Penalties Prove Costly

Cleveland - Three key penalties proved disastrous for the Bears, and two were committed by first-year wide receiver and special teams ace Carl Ford.

Ford, who plays the outside gunner position on punts, got flagged for illegal motion with six minutes left and the Bears leading 10-6. Brad Maynard punted the Browns into a hole on the play, leaving them backed up at their own 17.

However, after the motion penalty on Ford, Maynard kicked only 36 yards and Dennis Northcutt returned it 15 yards to the Browns' 46. So the penalty cost the Bears 29 yards of field position which proved critical because the Browns scored the go-ahead TD on that 54-yard scoring drive.

In the third quarter, Ford got flagged for holding on Bobby Wade's punt return of 9 yards to the Bears' 23. So they had to start from their own 7, but drove 93 yards to a 10-6 lead on a Marc Edwards 8-yard TD catch.

After that penalty, Bears coach Lovie Smith was spotted having a talk with Ford on the sidelines.

"He was excited," Ford said. "In the heat of the game, they just told me to quit holding. That was pretty much it. And I just said 'yes sir.' "

Ford called that penalty legitimate.

As for the critical motion call: "They said I was moving forward on the punt. We'll see. I don't believe it, but we'll see when we watch film."

Guard Roberto Garza, pressed into playing after Ruben Brown's pectoral muscle injury, got flagged for holding to wipe out a 9-yard Kyle Orton-to-Thomas Jones TD pass in the second quarter. The Bears had to settle for a field goal on the play. If he hadn't held, it was likely Orton would have never got the pass off because Garza was beaten badly by defensive lineman Alvin McKinley on the play.


Bear Report Top Stories