The Bears struggled mightily in 2016 in posting a 3-13 record, but they still produced some memorable plays. Here are the top 10 in my humble opinion:
(1) Rookie Leonard Floyd recorded a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and touchdown all on the same play when he took down Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers Oct. 20 in Green Bay. The first-round pick’s first career touchdown gave the Bears a brief 10-6 lead early in the second half.
(2) Rookie cornerback Cre’Von LeBlanc showed his instincts and ball skills Dec. 11 in Detroit when he intercepted a Matthew Stafford pass intended for Anquan Boldin and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 17-13 lead in a game they eventually lost 20-17.
(3) Second-year receiver Cameron Meredith caught a deflected Hail Mary pass from Jay Cutler in the back of the end zone for a touchdown on the final play of the first half Nov. 13 in Tampa. The TD drew the Bears to within 17-10, but they were outscored 19-0 in the second half in a 36-10 loss.
(4) Veteran Eddie Royal showed his quickness and elusiveness Sept. 19 against the Eagles when he returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown. This play would have been ranked higher if the Bears hadn’t been trailing 29-7 midway through the fourth quarter when Royal went the distance.
(5) Needing to get the ball into the end zone—the Bears were out of timeouts with :13 left in the first half of their season opener Sept. 11 in Houston—Cutler rifled a 19-yard TD pass to Royal, splitting two defenders and giving the Bears a 14-10 halftime lead in an eventual 23-14 defeat.
(6) The Bears dipped into their bag of tricks in their season finale Jan. 1 in Minnesota as running back Jeremy Langford took a direct snap from center and pitched the ball to Meredith—a converted college quarterback—who flipped a two-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Matt Barkley.
(7) Meredith froze veteran Lions cornerback Darius Slay with a nifty double-move and then caught Matt Barkley’s perfectly-thrown pass for a 31-yard touchdown, drawing the Bears to within 13-10 in a 20-17 loss in Detroit.
(8) Rookie running back Jordan Howard bursts up the middle and dashes for 69 yards Oct. 31 in a Monday night win over the Vikings at Soldier Field. It was the longest run by a Bears player since Kahlil Bell’s 72-yarder Nov. 22, 2009 against the Eagles.
(9) Trailing the Titans 21-7 Nov. 27 at Soldier Field, Connor Barth opened the second half with a well-executed onside kick that caromed off Tennessee linebacker Nate Palmer and was recovered by Bears safety Adrian Amos.
(10) With the Bears leading the Lions 7-3 early in the second half Oct. 2 at Soldier Field, linebacker John Timu shot up the middle and dropped running back Zach Zenner for a two-yard loss. Detroit was forced to settle for a field goal, enabling the Bears to maintain a lead they never relinquished.