loss of Hendrickson, however, is a setback for the Saints. He missed Week 16 because of his neck injury, but returned to play last weekend and had a sack, finishing the season with 13.5 sacks and 25 quarterback hits.

Easton’s concussion sustained Sunday is of particular concern because it was his second concussion in three weeks.

For the Bears, only cornerback Buster Skrine (concussion) is listed as out. Four players were listed as questionable Friday: Smith, wide receiver Darnell Mooney (ankle), cornerback Jaylon Johnson (shoulder), and inside linebacker Josh Woods (toe/glute).

Like Smith, Mooney missed practiced all week, while Johnson was limited in workouts.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Green Bay, Wisconsin, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a pass in the second quarter during the game against the Carolina Panthers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Packers, Bears meet with plenty on the line

Playoff implications are on the line when the Green Bay Packers visit the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon to close out the regular season.

Green Bay (12-3) can clinch a first-round bye and the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win or a tie against the Bears. The Packers, who already have clinched the NFC North, also can get a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if the Seattle Seahawks (11-4) lose or tie against the San Francisco 49ers.

Meanwhile, Chicago (8-7) can clinch an NFC playoff berth with a win over its longtime division nemesis. There are two other pathways for the Bears to secure a postseason spot — if the Arizona Cardinals (8-7) fall short to the Los Angeles Rams (9-6), or if the Bears and Cardinals each finish with tie scores.

Bottom line: Expect a dramatic showdown at Soldier Field when the teams meet for the 202nd time — the NFL’s oldest rivalry. Green Bay leads the series 100-95-6.

Packers coach Matt LaFleur has not had any trouble motivating his players heading into Week 17.

“The guys are dialed in,” he said. “There’s a lot to be motivated about. There’s a lot, obviously, at stake.”

The same is true in Chicago, which has had a roller-coaster season in coach Matt Nagy’s third year. The Bears opened the season with a 5-1 record, then lost six games in a row to fall to 5-7, then won three straight.

Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has played a key role in the late-season turnaround. He was benched for veteran Nick Foles during a Week 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons, but he reclaimed his starting job in Week 12 and has posted a 99.3 passer rating since then with 1,243 passing yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions.

“Everything I’ve experienced this season has just made me stronger and a better person and player,” Trubisky said. “Just what I’ve had to deal with and everything we’ve had to overcome as a team, to see where we’re at now, it gives you confidence.

“All the distractions and everything you have to deal with throughout the season and playing within a pandemic, it does make you mentally stronger as a person. And you’re able to deal with a lot more.”

As Green Bay’s defense looks to limit Trubisky — and perhaps more importantly, running back David Montgomery, who has been even more impressive over the past five games — Chicago’s defense will take on a steeper challenge. The Bears must find a way to slow down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

At age 37, Rodgers is putting up MVP-caliber numbers with 4,059 passing yards, 44 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has a 119.4 passer rating, which leads the league and is the second best of his storied career, trailing only a 122.5 passer rating that he finished with in 2011.

Green Bay won the first meeting this season 41-25 on Nov. 29, as Rodgers passed for 211 yards and four scores at Lambeau Field.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2020; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Dare Ogunbowale (33) runs the ball against Chicago Bears linebacker Trevis Gipson (99) during the first half at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Trubisky puts Bears in playoff position with romp over Jacksonville

Mitchell Trubisky passed for 265 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for another score, and David Montgomery rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown as the visiting Chicago Bears defeated the reeling Jacksonville Jaguars 41-17 on Sunday to move into sole possession of the final NFC wild card spot.

Chicago (8-7) won its third straight game on the heels of a six-game losing streak, while the Jaguars (1-14) suffered their 14th consecutive defeat.

The Bears entered the afternoon with a boost after the team they were chasing in the playoff race, the Arizona Cardinals, lost on Saturday evening.

With veteran quarterback Mike Glennon, a former Bear, starting over Gardner Minshew after a competition earlier in the week, Jacksonville stayed with Chicago in the early going. The Jaguars drew to within 10-10 on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Glennon to DJ Chark to cap a 10-play, 70-yard drive with 8:21 remaining in the second quarter.

Chicago responded with 31 consecutive points after that to seize control, topping 30 points for the fourth consecutive week. The Bears outgained the Jaguars 391-279.

Placekicker Cairo Santos started the run with a 40-yard field goal with as time expired in the second quarter to give the Bears a 13-10 lead.

The Bears seized control with three third-quarter touchdowns.

Trubisky opened the spurt with a 6-yard scoring run with 9:14 remaining before Montgomery scored from the same distance out with 3:17 left in the third. Just 47 seconds later, following a Roquan Smith interception of Glennon, the Bears scored again as Trubisky found Jimmy Graham for a 22-yard touchdown pass with 2:30 remaining.

Trubisky finished 24-for-35 with two touchdowns and one interception. Allen Robinson had 10 receptions for 103 yards.

Glennon was 24-for-37 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Dare Ogunbuwale led the Jacksonville ground game with 14 rushes for 71 yards, while Chark had four catches for 62 yards and a touchdown.

Montgomery finished just shy of his fourth 100-yard rushing game in five weeks but the Bears remained effective on the ground, running for 128 yards.

–Field Level Media