|Doesn't look too good for the Chicago Bears this year.|
"John Allred began the 2000 season as the Bears’ starting tight end.
He moved to the starting fullback spot Sunday against New Orleans because of an injury to Curtis Enis.
Now, it looks like Allred might be moving to the sideline for the rest of the season after apparently tearing the medial-collateral ligament and anterior-cruciate ligament in his right knee, according to trainer Tim Bream. If the locker-room diagnosis is confirmed with a MRI Monday, Allred is done for the year.
"It's the same situation as (Bobby) Engram," Bream said of Engram’s injury in the Giants game, which knocked him out for the year. "He would need reconstructive surgery and be looking at seven to ten months in terms of recovery."
Bream said that Allred believes Fred Weary caused the injury when the Saints cornerback hit Allred after his only catch of the game early in the third quarter. On the second play of the second half, Allred caught a low pass out of the backfield from Cade McNown and turned to run up field.
Weary tackled him immediately. Allred sustained the hit directly on his knee, flipped upside down and landed on the ground. Allred was taken off the field on a stretcher.
"We will have to look at the tape, but John feels it was when he got hit," Bream said. "It was the motion of his body plus the initial hit."
Defensive end Phillip Daniels left the locker room wearing a neck collar, re-aggravating a left shoulder stinger from last week. Daniels said the injury felt good all week, but his neck got pushed to the side early in the game and his pinched nerve began to bother him.
While it's not a season-ending injury, Daniels said it could have a residual effect on the rest of the season.
"It's one of those injuries that just keeps nicking at you and messing with you," Daniels said. "I'll do some more strengthening and it should be fine.
"The injury is real painful--I can't describe the pain right now. The collar helps out some, so I'll wear it for a while."
In his post-game comments, Bream said that Daniels didn't wear his collar during the game, taking it off just before the start of Sunday’s game.
Meanwhile, defensive tackle Brad Culpepper suffered a right shoulder sprain and will be re-evaluated Monday.
Same result, same controversy: Jim Miller heard his last name chanted in unison for most of Sunday's 31-10 debacle against the Saints. He also watched the merciless booing inflicted upon McNown every time he came on or off the field.
But after the game, Miller focused on the bigger picture of his team's problems rather than talking about whether he should be the starting quarterback.
"It's not just one person," Miller said. "We are not executing as a collective unit, and we have to get better.
"We have to keep (their offense) off the field. They do have the No. 1 ranked defense, but we needed to do things better. It's our job to put the ball in the end zone."
McNown and the offense failed miserably at that job Sunday. The only touchdown was scored on free safety Mike Brown's 35-yard interception return in the first quarter.
While the wind was tough to judge at times, McNown's passes were consistently off the mark. He overthrew a number of receivers, underthrew others and just missed completely on some.
In response to the crowd's reaction, McNown was singing a different tune than the tongue-lashing he gave the Bears' faithful after the Detroit loss.
"We are going to keep working consistently hard to put points on the board and get in the end zone," said McNown, who finished 18 of 37 for 202 yards and 48 yards rushing. "When we do that, we will give them something to cheer about. There was not a whole lot to cheer about today."
Daniels, who practices against McNown, still believes in the young quarterback. His advice is for McNown to simply settle down, and he should eventually be okay.
As for the booing and name-calling, McNown just has to hang in there, Daniels said.
"I know he has a lot of pressure," he said. "I know he hears a lot of booing and the yelling for Miller. It bothers him a lot. He's frustrated, but he's still playing hard and trying to help us win games."
McNown was asked in the post-game press conference if he was surprised that he was not replaced. His answer was as short as some of the Bears' offensive plays.
"I didn't really think about that," said McNown, who left the podium after answering the question.
Blazing Blake: Throughout his career, Saints quarterback Jeff Blake has been known as a big-play man. Those big plays usually were 75-yard hookups with Darnay Scott or Carl Pickens, his teammates in Cincinnati.
Blake threw the ball effectively Sunday, hooking up twice with Joe Horn for touchdowns and once with Andrew Glover. He threw for 232 yards, completing 18 of 25 attempts. What the Bears weren't prepared for was his running.
The elusive quarterback, who has rushed for 1,500 yards in his career, surprised the Bears with his draws and quarterback sneaks. He finished with 66 yards on 12 carries.
"We were not prepared for the quarterback draw," safety Mike Brown said. "He made some plays, but we missed a lot of tackles that hurt us.
"All week during practice, we didn't expect draws and keeps. We figured he would air the ball out. We lost contain a few times, and he made some big plays."
One of Blake's biggest plays came on the last play of the first quarter. With the Bears leading 7-0 and the Saints facing a fourth and 3 from the Bears 33, Blake beat Daniels around right end for 8 yards and a first down.
That run not only kept the Saints scoring drive alive but prevented New Orleans from kicking into the wind.
"We thought he would run but not as much as he did," said defensive end Bryan Robinson.
It doesn't get any easier for the Bears next week with Minnesota and Daunte Culpepper coming to town. Culpepper's legs did as much damage to the Bears as his arm during the two teams' first game in the Metrodome.
"Having a running quarterback is a plus for any team," Brown said. "It's difficult to defend one that can run because you are covering other guys.
"You just can't stop a running quarterback. It's impossible unless you say, 'We are just going to stop the quarterback.' If he just runs, though, that won't beat you. You want him running around back there."
Strange inactivity: Former Saints defensive end Troy Wilson, who played a solid game in the Green Bay victory for the Bears, was a pre-game inactive.
"I knew as soon as you guys (in the media) started talking to me (during the week) I was in trouble," said Wilson after the game. "I don't know what the reason was. It's something I might ask about Monday, but it doesn't do me any good now."
Instead, the Bears went with bigger inside size with Culpepper, Van Tuinei and Robert Newkirk. Wilson checks in at only 257 pounds and was perceived to be less effective against the run--something the Saints feature with Ricky Williams.
Tuinei and Newkirk alternated with Jim Flanigan and Mike Wells at the tackles during the game, with Tuinei having been part of 15 plays at one point early in the second quarter. Wells declined comment after the game, but Robinson said the moves were just a way to keep the front fresh against the pounding of Williams.
"The thing about our front linemen is we feel confident in whoever we put in," Robinson said. "We don't have a guy who is a drop-off."
Breaking free: Glyn Milburn had three kick returns of more than 35 yards and one punt return of 28 during the loss. On two of the kick returns, he was one step away from breaking them for scores.
It's a step up for the All-Pro after averaging just 24.4 on kick returns and 8.5 on punts.
"I feel this should be the norm and not the exception," Milburn said. "We are going to work and improve to the point where I believe we can reach. Then, we will really see the results."
Quotebook: Bears running back James Allen on the solution to the problems plaguing his 1-5 team:
"If you have an answer, let me know. That's how it is right now."