Fred Mitchell answers e-mails
Q Why did the Bears line up Brian Urlacher as a wide receiver on that two-point conversion in the first half?
Chris Chandler entered the game. Urlacher lined up as a wideout to the left side. The Bears did not run the play and allowed the play clock to expire. Following the delay-of-game penalty, Paul Edinger had to boot a 25-yard extra point.
"We were trying to catch [New Orleans] off guard and maybe get one of those guys [such as Urlacher] uncovered and throw to them," Chandler said. "We were also hoping that maybe New Orleans would burn a timeout."
Q What was John Shoop thinking when he called for that dinky short pass to Marty Booker behind the line of scrimmage on third down-and-2 in the fourth quarter?
A Shoop says he thinks of that play as a running play. "We knew that we had to stay inbounds," said the Bears' offensive coordinator. "We had been running a flip play to the outside with Anthony Thomas really well and our receivers were blocking well. Obviously, because it didn't work, I wish I had that call back. But I have no problem when it's third down and crunch time thinking people more than I think plays. And my mind went immediately to Marty Booker. I wanted to get him the ball. In hindsight, I wish we had handed it off to Anthony going right up the middle."
Q What made the difference for Anthony Thomas this week?
A The Bears' offensive line did an exceptional job blocking for Thomas, who rushed for 111 yards on 27 carries (4.1 average). Bernard Robertson, for one, performed well at left tackle. Thomas ran well and was able to make defenders miss at the point of attack. Also, the Saints were looking for the Bears to pass more to take advantage of their injury-depleted secondary.
Q How did the Bears stop Deuce McAllister?
A Coordinator Greg Blache's defense stuffed McAllister most of the day, limiting him to 45 yards on 17 carries. But McAllister, who ran for more than 100 yards in each of his first two games, also caught four passes from Aaron Brooks for 42 yards. Sure tackling and fulfilling individual assignments did the trick for the Bears' defense.
Q Is the sun brighter in Champaign than at Soldier Field? What happened to Leon Johnson on that fumble?
A Johnson said he lost John Carney's kickoff in the sun at the last second. It caromed off his face mask and the Saints recovered. The sun shines just as brightly in Soldier Field as in Champaign.
Q What's up with the Bears' use of their tight ends?
A Tight end John Davis had a career day with four catches for 34 yards and Fred Baxter added one reception. Quarterback Jim Miller was able to execute successful play-action routines because of the overall success of Thomas. "New Orleans did a good job with their safeties, but we ran play-action pretty effectively," Miller said. "We called every one that we worked on this week."
Q When did the Bears know James "Big Cat" Williams would be able to play?
A Big Cat insisted all last week that he would continue his string of 121 NFL starts. When he performed pregame drills adroitly, there was no question he would start Sunday's game.
Q How did things go logistically in the second regular-season game at Memorial Stadium?
A Traffic before and after Sunday's game seemed to move more smoothly than the home opener. The temperature was 40 degrees cooler, so fans were more comfortable and more patient.
Q What happened on the final play of the game when Miller's pass was intercepted?
A Shoop said Dez White should have been running a corner route but wound up in the same area as Booker in the middle of the field.
"I have to sit down with all those guys and find out where the miscommunication occurred," Shoop said.
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