While injuries have depleted the Bears offense and defense in recent weeks, their special teams unit had remained relatively unscathed. But that changed in a dramatic way Sunday against the Vikings.
On Tuesday, the Bears placed kicker Robbie Gould (calf) and special teams standouts Sherrick McManis (knee) and Craig Steltz (chest) on injured reserve after they got hurt in Minnesota.
|Olindo Mare made 22 of 28 field goal attempts last year for the Panthers.|
Mare has converted 81.2 percent of his field-goal attempts (350 of 431) in 15 NFL seasons with the Dolphins (1997-2006), Saints (2007), Seahawks (2008-10) and Panthers (2011). Last year Mare made 22 of 28 field goal tries (78.6 percent) for Carolina.
The Bears also promoted receiver Joe Anderson from their practice squad, signed linebacker Jerry Franklin off the Cowboys practice squad, and waived veteran offensive lineman Andre Gurode, whom they had signed Nov. 27. Chicago's active roster now stands at 52.
Gould made both extra points he attempted against the Vikings, but was replaced on kickoffs by Adam Podlesh. Until now, Gould had not missed a game since joining the Bears on Oct. 8, 2005. The last player other than Gould to attempt a field goal for the Bears was Doug Brien.
Gould converted 21 of 25 field goal attempts this season (84.0 percent) and is the fourth most accurate kicker in NFL history with an 85.6 percent success rate (208 of 243).
In 2012, Gould made the 10th game-winner of his career when he hit a 41-yarder as time expired to beat the Panthers 23-22 Oct. 28 at Soldier Field. He also extended his streak of field goals from 50 yards and beyond to 10 straight without a miss, one shy of Tony Zendejas' NFL record.
Prior to his injury, Gould had recorded 38 touchbacks on kickoffs, sixth most in the NFL, which led to opponents starting their average drive after kickoffs at the 19.8-yard line, tops in the league.
McManis entered Sunday's game in Minnesota tied for second on the Bears with 10 special teams tackles. Steltz registered five tackles on special teams and 12 on defense, excelling in spot duty at both safety positions when starters Major Wright and Chris Conte were unable to play.
Anderson spent 13 of the first 14 weeks of the regular season on the practice squad after signing with the Bears this year as an undrafted free agent from Texas Southern. In the preseason, the 6-1, 196-pounder caught seven passes for 48 yards and one touchdown.
Franklin entered the NFL this year as an undrafted free agent with the Broncos. He also spent time on the Panthers practice squad before joining the Cowboys practice squad Nov. 14.
The Bears on Tuesday also re-signed guard Chris Riley to the practice squad.