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Lucas Patrick played key role on go-ahead touchdown


In turning a free play into a pivotal go-ahead touchdown in last Sunday's win over the Lions, all 11 members of the Bears offense executed in perfect synchronicity.

On fourth-and-13 from the Detroit 38 late in the third quarter, quarterback Justin Fields drew defensive end Aidan Hutchinson offside with a masterful hard count. Before the snap, Fields made a dummy protection adjustment, and the Bears' linemen, tight ends and receivers all communicated with each other just like they would on any other play.

As soon as the ball was snapped, receivers DJ Moore, Darnell Mooney and Tyler Scott all ran go routes, and Fields rifled a TD pass to Moore to snap a 13-13 tie in an eventual 28-13 victory.

While the efforts of all 11 players were required to make the play work, it never would have happened without center Lucas Patrick knowing exactly when to snap the ball.

"It's definitely a fun play as a center," Patrick said. "I've got to be honest, when a certain situation comes up and we get the play call, I actually get pretty excited for it. You've got to be locked in. You've got to know that they are clearly offsides because they could step across and go back and then if I rip it, it would be a false start. There's a lot of nuances to that, a lot of practice that goes into it."

Patrick credited offensive coordinator Luke Getsy with preparing the offense for free play scenarios in practice, occasionally directing the scout-team defense to jump offside.

"It's something that we do train [for]," Patrick said. "But in that moment, you've got to be locked in. It's weird, your peripherals get better because you're paying attention to it and kind of keeping one eye this way and one eye that way."

Takeaway time: The Bears have generated 11 takeaways, including nine interceptions, in their last three games, the most in both categories in the NFL during that span. In addition, the 11 takeaways are their most in a three-game stretch since they also had 11 in Weeks 2-4 in 2013.

"I believe it comes from hard work and your attention to deal with it," said coach Matt Eberflus. "I believe that what you do in practice is what you're going to do in the game, and the guys have been doing a great job in practice and that's why you're starting to see it in the game. We need to do a better job of causing fumbles. That number's still not where it should be. We've got to keep hustling so we can recover those."

While the defense ranks second in the NFL with 15 interceptions, the Bears have only five takeaways on fumble recoveries, tied for the fourth fewest in the league.

Ball hawk: Linebacker T.J. Edwards has generated a takeaway in each of the last three games, with interceptions against the Lions and Vikings and a fumble recovery last Sunday versus Detroit.

In his first year with the Bears after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Eagles, Edwards leads the defense with 129 tackles, seven tackles-for-loss and two fumble recoveries. He has also registered two interceptions, 2.0 sacks, one forced fumble and four pass breakups.

"He's been outstanding since he's been here," Eberflus said. "The first thing that you recognize with him—you watch his tape when he's in Philly or since he's been here—is the instincts. He's got great instincts for the football. That's what you've got to have as a linebacker. He's able to key and diagnose and beat guys to the punch quickly, and you see that week-in and week-out.

"He's not a guy that runs 4.3. He doesn't do that. He's not super long. But he makes up for it with instincts. He's a football player. That's what you want in that position. He's been great that way. He's led our group all the way through. He's a big centerpiece to our defense, for sure."

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