chicago bears Manning Boosted Bears Return Game

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Devin Hester was not the return man in the Bears' game versus the Rams and you wouldn't have known it. It seems as if every time Hester touched the ball, he would do serious damage to the other team by running it back for a touchdown or picking up significant yards.

Danieal Manning was the special teams' returner in the game at the Rams. He lifted the Bears and wasn't a disappointment. The Bears thought that the Special teams would struggle with Hester out. Great teams know how to win games and that's what the Bears did.

He ran the football on the opening kickoff to the St. Louis 49 yard line. He initially caught the ball on the Bears' 1 yard line. That's a 50 yard gain! The Bears' offense used only four plays to put up the first points on the board. The play ended with Matt Forte running 13 yards for a touchdown.

"Danieal's a good player," said coach Lovie Smith. "When you start fast, of course kickoff return is the first thing up. Last week in Green Bay Danieal hit in there hard, so we were hoping we could get a little boost with his play on the kickoff, and we were able to do that."

Manning had the most kickoff returns this past preseason. He ran through a hole and almost ran it back for a touchdown. Keenan Burton brought him down.

"It felt really good," Manning said. "I go out there and try to do my job the best way I can. The guys up front did a good job blocking and it was just a great time. Everything worked out and the rest of it was on me."

Manning was a substitute for Devin Hester. Hester averages around 7 yards on punt returns. Manning caught a total of five passes for 57 yards. He also rushed the ball two times for 32 yards, which is pretty good.

Forte carried the ball 256 times and failed to fumble. That streak was bound to come to an end. Early in the second quarter, Chris Long of the Rams stripped the ball loose. The Rams' Atogwe recovered the ball at the St. Louis' 41 yard line.

Getting the ball ripped out should and does you mad. Coach Tim Spencer told him to forget about it and go play. He had to put it behind him. He pretty much had no choice but to forget about it because if he didn't then it would have affected his performance out on the field.

Forte did forget about that fumble. He made up for it on the second play the next time the Bears got the ball back. He had a 47 yard touchdown run and it increased the margin to 21 points. It didn't look like Forte fumbled it but the refs thought he did. The replay that Fox showed didn't show Forte or the football because there was a big pile. The only way a call can be overturned is if there is clear evidence that the referee was wrong on the initial call.

"Of course I wanted them to challenge it because I felt like I was down," Forte said. "I was the one running the ball and I thought my butt was down and then they pulled it out because it was a big pile. They couldn't see, I guess, in the pile."

Freddie Brister is a big fan of College and Pro Football. Check out his Chicago Bears Store or his UCLA Bruins Merchandise at SportsFanTreasures.

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