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McPhee sets tone with sack, block

Sunday's 18-17 Bears win at Kansas City will be remembered for Chicago's dominant fourth quarter and Jay Cutler's heroic touchdown pass to Kyle Long with 18 seconds remaining. The Bears outscored the Chiefs 12-0 in the final quarter and 15-0 in the entire second half, allowing the team to rally for their second straight comeback victory.


Linebacker Pernell McPhee had a blocked field goal and sack in the 18-17 win over the Chiefs.

Chicago may not have even been in the position to shock the Chiefs in the final seconds had it not been for a huge, game-changing play much earlier in the second half. Kansas City led 17-3 at halftime, and after receiving the opening kickoff, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith attempted to take his team down the field to make it a three-score game. The 13-play drive reached the Chicago 9-yard line, but after a pair of incomplete passes by Smith, the Chiefs were forced to attempt a 27-yard field goal.

Bears outside linebacker Pernell McPhee made sure the Chiefs never got their three-score lead, or that close to scoring points the rest of the entire game. From the left side of Chicago's line, McPhee burst past Chiefs tackle Donald Stevenson and got his massive right arm up just as Kansas City kicker Cairo Santos' foot struck the ball. The kick wound up hitting McPhee directly in the hand and landing at the 20, where the Bears took over.

Kansas City didn't threaten again the rest of the afternoon. In the final one-and-a-half quarters, the Chiefs never had a drive longer than five plays, and never were closer than 48 yards from the Chicago goal line. The field goal block set the tone for the Bears defense and sparked the turnaround for the thrilling win.

"I mean, there's all kinds of ebbs and flows in games and shifts in momentum so that was, yeah, a big one that stands out," coach John Fox said of McPhee's block. "I think some third down conversions that, along the way, were kind of big with the offense, and third down stops that were kind of big in that fourth quarter."

McPhee was signed in the offseason for his ability to make game-changing plays, and over the last two weeks, he's proven to be worth the money. Against the Raiders in Week 4, he had eight tackles, along with an interception. Versus the Chiefs on Sunday, he had the blocked field goal, along with a sack of Smith.

McPhee's play sparked a tremendous defensive effort from the entire unit. Despite starting two rookie safeties and then needing a new middle linebacker midway through the game because of a knee injury to Shea McClellin, Chicago's defense took control of the contest at raucous Arrowhead Stadium. The Bears defense allowed just one touchdown all game long, which came early in the second quarter. As the game went along, Chicago kept getting stronger. Kansas City had seven first downs in the entire second half, and five of those came on the drive that ultimately ended in McPhee's blocked field goal.

"At the beginning of the season we talked about playing a good first half, but we need to put a complete game together," defensive end Jarvis Jenkins said. "In the first half, we didn't play too well. We came in and they scored the first touchdown. We blocked one field goal but they got another. The main thing was coming out and finishing the second half like we did the first half."

As the defense played better, the Bears offense was given improved chances to score. Cutler's two fourth quarter touchdown passes both came after the team's defense forced punts after three-and-outs.

"We actually had a better second half," Jenkins added. "That's all about defense being a part of the whole team. The defense needs to give the offense opportunities. The offense had some struggles, but we kept giving them the ball and they got their mojo back. They started progressing and it paid off in the end."

After Cutler's heroic throw to Forte to give the Bears their first lead of the game, there was still 11 seconds left in the game. The quarterback could only watch as the defense looked to make yet another stop to secure the win. Kansas City completed one pass, but didn't come close enough for Santos' field goal range. The kicker tried a 66-yard field goal, but like his attempt at the start of the second half, the ball never came close to splitting the uprights.

The Bears have held opponents to six second-half points the last weeks, a major reason the Chicago offense has been in position to rally for the consecutive wins.

"I think a lot of it was our defense keeping us in the game," Cutler said Sunday of the comeback against the Chiefs. "They gave us good field position a few times, and without that, we wouldn't have had a shot."

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