Even while getting routinely sacked by Jared Allen in last season’s regular-season finale in Minnesota, Bears quarterback Josh McCown never absorbed a hit like the one the Pro Bowl defensive end delivered to Bears guard Lance Louis on Sunday.
Allen, who went without a sack in the Bears’ 28-10 win over the Vikings at Soldier Field, leveled the 6-foot-3, 320-pound Louis while blocking for cornerback Antoine Williams on a third-quarter interception return.
Louis, who didn’t appear to see the 6-6, 270-pound Allen speeding in on him, left the game with a knee injury and did not return.
“I never try to hurt anybody, honestly,” Allen said. “I checked to see how he was doing. I heard he had an MCL (injury). My condolences to him and his family. My intent is never to hurt anybody.
“We had an interception, I turned around, he’s running to make a tackle, Antoine’s running the sideline and I threw a block,” Allen added. “I didn’t hit him in the head or nothing. I threw my shoulder pad into his chest.
“Unfortunately, that (injury) happened. I never have ill intent when I’m out there. I’m just trying to make a play.”
When the Bears ended last season with a 17-13 win over the Vikings at Mall of America Field, Allen made lots of plays. He totaled 3½ sacks to give him 22 for the season.
Sunday was different. The Bears took the lead on Michael Bush’s 1-yard touchdown run, were up 10-3 after the first quarter and never trailed. Because the Vikings were chasing, Allen had little success chasing Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
“I really didn’t have opportunities,” Allen said. “When it’s third-and-6 the whole day, or third-and-2, they can just dink and dump shallow passes, shallow crosses, here and there.
“When they did drop back, we forced (Cutler) to scramble, and he made plays down the field.”
After watching San Francisco linebacker Aldon Smith account for 5½ of his team’s 6 sacks of Bears backup quarterback Jason Campbell last Monday night, the Vikings knew the Bears would game plan to avoid a repeat, especially knowing Allen’s history against them.
“We knew they were going to come in and max-protect,” said Allen, who has 7 sacks this season. “They weren’t going to sit back there with five-man protection.
“It was a tough row to hoe,” Allen added. “We knew we were going to get chipped; we knew we were going to get tight-end help and just different looks. We knew we were going to get a lot of bootlegs, short passes.”
The Vikings’ only sack came on the Bears’ second snap of the game, when Cutler stepped on center Roberto Garza’s heel while backpedaling and tripped. Defensive tackle Fred Evans was credited with a 5-yard sack.
By early in the fourth quarter, Cutler had completed 23 of 28 passes. He finished 23 of 31 for 188 yards, connecting 12 times with Brandon Marshall.
“His pocket awareness is great,” Allen said. “There’s not a throw he can’t make on the move. There are a lot of quarterbacks that, if you get them moving, that’s a win for you. With Jay, he makes a ton of plays on the move.”
Allen was credited with 4 tackles and 1 quarterback hurry. He also nearly intercepted a Cutler screen to Marshall.
“It was a different game (compared to last season’s at Minnesota),” Allen said. “We were able to be successful (last year) by putting them in third-and-long situations.
“They tried to do some max-pro stuff up there and we were able to counteract it. Today they attacked us differently.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.