Bears' big tight end comes up big at end
Tight end Martellus Bennett is such a complete player that some aspects of his all-around game aren't always appreciated.
"He is such a great blocker that sometimes you get caught up in, 'Hey, he can lock down a defensive end,'" quarterback Jay Cutler said. "He's great at run blocking, then you see him run routes and you're like, 'Man, we've got to throw him the ball.'"
Cutler threw Bennett the ball when it mattered most Sunday. The Bears were on the short end of a 30-24 score, 16 yards from the end zone with just 16 seconds remaining.
Bennett was guarded closely by Vikings cornerback Chris Cook, and he had to come back a bit for the ball, but Cutler put the ball in a spot where his guy could make a play.
"The only place to really to put it was to the back shoulder and turn him and make a play," Cutler said. "He did, stayed in bounds and was able to extend the ball for a touchdown. It was a great play on his part."
Bennett opened the Bears' scoring with a much more mundane 1-yard TD catch, on which he was wide open. He also had a 23-yard reception shortly before the winning score and wound up with 7 catches for 76 yards.
"We ran the play earlier in the game and I was wide open down the sideline and 'Cutty' missed me," said Bennett, who leads the Bears with 3 touchdowns. "I was like, 'Hey, man, what happened?'
"Me and Cutty talked, and I said, 'If he covers me like this, just throw it back shoulder and I'll go up and make the catch.'"
If the field were a yard longer, Bennett would have had even better numbers. He made a spectacular one-handed grab at the back of the end zone late in the first half but came down hard on his shoulder just beyond the end line.
After the game he said he was in a lot of pain, "but it is what it is."
In the past two years the Bears did not have a tight end catch more than 19 passes or gain more than 229 yards. Bennett already has 10 receptions for 125 yards, and his 3 TDs are as many as the Bears got from the tight end position all of last year.
On his 23-yard pickup just before his game-winning catch, teammates expressed amazement at Bennett's dexterity for a 6-foot-6, 265-pound player.
"They didn't know I had jukes out there. I was like, 'I'm Muhammad Ali, I float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,'" said Bennett, who actually was supposed to get out of bounds right away but thought he could score.
Bennett, who nicknamed himself "The Black Unicorn," was asked if he was more like a butterfly or a bee.
"I like to be a butterfly," he said. "Have you ever tried to catch a butterfly with your hands? You can't do it. You need a net.
"They've got butterfly nets just for catching butterflies. Hopefully they don't make a unicorn net just for catching unicorns, especially black ones."
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