Inside Slant

Inside Slant: Bears reach into bag of tricks again

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Christmas came more than two weeks early for Bears offensive lineman Bradley Sowell.

On a gadget played dubbed “Santa’s Sleigh," the 6-7, 312-pounder scored the only touchdown in Sunday night’s 15-6 win over the Rams at Soldier Field, hauling in a 2-yard pass from Mitchell Trubisky early in the third quarter.

“We needed a play, so they gave it to the playmaker I guess,” Sowell joked in the locker room while his fellow offensive linemen hooted and hollered nearby. “It was neat. It was one of those things that I’m glad [coach Matt] Nagy trusts me to do.”

The unique play featured four defensive linemen. Akiem Hicks, who scored on a 1-yard touchdown run last week against the Giants, stood in the backfield next to Trubisky, who was in the shotgun. Roy Robertson-Harris lined up to the left and ran a pass route in the end zone. Bilal Nichols and Jonathan Bullard stood behind the right side of the offensive line.

Lining up next to right tackle Bobby Massie, Sowell initially acted as if he was blocking on the play. As Trubisky faked a handoff to Hicks, Sowell slipped into the end zone and caught the quarterback’s pass.

“There were no wide receivers, no other throwing option,” Sowell said. “It was all d-linemen and myself. We all caved down. We really set it up last week with Akiem’s play, and we went back to it. We kind of thought they would crash down. I just had to block and just pop out late and it was wide open. I told Mitch, 'Just throw it high. I’m 6-7 and I’ve got this.' He threw it high and it was pretty neat. It worked out great.”

It was just the latest in a series of creative plays that Nagy has dialed up in key situations. Against the Giants, not only did Hicks score ala William “Refrigerator” Perry but running back Tarik Cohen threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller as time expired in regulation to force overtime.

Sowell said that the “Santa’s Sleigh” play was installed Friday and it was on the last page of the Bears playbook.

“When you see those plays, a lot of stuff has to happen for them to actually work in the game,” Sowell said. “You don’t try to get too excited, but once you get on the goal line, I’m [thinking], ‘Here we go,’ and once we called it I was like, ‘Let’s just go execute it.’”

Sowell celebrated the touchdown with a quick dance just outside the back of the end zone.

“I have to give that credit to my daughters,” he said. “I was like, ‘Dad may score and I need some help with this.’ My daughter Presley likes to dance, so I was like, ‘I’m going to do what she does all the time.’ It worked out great.”

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