Backfield in Motion

Lake Forest - The Bears had to make a decision on FB Jason McKie Tuesday and he showed enough to the coaching staff to make them feel comfortable with releasing Marc Edwards, who was tied for the team with two touchdown catches.

Edwards had been the only true fullback on the roster for the first seven games of the season. He signed with the team on the eve of training camp because Bryan Johnson and McKie were both out due to injury.

Johnson had foot surgery at the end of last season, but was bothered by soreness that forced him to miss training camp and land on the physically unable to perform list. He began practicing two weeks ago and was elevated to the 53-man roster against the Saints.

McKie tore his pectoral muscle while weightlifting in the off-season. Although his season looked to be in jeopardy, the Bears put him on the non-football injury list rather than injured reserve. He began practicing with the team three weeks prior to today, which is why a decision had to be made to either to place him on IR or the 53-man roster.

McKie is a four-year veteran who has played in 22 career games, 21 in two seasons with Chicago. He had 13 receptions for 79 yards in 15 games last year.

As a nine-year veteran, Edwards shared the team-lead with two touchdown catches out of 10 receptions for 66 yards on the year.

Johnson and McKie both caught two touchdown passes in 2004 and are capable special teams players. It appears Johnson will move into the starting role.

New Beginning
Bears wide receiver Justin Gage, who was back in the starting lineup because of the season-ending knee injury to Mark Bradley, had a game-high 4 receptions, although he totaled just 28 yards.

But Gage caught a 4-yard TD from Kyle Orton to give the Bears a 7-3 lead with 6:26 left in the first quarter. It was Gage's first TD in almost 23 months, since Dec. 21, 2003.

"He put the ball in a place where I had no choice but to catch it," Gage said of the quick slant over the middle.

Gage started the first three games of the season before being replaced by Bradley and then was benched for Game Six. But he doubled his season reception total on Sunday and is expected to continue producing with Bradley out for the season.

"He's a different player than Mark, so you feature things that he can do a little bit differently," offensive coordinator Ron Turner said. "You always call plays to suit the abilities of the player."

Roller Coaster Ride
Rookie place-kicker Robbie Gould hit a 35-yard field goal with 22 seconds left in the first half and then missed a 47-yarder wide right early in the third quarter before nailing the game-winner from 28 yards with :06 left.

"It's like a dream come true," he said of the difference-maker in Sunday's 20-17 victory. "(But) it was like an extra point. Time and whatever else that go into it, it doesn't matter. You have to go out there and do your job. It feels good to go out there and let the guys know, 'Hey, listen, I've got your back.'"

Gould has hit 6 of 9 attempts since replacing veteran Doug Brien, who was cut after connecting on just 1 of 4 tries in the first three games.

"Robbie missed a field goal earlier," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "But he came back with that big one to win the game."


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