Vasher makes Prophet of Lovie

CHICAGO _ Nate Vasher proved coach Lovie Smith correct. <P> The Bears' rookie cornerback had been called an "interceptor" by Smith last week, and made his first career interception in his first career start Sunday. But during the 19-9 loss to the Eagles, Vasher was also something else typical of a rookie playing a key role -- mistake-prone.

"I mean, I'm still not satisfied. I'm going to go in and watch the film," Vasher said. "I'm pretty sure that there were some bad things that I did out there, too."

The worst was a special teams play, not pass coverage. Vasher was blocking in the second quarter in front of punt returner R.W. McQuarters, who was attempting to field the ball. McQuarters ran up on the ball trying to field it, collided with Vasher, resulting in a muff and a recovery by the Eagles' Dhani Jones.

"I think it was probably just a miscommunication," Vasher said. "It was a shorter punt and with me running down I was getting pressed a little bit by the gunner (outside coverage man) and R.W. was running forward and ended up colliding with me. I think it was something we will probably watch on film and try to get cleared away.

"It was just one of those things. I don't think I probably paid too much attention to detail on the play."

The Eagles converted it into a quick touchdown and 13-0 lead, and Vasher was involved in the scoring play. However, it was hard to find fault.

Terrell Owens caught a rocket of a pass from Donovan McNabb on a slant over the middle between Vasher and safety Todd Johnson. Vasher had outside coverage responsibility on Owens while Johnson was to take the inside.

"Todd did an excellent job of coming over and delivering the blow," Vasher said. "T.O. just made a great catch.

"I think I was in good position to stop the pass but he is just a tremendous football player."

Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera thought enough of Vasher to let him cover Owens whenever the Eagles' star strayed into his area rather than have McQuarters shadow him the way the Bears had done with Randy Moss the previous week.

"We didn't flip-flop anybody," Rivera said. "A couple times Nathan ended up on 81 (Owens) and did a real solid job."

Vasher helped keep the Eagles from turning the game into a complete blowout in the third quarter early by intercepting a pass to Fred Mitchell that was deflected by linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer.

Vasher almost seemed to be a free safety/center fielder type on the interception.

"I was in my zone and nobody was there," Vasher said. "I think, I wanted to defend a wide receiver instead of just defending grass out there. So I just tried to run to the nearest receiver.

"Hunter made a great hit on the wide receiver and the ball popped out and I was just there to try to finish on it."

Overall, the Bears couldn't complain about Vasher's effort when no Philadelphia wide receiver besides Owens had a catch longer than 13 yards. Vasher had three tackles and a pass defended in addition to his interception.

"He knows how to get around a football and make plays," Rivera said.

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