Edinger Teed Off About Duck Hook

GREEN BAY, Wis. _ The Bears have become used to seeing routine field goals bounce off the uprights or miss wide during their 9-3 season.

They just haven't seen it happen with their own kicker until Sunday's 17-7 loss to Green Bay.

Paul Edinger duck-hooked a glorified extra point of 23 yards wide left on a field goal try just before halftime, completely wasting an interception and 41-yard return by linebacker Brian Urlacher. It was almost a flashback of sorts to 1999 when struggling kicker Chris Boniol made every short field goal an adventure.

"I just didn't have good footing,'' said Edinger. "I just hit it horrible.

"I don't think I rushed it. I just kicked it bad.''

Edinger had come into the game 11-of-14 on the season kicking field goals and had made all three attempts from 20-29 yards. He hasn't missed one from that range in his two seasons with the team.

"I think I kind of kicked over it instead of following up through the ball, and just came around,'' Edinger explained.

The Packers took a timeout prior to the field goal attempt to ice Edinger. A week ago, the Bears inadvertently iced Edinger themselves with a replay challenge as he was kicking a field goal against Detroit. Then he missed the kick after the replay challenge.

He admitted such situations are less than ideal.

"You always like to get on the field and kick it right away, but it's no big deal,'' he said. ""It was a chip shot. You can't miss those, especially in games like this.''

The success of Packers running back Ahman Green Sunday and in the Bears' previous loss to the Packers may result in copycat offenses in the future.

The league's third-ranked run defense got burned for 218 rushing yards in two games by the Packers' back. Green Bay uses an offense which emphasizes misdirection plays, so future opponents are sure to take note.

When this fact was brought up to defensive coordinator Greg Blache, he mocked a reporter.

"Duh,'' he said. "That's all they ran is misdirection plays.''

Defensive end Phillip Daniels was a little more insightful.

"A lot of misdirection stuff and not much straight-ahead stuff to trick you, fool you, to get your linebackers caught up on the inside – counters and stuff like that,'' Daniels said. ""They don't run a lot of straight-ahead plays, just the lead is the only play they run straight ahead.''

Linebackers were suckered out of their gaps and then Packers backs went into them or took it outside. The 12-yard Ahman Green go-ahead touchdown run and his 29-yard run on the same drive were perfect examples.

"When you do stuff like that they're going to get yards on you,'' Daniels said. ""It's a wakeup call. Maybe we can fix that and be better down the road.''

The Packers' effective running game was even more insulting to the Bears' defense considering an injury they incurred this week in practice.

Guard Marco Rivera broke his hand but still played effectively when pulling and trapping.

"Marco is so tough mentally that he can handle anything,'' Packers coach Mike Sherman said. ""He just broke his hand in Thursday's practice. He got it casted up and really hasn't practiced with it.

"I had a concern, No. 1, about his effectiveness with the cast. I was never concerned about his mental toughness to handle it. The guy is an amazing guy.''

Sherman lauded his entire line's play. They took over both games with the Bears this season.

"I challenged this group this week after last week's game (win over Jacksonville) and I'm just so proud of what they did. They took control of the football game.''

After the Rams beat San Francisco, they assumed the lead in the race for the home-field edge through the NFC playoffs by a game over the Bears, Packers and 49ers.

Bears coach Dick Jauron still sees a rosy scene ahead.

`For the big picture, it is awfully good for us with four games remaining,'' Jauron said, before adding. ""Today was disappointing. It is not a very satisfying feeling. Lots of things went wrong and they moved the ball in chunks against us.''

With the Bears struggling to get the ball downfield, they discovered the tight end in their offense.

Fred Baxter caught a season-high five passes for 36 yards. Baxter had a couple key drops, as well. Baxter had 12 catches on the season and both tight ends had only 21 through the first 11 games.

"It's kind of something that unfolded during the game,'' offensive coordinator John Shoop said. ""We had some opportunities. We obviously just didn't take advantage of those.''

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